Update 19 March
Dear Clients, Friends and Partners, (Updated 19 March 2020)
Please note that with the new developments surrounding the Coronavirus / travel bans / effects on immigration matters, we will be updating our website and LinkedIn profile on a constant basis.
Travel bans and restrictions
- As of 18 March 2020, foreign nationals coming from high risk countries (currently US, UK, France, Germany, Iran, Italy, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland and China) will not be allowed to enter the country. We are advised (to be confirmed in writing) that the ban does NOT apply to permanent or long-term residents of South Africa returning from high risk countries.
- Nationals of high risk countries can no longer obtain a visa on arrival, but have to apply for a port-of-entry visa prior to travels to South Africa.
- Nationals of medium risk countries (currently Portugal, Hong Kong and Singapore) can no longer obtain a visa on arrival, but the main requirement for the port-of-entry visa is a medical certificate.
- Port-of entry visas from high risk countries (applicable only to China and Iran, as the other countries up until now enjoyed a visa exemption) issued since January to persons who have not yet arrived in South Africa, have been revoked. No such visas are currently being issued to persons who have moved through high risk countries.
- No long-term visas will be issued to persons who have been to high risk countries since 15 March 2020.
- Long-term visas issued to persons in/from high risk countries who have not yet arrived in South Africa may be revoked or not; no clarification has been given yet.
- As far as they are in place, visa exemptions (i.e. the granting of visitor’s visas on arrival) of high risk countries have been revoked. Medium risk countries have also lost their visa exemption, but the main requirement for a visitor’s visa is a medical test.
Foreigners in South Africa
- Foreigners in South Africa are not restricted from returning to their country of origin.
- Applications for ordinary visitor’s visa extensions (90 days) are still possible.
- Foreigners from high risk countries, or who need to travel through such countries on their way home, may apply for visas extending their stay until 31 July, irrespective of the type of visa they currently hold, and even if their last visa has already expired after 1 December 2019 (no legalization required in such cases). An application MUST be made before leaving the country.
- Foreign nationals planning to leave, but unsure as to whether their flights will be cancelled, should monitor the situation closely and approach IMCOSA immediately when informed of the cancellation.
Please view our previous Update for information on:
Screening for persons who arrived in the country since 15 February
Gatherings, schools, border posts
We encourage you to follow the general health recommendations such as washing of hands, social distancing and minimizing travel (for further details, refer to http://www.nicd.ac.za/diseases-a-z-index/covid-19/frequently-asked-questions/).
Stay safe and well,