Home Af­fairs eases visa reg­u­la­tions for trav­ellers

‘The key changes will be that rather than re­quir­ing all for­eign na­tional trav­el­ling mi­nors to carry doc­u­men­ta­tion prov­ing parental con­sent for the mi­nor to travel, it is how­ever strongly rec­om­mend that trav­ellers carry this doc­u­men­ta­tion”

Inner City Gazette - - News - By Staff Re­porter news@in­ner-city-gazette.co.za

For­eign na­tion­als trav­el­ling to South Africa will no longer be re­quired to have unabridged cer­tifi­cates for their mi­nor chil­dren upon ar­rival in South Africa.

“The key changes will be that rather than re­quir­ing all for­eign na­tional trav­el­ling mi­nors to carry doc­u­men­ta­tion prov­ing parental con­sent for the mi­nor to travel, we will rather strongly rec­om­mend that trav­ellers carry this doc­u­men­ta­tion,” said Home Af­fairs Min­is­ter Malusi Gi­gaba re­cently.

The change in pol­icy fol­lows an an­nounce­ment of a Stim­u­lus Pack­age and re­cov­ery plan to boost the econ­omy, as an­nounced by Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa on Fri­day.

As part of its ef­fort to aid the econ­omy, Home Af­fairs an­nounced the changes to its visa re­quire­ments in an ef­fort to boost tourism and make busi­ness travel more con­ducive.

Gi­gaba said his de­part­ment will is­sue an in­ter­na­tional travel ad­vi­sory be­fore the end of Oc­to­ber 2018 after con­sul­ta­tion with the Im­mi­gra­tion Ad­vi­sory Board (IAB).

“We are sim­pli­fy­ing the rules on trav­el­ling mi­nors, who are for­eign

na­tion­als to min­imise dis­rup­tion to le­git­i­mate trav­ellers with­out com­pro­mis­ing the safety of mi­nors and the rights of par­ents.

“Our im­mi­gra­tions of­fi­cials will only in­sist on doc­u­men­ta­tion by ex­cep­tion -- in high risk sit­u­a­tions -rather than for all trav­ellers, in line with prac­tice by sev­eral other coun­tries,” said the Min­is­ter.

Home Af­fairs will now al­low trav­ellers an op­por­tu­nity to prove parental con­sent.

“These changes will be im­ple­mented in good time for the fes­tive sea­son when many peo­ple would be trav­el­ing with chil­dren. We will train im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cials on the re­vised reg­u­la­tions to en­sure smooth im­ple­men­ta­tion,” said Gi­gaba.

While for­eign na­tion­als are ex­empted from pre­sent­ing doc­u­men­ta­tion, South African mi­nors trav­el­ling abroad will still be re­quired to prove con­sent or have a mi­nor pass­port. Visa waivers

In ad­di­tion, South Africa is re­view­ing its visa waiver agree­ments, as called for by the 2017 White Pa­per on In­ter­na­tional Mi­gra­tion.

Gi­gaba said ne­go­ti­a­tions are be­ing fi­nalised to con­clude Visa Waiver Agree­ments for or­di­nary pass­port hold­ers with the fol­low­ing coun­tries, from re­spec­tive re­gions:

Al­ge­ria, Egypt, Morocco, Sao Tome & Principe, Tu­nisia, Sa­harawi-Arab Demo­cratic Repub­lic and Ghana.

Saudi Ara­bia, United Arab Emi­rates, Qatar, State of Pales­tine, Iran, Le­banon, Bahrain, Oman and Kuwait.

Ge­or­gia. Be­larus and

Cuba

Of the top 10 African tourism mar­kets, only Nige­ria has a visa re­quire­ment for or­di­nary pass­port hold­ers, while in the top 10 over­seas tourism mar­kets to South Africa, only In­dia and China re­quire a visa.

Visa waivers are al­ready in place for the rest of the top 10 over­seas mar­kets, in­clud­ing trav­ellers from the United King­dom, the United State of Amer­ica, Ger­many, France, the Nether­lands, Aus­tralia, Brazil and Canada.

In 2017, South Africa also im­ple­mented a visa waiver for all cit­i­zens of the Rus­sian Fed­er­a­tion and An­gola.

In a bid to sim­plify visa re­quire­ments for coun­tries such as China and In­dia, Gi­gaba said his de­part­ment will by Oc­to­ber 2018, im­ple­ment mea­sures to fast track the pro­cess­ing of visas.

The mea­sures will in­clude tak­ing bio­met­rics on ar­rival in South Africa; al­low­ing visa ap­pli­ca­tions via courier and is­su­ing five-year mul­ti­ple en­try visas.

“Eas­ing move­ment in this man­ner will help in at­tract­ing larger num­bers of tourists, busi­ness peo­ple and fam­i­lies,” said Gi­gaba.

In or­der to fur­ther ease move­ment of trav­ellers, for pur­poses of tourism, busi­ness meet­ings and aca­demic ex­change, the de­part­ment will is­sue long-term mul­ti­ple en­try visas.

The type of mul­ti­ple long-term visas in­clude:

A three-year mul­ti­ple en­try visa for fre­quent trusted trav­ellers to South Africa, and

A 10-year long-term mul­ti­ple en­try visa for busi­ness­peo­ple and aca­demics from Africa.

To at­tract busi­ness peo­ple and prospec­tive in­vestors, busi­ness peo­ple from BRICS coun­tries who re­quire visas will be is­sued a 10-year mul­ti­ple en­try visa, within five days of ap­pli­ca­tion.

These ap­pli­cants do not need to ap­ply in per­son, and can use courier ser­vices.

In at­tract­ing and re­tain­ing crit­i­cally skilled labour, Home Af­fairs said it will re­view its crit­i­cal skills list by April 2019

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