SOUTH AFRICA – BRICS Nationals Receive Long-term Multiple-entry Visas
On 26 February 2015, the Minister of the Department of Home Affairs announced that, effective retroactively on 23 December 2014, business travellers from BRICS countries would be issued long-term, multiple-entry visas.
This new measure extends to business visitors from BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China), holding diplomatic, official/services and ordinary passports, who apply for visas to visit South Africa for short-term business purposes.
What Visa is Issued?
Qualifying business travellers will receive a “Port of Entry Visa” (see below) valid for up to ten years (but not exceeding the passport validity), to allow for visits of up to 30 days at a time.
What are Port of Entry Visas?
Port of Entry Visas are issued by South African consulates abroad, but are subject to the decision of the immigration authorities at the port of entry, who may issue an entry visa or not.
What is BRICS?
BRICS is the acronym for an association of five major emerging economies. The leaders of Brazil, Russia, India and China held their first formal summit in 2009, and South Africa joined the group in 2010. As of 2014, the five BRICS countries represent almost 3 billion people, or approximately 40% of the world population.
Companies should note that this does not constitute an actual visa exemption or waiver, as Russian, Indian and Chinese nationals will still be required to apply for the initial visa prior to travel; however, once in possession of the visa, the holder can make multiple trips to South Africa within the validity period, for stays of up to 30 days at a time.
Brazilian passport holders are already part of the Department of Home Affairs’ visa waiver/exemption program and do not require visas prior to travel for business visits of up to 90 days.
The Department of Home Affairs believes that this significant step will tremendously enhance South Africa’s efforts to increase trade and investment between BRICS countries.
- Review your workforce mobility plans to take into account these new benefits for BRICS nationals.