South Africa is proud to be a country of immigration. Currently, more than 3 million people who live in South Africa were not born in the country. Most expats come from other African nations such as Nigeria and Zimbabwe.
South Africa is also opening itself up to encourage short-term tourism. With its great biodiversity, stunning coastline, and multicultural society, there are many reasons why international travelers make it their holiday destination.
The new eVisa for South Africa is going to be launched by the end of 2019 and is expected to boost arrivals and tourism revenue. Its entirely online application form is easy to fill and is designed to be completed in minutes. By removing the need to visit a South African embassy or consulate in person to get a visa, the South African government has made holiday planning much easier for foreigners.
Similar intentions lead the Nigerian and South African governments to sign a new agreement issuing new 10-year South African visas to Nigerian citizens who wish to relocate for business or academic purposes.
This move is expected to strengthen the social and economic relations between the two countries as well as allowing Nigerian talent and business to contribute to South African growth.
A New Era in the Relations between South Africa and Nigeria
In occasion of the 9th Bi-National Commission of South Africa and Nigeria meeting in Pretoria, South Africa, in early October 2019, the leaders of both countries announced the 10-year visa agreement.
Thanks to this new programme, some Nigerian professionals will have a privileged track to relocation. Categories eligible for the new visa include:
- Nigerian business people
- Nigerian academics
- Nigerian frequent travelers.
Senior Special Assistant to the President (Media and Publicity), Garba Shehu commented:
The decision was taken to encourage more people-to-people contacts among citizens of both countries and further strengthen socio-cultural, economic and political relations.
Both countries also agreed to re-establish the consular forum, which is a structured arrangement where both governments meet regularly, at least twice a year, to discuss the welfare of citizens.
Promoting Safety for Nigerian Citizens in South Africa
Recently, attacks against Nigerian, Kenyan, and Zimbabwean migrants in South Africa have raised concerns within the Nigerian community, with some expats even deciding to return to their home country.
Most attacks targeted shops and other businesses run by foreign nationals, showing worries among South Africans that immigrants may represent a threat to their wealth. However, expats in South Africa are actively contributing to the growth of the local economy by participating in and creating businesses while paying value-added tax which is generating revenue for the national economy.
Both South Africa and Nigeria intend to act against this violence. Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari said:
We have decided to work and take concrete measures together to prevent the reoccurrence of such unacceptable incidents in the future.
How Many Nigerians Are in South Africa?
Both ex British colonies and current members of the Commonwealth of Nations and African Union, Nigeria and South Africa have much in common. At the moment, it’s estimated that over 100,000 Nigerians are living in South Africa.
The two countries have close social and financial relations. In 2012, the total bilateral trade between Nigeria and South Africa has grown to $ 3.6 billion. The Nigeria – South Africa Chamber of Commerce was created to encourage and facilitate bi-lateral trade relationships between Nigeria and South Africa. Its offices are in Lagos, Nigeria, and it has in its membership 315 companies currently trading in both Nigeria and South Africa.
How Can Nigerians Obtain a Visa for South Africa?
Nigerians will soon be able to take advantage of the special 10-year visa for Nigerian business people, academics, and frequent travelers.
However, there are many visa options available to Nigerian citizens who want to visit South Africa. Currently, travelers require a traditional visa application at the embassy, but South African immigration authorities are expected to launch the new eVisa process for visitors from Nigeria planning a short-term trip.
This way, they will not need to hire a travel agency or visit a South African embassy in person and can just submit their own application online in minutes. The eVisa requirements for Nigerians include:
- Filling out the application form in all its parts as accurately as possible
- Submit relevant documentation like a valid Nigerian passport
- Provide a valid email address to receive their visa and pay the visa application fee.