South Africa will finally introduce electronic visas, making it easier for tourists to enter into the country thanks to the online capture of visa and permit applications and capturing of applicants’ biometrics both locally and abroad.
According to a reply to DA parliamentary question, the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) confirmed that the first phase of the e-visa system will be piloted by the 31 March 2019.
The reply indicated that the rollout of phase one of the e-visa system will be at a foreign mission, embassy or local DHA office yet to be determined, the political party said.
The pilot phase will initially cover temporary residence visas, adjudication of temporary residence visas, applications for waivers, applicant notifications and biometric details, it said.
“Electronic visas will boost the tourism industry by cutting turnaround times for the issuing of travel documentation while ensuring the information of applicants is secure.
“Most importantly, improved tourist arrivals will facilitate more job growth in the industry while guaranteeing job security for 1.4 million South Africans already working in the tourism industry,” said James Vos, DA Shadow minister of tourism.
“The rollout programme will be gradual starting with Phase 1, which entails applications for temporary residence visas, adjudication of temporary residence visas, applications for waivers, notifications to the applicant via email and biometrics captured at the Mission..
“The e-Permit will be piloted at one Mission or local office in the last quarter of the next financial year by 31st March 2019. This is to ensure system stability. Once stable, more offices locally and abroad can then be gradually brought online.”