South Africans are now allowed to leave the country for ‘essential travel’ – what you need to know

Minister of Home Affairs, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi has approved ‘essential travel’ for South Africans who want to return to countries where they are based.

In a media statement on Saturday (23 May), Motsoaledi said that the approval was made following consultations with the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) and the National Coronavirus Command Council.

Motsoaledi said that South Africans who wish to leave the country are permitted to depart only for the following reasons:

  • Work;
  • Study;
  • Family reunion;
  • Take up permanent residency;
  • Receive medical attention.

“South Africa, like many countries in the world, has implemented travel restrictions as part of the measures put in place to fight the spread of Covid-19,”  he said.

“Travel between countries is allowed in special circumstances.”

What you need for essential travel

Motsoaledi said that South Africans wishing to return to the countries where they reside should have the following:

  • A copy of their valid South African passport;
  • A letter confirming their admissibility under the current circumstances from the embassy or other diplomatic/consular representative of the country they want to travel to;
  • If returning by road or connecting via flights, the proof submitted needs to include permission from each transiting country;
  • Proof of means of travel such as air or bus tickets and the intended date of departure.

“South Africans who fall in these categories and satisfy the criteria can send an email to [email protected] An email will be sent to travellers who meet the criteria to enable them to proceed with their travel arrangements,” said Motsoaledi.

“People applying as a group can send one email with the supporting documents for each member of the group.”


Read: New return plans for South African university students

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South Africans are now allowed to leave the country for ‘essential travel’ – what you need to know