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SOUTH AFRICA – Cancellation of Visa Waiver for New Zealand Nationals

Effective 16 January 2017, all New Zealand passport holders wishing to travel to South Africa will no longer qualify for the currently-available visa waiver, and will instead be required to apply for Port of Entry Visas before travelling to South Africa.

Background

A reciprocal visa waiver has been in place since 1996 and New Zealand passport holders have enjoyed visa-free travel to South Africa for business, tourism or family visits of up to 90 days; equally, South African passport holders enjoyed visa-free travel to New Zealand for the same purposes.

However, on 19 September 2016, the New Zealand High Commission officially informed the South African Government of a decision by the New Zealand Government to introduce visa requirements for all South African nationals wishing to travel to New Zealand with effect from 21 November 21 2016. The New Zealand Government cited exploitation of the visa waiver by many South African citizens, as well as increased incidents of counterfeit or fraudulently-obtained South African passports as its main concerns.

Visa Requirement

The Department of Home Affairs in South Africa has announced that it will reciprocate by imposing visa requirements for all New Zealand passport holders with effect from 16 January 2017.

This means that all New Zealand passport holders (including diplomatic, official and ordinary passports) who intend to travel to South Africa for business, tourism or family visits will be required to apply for Port of Entry Visas in advance of their travel to South Africa.

The application process will need to be done in person, at the South African High Commission in Wellington. Any New Zealand national who arrives in South Africa on or after 16 January 2017 without an appropriate visa will be refused entry.

It is important to note that this does not directly impact foreign nationals requiring Visitor Visas with a Section 11(2) work authorisation. This is because the Section 11(2) visa already requires a Port of Entry Visa, which is applied for at the respective South African High Commission, prior to any travel.

Action Items

  • Employers should ensure that any New Zealand national employees travelling to South Africa for business on or after 16 January 2017 have obtained an appropriate visa.

This alert was drafted using information provided by J Fetting SPC.

DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this immigration alert has been abridged from laws, court decisions, and administrative rulings and should not be construed or relied upon as legal advice. If you have specific questions regarding the applicability of this information, please contact Peregrine © 2017 Peregrine Immigration Management Ltd.