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South Africa Just Made Its Visa Process A Lot Easier

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© Getty Images An aerial image showcasing Capetown South Africa. (photo via kierran1/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

By Mia Taylor, TravelPulse

New visa regulations have just been announced that will make traveling to South Africa much easier, particularly for those accompanied by minors.

The changes were revealed during a press conference earlier this week by President Cyril Ramaphosa and Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba and include waving the visa requirements altogether for a total of 19 countries.

In addition, tourists from China and India are now able to complete all applications remotely, according to The South African.

The country is also planning to begin piloting an e-visa program with travelers to and from New Zealand in late 2019. In addition, e-gates will be introduced at both the Cape Town and Lanseria airports. The new gates allow for simply scanning a passport and looking into a camera to progress through border patrol more quickly.

Gigaba also announced new measures aimed at returning visitors. The country will begin offering a 10-year multiple entry visa for travelers from Brazil, Russia, India and China.

Another 10-year visa option, aimed at academics and business people, is also in the pipeline, The South African reported. For those not visiting the country in any official capacity, there’s a new three-year, multiple entry visa for frequent travelers.

Among the 19 countries that can travel to South Africa visa-free are: Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Sao Tome and Principe, Tunisia, Ghana, The Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (Western Saharans), Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Palestine, Iran, Lebannon, Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait, Belarus, Georgia and Cuba.

Finally, the new rules make it easier to travel to South Africa with minors.

“We are simplifying the rules on traveling minors who are foreign nationals to minimize disruption to legitimate travelers without compromising the safety of minors and the rights of their parents,” Gigaba said. “Immigration officials will only insist on documentation by exception, in high-risk situations, rather than for all travelers, in line with practice by several other countries. Rather than denying entry where documentation is absent, travelers will be given an opportunity to prove parental consent.”

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