Visa-free travel to the EU for South Africans still on the cards

The department of home affairs has confirmed to BusinessTech that visa-free travel to the EU is still currently in the works, following a proposal by Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba in September 2016.

According to Gigaba, the EU was looking at the relaxation or elimination of its visa requirements for South African passport holders after meeting with European Union Ambassador Marcus Cornaro late last year.

Measures being looked at include the feasibility of multiple-entry visas for SA business travellers to the EU, as well as full exemptions for South African leisure travellers.

At the time, Gigaba indicated that the new regulations could be introduced as early as March 2017, but the process is still ongoing.

In a follow-up on the new proposals, home affairs spokesperson Mayihlome Tshwete confirmed that the visa-free travel for South Africans is still currently in the works.

Tshwete said that the department had officially submitted its proposal for the relaxed travel regulations to the EU, and that it was awaiting feedback – expected within the coming months.

The spokesperson stressed that the decision was not entirely in South Africa or the EU’s hands, but would have to be dealt with on a country-by-country basis.

The UK

Following the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union, travel restrictions and requirements for South Africans and other international travellers has come under significant scrutiny.

Most notably, it is unlikely that the aforementioned EU proposals will affect South Africans travelling to the UK, meaning they would still have to apply for a visa.

This was confirmed in November 2016 by South Africa’s British High Commission spokesperson, Isabel Potgieter, who noted that there were no current plans to change the UK visa requirement for South Africans.

“The UK Government keeps its visa regime under regular review and we continue to work closely with South Africa on migration and border security issues,” Potgieter said.

“The UK offers a high quality visa service in South Africa, with a clear and simple application process. In year ending June 2016, 98% of South Africans who applied for  a UK visa were successful in their applications, with 99% of all visit visa applications resolved within our global service standard of 15 working days.”

Countries you can currently visit without a Visa

Arton Capital, a provider of residency and citizenship solutions, recently launched the 2017 edition of its Passport Index – a system that ranks travel documents by the number of countries that can be visited without having to apply for a visa.

According to the index, these are the countries South Africans can visit without a visa.

Visa-free entry
Antigua and Barbuda Fiji Lesotho Singapore
Argentina Gabon Macao South Korea
Bahamas Georgia Malawi St. Vincent and the Grenadines
Barbados Grenada Malaysia Swaziland
Belize Guatemala Mozambique Tanzania
Benin Guyana Namibia Thailand
Botswana Haiti Nicaragua Trinidad and Tobago
Brazil Honduras Palestinian Territories Tunisia
Chile Hong Kong Panama Uruguay
Colombia Indonesia Paraguay Vanuatu
Costa Rica Ireland Peru Venezuela
Dominica Israel Philippines Zambia
Dominican Republic Jamaica Saint Kitts and Nevis Zimbabwe
Ecuador Kenya Saint Lucia
El Salvador Kosovo
Visa on entry
Armenia Guinea-Bissau Mauritania Seychelles
Bolivia Iran Mauritius Tajikistan
Burundi Jordan Micronesia Timor-Leste
Cambodia Kyrgyzstan Nepal Togo
Cape Verde Laos Oman Tuvalu
Comoros Madagascar Palau Uganda
Djibouti Maldives Rwanda
Ethiopia Marshall Islands Samoa
Electronic Travel Authority (eTA) entry
India Sri Lanka

Read: How many South Africans are moving to New Zealand

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Visa-free travel to the EU for South Africans still on the cards