South Africa Grants Visa-Free Status to 6 Countries

south africa visa free countries

Great news was released concerning travelers who wish to visit South Africa. In late November 2019, an announcement was made by the South African authorities regarding the implementation of visa-free status for 6 countries.

Citizens of these countries will be able to enter South Africa without having to apply for a South African visa.Currently, most people who do not hold a South African passport will have to obtain one before they can enter the South African territory, although some nationalities are exempt.

However, the country is opening itself up to the world. More than 3 million foreigners live in South Africa at the moment and foreign tourist arrivals have dramatically and steadily been  on the rise, reaching over 15 million tourists crossing the border in 2015. Tourism also supports over 10% of South African jobs. That’s why the government is implementing a series of strategies to encourage tourism and boost international arrivals.

This article includes information regarding:

  • The recent announcement made by the South African Minister for Tourism
  • What countries can travel to South Africa visa-free now
  • How to get a visa for South Africa if you’re not from a visa-exempt nation.

Citizens of 6 New Countries Can Now Travel to South Africa without a Visa

Back in September 2018, the South African government had announced that negotiations were in place to finalize a series of international agreements that would have granted visa-free status to nationals of several countries.

South Africa’s Minister for Tourism Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane confirmed in late November 2019 that these agreements have finally been signed with 6 countries. These include:

Holders of passports issued by the above countries can now enter South Africa visa-free for up to 90 days. The announcement was made during a media interaction at the Kempinski Hotel Gold Coast City in Accra and the new visa policy has already come into effect in November 1st, 2019.

Is South Africa visa free for Ghanaians?

The Ghanian media specifically asked the Minister about the new visa waivers because originally, Ghana was meant to be included in the list. However, because two meetings that had been planned in order to finalize the agreement had to be canceled, Ghanaians are still required to apply for a visa before traveling.

However, the Minister added that it’s her hope to see the two countries reach an agreement regarding the visa waivers soon. In fact, new meetings are already planned for this purpose. These meetings are expected to take place before South African President Cyril Ramaphosa visits Ghana next. 

Is South Africa Visa Free?

Like most countries around the world, South Africa is not visa-free in itself. However, the country has agreements in place with several nations to encourage tourism and immigration, allowing certain nationalities to enter South Africa visa-free.

As commented by the South African Minister of Home Affairs Aaron Motsoaledi:

“Tourism will soar if we relax visa requirements for entry into South Africa. We know that tourism is very important for job creation. Out of the 193 countries who are member states of the United Nations, the Department has granted visa-free status to 75 countries. Of these 16 are in our continent and are SADC members and 59 are from all over the world.”

How to Get a Visa for South Africa

If you’re not from a country enjoying visa-free status with South Africa, you will have to get an appropriate travel authorization before you can enter the country. The type of South African visa you should apply for depends on several factors such as the country issuing your passport and the length and purpose of your visit.

If you plan to travel to South Africa for tourism purposes for a short-term trip, you may be eligible for an eVisa: this is soon to be available for citizens of over 100 countries and will be the easiest and fastest way to obtain a permit to enter South Africa.

All applicants will need to do is complete the application online in minutes. They will need their passport at hand as well as other relevant supporting documents. After filling out a simple application form with their personal and passport information, they will be able to submit copies of their passport online and pay the visa application fee. The approved South African eVisa will then be sent via email to the address they provided during the application.