South African Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba today announced amendments to the unabridged birth certificate and visa regulations. Here's a round-up of the changes.

Unabridged birth certificates

  • “Strongly recommended” for foreign minors, though now not a requirement.

Visa waivers

  • Of SA’s top 10 overseas tourism markets, only India and China require a visa. Visa waivers are already in place for the rest of the top 10 overseas markets, including travellers from the UK, the USA, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Australia, Brazil and Canada
  • Negotiations are being finalised to conclude visa waiver agreements for ordinary passport holders with the following countries, from respective regions:
    • Africa: Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Sao Tome & Principe, Tunisia, Saharawi-Arab Democratic Republic and Ghana
    • Middle-East: Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, State of Palestine, Iran, Lebanon, Bahrain, Oman and Kuwait
    • Eastern Europe: Belarus and Georgia
    • Caribbean: Cuba

Simplification of visa requirements

  • Visa requirements are being simplified for countries such as China and India. Provision will be made for taking biometrics on arrival in South Africa, allowing visa applications via courier and issuing 5-year multiple entry visas. This should take place in October 2018

Long-term multiple entry visas

  • Three-year multiple entry visa for frequent trusted travellers to SA
  • Ten-year long-term multiple entry visa for business people and academics from Africa

BRICS visa

  • Business people from BRICS countries who require visas (China and India) are issued a 10-year multiple entry visa, within five days of application

eVisas and eGates

  • eVisas will be piloted in New Zealand by April 2019
  • eGates will begin piloting phase at OR Tambo, Cape Town, and King Shaka International Airports by 2019. This will allow returning SA citizens and certain categories of trusted travellers to be processed electronically rather than having to interact with an immigration officer

Read Shadow Minister of Tourism, James Vos’s, column: ‘Making a case for eVisas’.