Often referred to as a world in one country, South Africa is one of the most beautiful and diverse countries in the world. It has evolved into a major holiday destination for international travellers thanks to its natural beauty, exciting wildlife safaris, historic attractions, adrenalin pumping activities and diverse culture. The weather is great almost all year round and the exchange rate offers amazing value for money against major world currencies like the Euro, the US Dollar and the British pound.
Although the country’s tourism industry – like most others – has suffered a setback due to the Covid-19 lockdowns and the subsequent bans on international travel, the situation is expected to improve with 19.5 million visitors expected to visit South Africa in 2022.
In order to visit South Africa, a valid visa will be required for all international visitors unless they are citizens of countries exempt from South African visas. Currently, visas have to be applied for in person at a South African consulate or embassy, where biometric data has to be provided inter alia. However, the long-awaited South African Electronic Visa (eVisa) system is expected to be launched in March 2022. It will be rolled out to 15 countries initially with more eligible countries being announced in the following months. Once the visa is launched, travellers will be able to apply for it easily on the official website or on Byevisa's page.
The eVisa is expected to boost tourism and economic activity as it will be easier and quicker to apply for and the entire process can be completed online within a few minutes as long as the applicant has all the necessary documents at hand. It will not be necessary to visit a South African embassy for a traditional paper visa either as the approved eVisa will be sent by email.
Once the traveller lands in South Africa, their movement through the country’s international airports will be more efficient as there will be no need to queue for a visa on arrival at the airport either. Facilities with smart technology are currently being installed at major South African airports to speed up the checking of electronic documents.
The following countries will be initially eligible for the South Africa eVisa :
Uganda, Ethiopia, Egypt, Kenya, Cameroon, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of the Congo, India, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, China, Iran, Mexico, Nigeria and Philippines.
The following items are required to apply for a South African eVisa:
Apart from visas, travellers to South Africa need to provide a valid negative PCR test certificate, not older than 72 hours before the arrival date. It is also advisable to check if there are any additional requirements before travelling as rules and regulations keep changing due to the pandemic.