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Coronavirus travel rules for trips to South Africa cleared Immigration

  • South Africa’s borders are not yet fully closed
  • Persons who have been in high-risk countries are denied entry
  • Foreigners currently living in South Africa can extend their visas

On March 18, 2020, the Department of International Relations and Cooperation issued a travel report with further information on President Cyril Ramaphosa’s travel restrictions for coronavirus.

Any entry of foreign travelers with a normal passport who travel from high-risk countries or travel through high-risk countries is prohibited until further notice, regardless of whether the visa requirement is met. At the time of writing, the countries declared to be risky were:

  • China
  • France
  • Germany
  • I ran
  • Italy,
  • South Korea
  • Spain
  • Switzerland
  • United Kingdom,
  • United States of America

Coronavirus travel regulations in South Africa

How the corona virus affects foreigners entering and leaving South Africa

The covid-19 travel restrictions

The restrictions apply to people who have traveled through these countries. Passport holders from high-risk countries who have not been to a high-risk country in the past 20 days will be given entry to South Africa.

For example, UK nationals who have not been present in the UK or any other high-risk country in the past 20 days are permitted to enter South Africa.

Any foreigner who has visited a high-risk country in the past 20 days will be denied access to South Africa.

All travelers who have entered South Africa from a high-risk country since February 15, 2020 must present themselves for testing.

Travelers who have not visited a high-risk country 20 days before their trip to South Africa are welcomed.

Foreign nationals affected by the travel restrictions who have to travel to South Africa for emergencies or other compelling reasons can apply for a visa regardless of the restrictions. Such visa applications are checked on a case-by-case basis.

Travel restrictions do not apply to:

  • Holder of a diplomatic, official and service passport;
  • Aircraft and cargo ship crew members; and
  • Cross-border rail and road transport workers.

Some of the ports of entry have been closed. The Beit Bridge to Zimbabwe and Lebombo to Mozambique remain open.

Comprehensive changes to visa requirements

Up to now, only high-risk countries from China and Iran had to apply for a visa before traveling to South Africa.

In January and February 2020, around 8,000 visas were issued to Chinese nationals and around 40 to Iranian nationals. The visas of those people who have not yet entered South Africa are now being revoked.

People from medium risk countries such as Hong Kong, Singapore and Portugal can apply for a visa, but must provide proof of medical approval for COVID-19. When COVID-19 is released, people from these countries will be issued visas if their applications are otherwise good and orderly.

Passport holders from France, Germany, Italy, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States of America were previously exempt from the visa requirement. People from these countries must now apply for a visa. If the visas are not issued, individuals are not allowed to enter the country.

People who have been in high-risk countries for the past 20 days will not receive a visa, even if they have been medically exempted from COVID-19.

Foreigners currently living in South Africa who fear that they will return to their countries of origin due to COVID-19 can extend their visa until July. Renewal requests must be well-reasoned.

Talk to a specialist

We can help you with all visa applications in South Africa. We also offer a free online review to help you determine your current status and take the next steps. Contact Le Roux Attorneys today for assistance in applying for your South African visa extension.

Contact Le Roux Attorneys, South African Visa Specialists, for your visa application. First select one of the following query options

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