South Africa Adds 20 New Nationalities to e-Visa Program

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The South African Department of Home Affairs (DHA) has announced the expansion of the South Africa e-Visa program to 20 new nationalities.

The e-Visa system simplifies the application process by enabling foreign visitors to apply online for a South Africa visa. This reduces visa processing time and eliminates the need to visit a South African consulate.

The South Africa e-Visa was first implemented in February 2022. Over 12.3777 visa applications have been processed through the online system since its launch. 

The government has now decided to expand the number of eligible citizens after solving some initial technical issues such as slow network speeds. They have also established an enhanced e-Visa hub.

South Africa Adds 20 New Nationalities to e-Visa Program

Nationalities Added to the South Africa e-Visa Application

The new nationalities eligible for the South Africa e-Visa are the following:

  • Albania
  • Algeria
  • Belarus
  • Bulgaria
  • Cuba
  • Comoros
  • Republic of Congo
  • Croatia
  • Ghana
  • Guinea
  • Indonesia
  • Côte d’Ivoire
  • Lithuania
  • Liberia
  • Mali
  • Morocco
  • Niger
  • Romania
  • Senegal

South Africa initially launched the e-Visa for 14 Countries, including: 

  • Cameroon
  • China
  • DR Congo
  • Egypt
  • Ethiopia
  • Kenya
  • India
  • Iran
  • Mexico
  • Nigeria
  • Philippines
  • Pakistan
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Uganda

The new additions bring the number of eligible nationalities to 34. 

South Africa Also Plans to Introduce Start-up and Remote Work Visas

In addition to expanding the eVisa program, the South African government is working to implement start-up and remote work visas by June 2023.

For the past two years, these visas and a broader initiative to attract skilled labor to South Africa have been focal topics of president Cyril Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation Address (SONA).

South Home Affairs minister Aaron Motsoaledi has long said that there was no regulatory framework to introduce these proposed visa types. However, there now seems to be movement on the implementation.

“A comprehensive report on the review of the work visa system was recently handed over to the President,” the Department of Home Affairs said in a statement. “The report makes recommendations with regards to the possibility of new visa categories that could enable economic growth”.

Why South Africa Is Changing Its Visa Policy 

The recent changes in the South Africa visa policy reflect the country’s push to boost tourism and draw critical skills to South Africa. 

One obstacle is the significant backlog in the processing of critical skills visas. In 2022, the DHA aimed to process the majority of critical skills visas within 4 weeks of receipt. However, it’s estimated that this was only achieved for around 20% of these requests.

In response, the government stated in March that it will prolong the validity of some standing visas as it works to complete over 62,700 backlogged requests. 

Additionally, the DHA has now set an aim to process 90% of these visas in 2023.  The backlog is expected to be completely cleared in 2024. 

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