E-visa system for South Africa to be expanded – what you should know

Home Affairs minister Aaron Motsoaledi says his department has completed phase one of South Africa’s e-visa system, and is already planning to expand the system to offer more features going forward.

Responding in a recent written parliamentary Q&A, Motsoaledi said the initial deployment of the system was delayed due to Covid-19 lockdown and suspension of international travel.

He added that e-visa system has already been piloted in Kenya and India, and as of the end of September it had been deployed in a phased approach in the following countries:

  • Kenya;
  • Cameroon;
  • Philippines;
  • DRC;
  • Saudi Arabia.

Motsoaledi said that further upgrades for the e-visa system are also in the works, which will include more than just tourist visas.

“The current e-visa module is designed for tourists only, and further modules of the solution for other categories of visas will be developed and deployed in line with the stabilization of the launched version of the e-visa module.

“As the system matures, the department will implement a more extensive deployment plan structured and sub-divided across African countries and the rest of the world to be undertaken during the outer years of 2022-2025.”

The rollout of more e-visas is expected to be beneficial for both tourists and for the local economy as the system significantly reduces the amount of administrative time and requirements required for visitors to enter South Africa.

The entire e-visa application process takes place online and takes around 20 minutes, provided the applicant has all of the necessary supporting documents ready for submission. Should one of the required documents be missing, applicants can resume the process exactly where they left off at a later date.

Presenting his Medium Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) on 11 November, finance minister Enoch Godongwana said that the now completed e-visa system will be rolled out to 15 countries by March 2022.

The full list of countries which could receive e-visas, subject to approval, includes the five countries above as well as:

  • Cameroon;
  • DRC;
  • Egypt;
  • Ethiopia;
  • Mexico;
  • Uganda;
  • Saudi Arabia;
  • Iran;
  • Philippines;
  • Pakistan.

Read: Update on South Africa’s Covid-19 certificate and travelling overseas

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E-visa system for South Africa to be expanded – what you should know