The world is now transitioning into a post-pandemic era where countries are coming out of their Covid-hibernation and opening up for more robust economic recoveries by resuming international travel and welcoming tourists and businesses alike. Although there is global movement on the travel front, not all countries are doing so at the same pace and seeing that updates occur frequently; travellers are easily confused by the bulk of information.
For this reason, we’ve highlighted the entry requirements of the most visited countries by South Africans and narrowed-down visa information to ensure that you are aware of all the requirements for a hassle-free trip.
Following a recent announcement, South Africans travelling to Egypt for tourism no longer have to acquire tourist visas before their departure. RSA tourists can now obtain their visas at the Cairo International Airport upon arrival. Business visas, however, are not issued on arrival and applying for a visa before travelling for business is required.
South Africans travelling to the Netherlands need a tourist visa to enter. You must make a visa application six months before travel or no later than 15 working days before your trip. To apply for a visa, one must schedule an appointment online. Because appointments fill up quickly, travellers are advised to apply for visas ASAP and only book flight tickets once visas are secured. The Netherlands has different visas for different purposes, and if you intend to engage in business, you must refer to the relevant visa categories for more information.
South Africans visiting Italy must obtain a valid visa through the Italy Visa Application Centre, which only accepts applications with prior appointments. The current appointment availability is in mid-May, and travellers are advised not to book flights before approved visas.
RSA passport holders can apply for Schengen Visas, which allow them entry to Schengen Countries. These include Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. The Schengen short-stay visa allows a person to travel to any members of the Schengen area for either tourism or business purposes for up to 90 days. The processing times for Schengen Visas depend on the embassy of application, but it can take anything between two days and three weeks to finalise. Travellers must apply for Schengen Visas within the six months before departure. Due to an influx of applications, they are advised not to wait until the last minute to secure appointments.
South African passport holders require one of three types of visas to enter Canada:
- Visitor Visa – This visa allows you to enter once and is valid for six months.
- Super Visa – You are visiting Canada but have to stay longer than six months. This visa is valid for two years.
- Transit Visa – If you change planes in Canada and have less than 48 hours between flights. Alternatively, should you have more than 48 hours, you will be required to apply for a Visitor Visa.
The global processing times for Canada visa applications are currently at 45 working days. The application process recently underwent some changes, and it is advisable to call on the expertise of a reputable visa services company to assist with your application.
South Africans will need a visa to visit the United States of America. The US Tourist visa is valid for ten years, and each entry allows you to stay in the country for 180 days. The drawback to getting a USA visa is the waiting time to book appointments which currently is only for October and November. Visa fees are payable before bookings, and unfortunately, refunds are not allowed.
If you want to visit the United Kingdom for a holiday or see family, for a meeting or business trip, or complete a short course, a Standard Visitor Visa is required. UK Immigration does offer a priority and super-priority option if you need a visa in a hurry, but unfortunately, these services are not currently operational. The processing time for a Standard Visitor Visa is three months, and it remains advisable not to wait too long to get the application process going.
At present, there are more British expats living in South Africa than in any other country. For this reason, the online passport renewal services for Britons are streamlined to simplify the process. It takes between four to eight weeks for a new passport to be issued, and the entire process occurs online. One can also start the application six months before the passport’s expiry.