South Africa’s new e-visa system is expected to launch in October 2019.
Speaking to eNCA, Home Affairs acting director-general Thulani Mavuso said that the system will better enable investment in the country and make it more efficient to admit people with sought after skills.
“We’re now at the stage where we’re doing functional testing, once that’s done we’ll do a proper pilot with a few countries,” he said.
“Once that’s completed we’ll go into production.”
Speaking to BusinessTech earlier this year, Department of Tourism spokesperson Blessing Manale said that South Africa’s visa regime had previously been one of the constraints for tourism, and the roll-out of the e-visas will be beneficial for both tourists and for the local economy.
“They provide predictability, people will be able to stay longer in South Africa, people will be able to study etc.”
“The realisation of the visa regime will literally allow us to double our tourism numbers internationally.”
Manale said that the system will also save people a lot of time as they spend much less time at airports and waiting for administration approval.
Home Affairs is also planning to pilot new e-gates at a number of South African airports in 2019.
A spokesperson told BusinessTech that the gates will first be piloted at Cape Town International Airport and will form part of the implementation of the Biometric Movement Control System (BMCS).
He added that a further rollout will be done in a phased approach, with OR Tambo, and King Shaka International airports to follow.
“The broad objective of the project is the facilitation of movement of low-risk travellers through a self-service solution, hence freeing capacity for the assessment of high-risk categories by an immigration officer,” the spokesperson said.
“In line with the risk-based approach to managing migration, the first phase will focus on South African passport holders (excluding minors).”