UAE and Saudi travellers can now visit South Africa without a visa

Seven new countries have been granted visa-free status by the country's ministry of Home Affairs

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Travellers from the UAE and Saudi Arabia are now able to visit South Africa without a visa.

They are among seven new countries, including Cuba, Ghana and New Zealand, to be have been granted visa-free status. This only applies to inbound visas for people travelling to South Africa; it does not guarantee reciprocity for South Africans travelling outbound to these newly listed countries.

“We will immediately enter into discussions with them about how a visa-free regime will work,” South Africa’s minister of Home Affairs, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, announced. “Tourism will soar if we relax visa requirements for entry into South Africa. We know that tourism is very important for job creation."

The country now offers visa-free travel to the residents of 75 countries and Motsoaledi revealed that South Africa is currently working on granting visa-free status to the enormous tourism feeder markets of China, India and Nigeria.

“We still have some homework to do for three countries whose combined populations make up close to 30 per cent of the world’s population i.e. China, India and Nigeria,” he said. In the interim, Home Affairs will be significantly increasing the number of staff responsible for processing visas from these key markets.

The country is also working on implementing a new e-visa system to further facilitate the flow of visitors. “E-visa will make it easier for tourists to visit, and for companies to acquire employees with critical skills.  It will be an online application with a risk-based adjudication and issuance of your visa electronically, as opposed to a hard copy.  On receiving the electronic message by email, you just continue straight to your airport and head on to South Africa,” Motsoaledi explained.

An e-visa system is already being tested at Lanseria International Airport, with the whole system due to be rolled out incrementally from October onwards.