Visa-free access for tourists to SA again – but 5 still banned

Visa-free access to South Africa has been restored for the citizens of a list of 11 countries.

At the start of lockdown that access had been suspended. But South Africa’s red list means tourists from five of those countries remain banned from entering SA.

The citizens of 11 countries may now enter South Africa again without visas, home affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi announced on Sunday – even though tourists from five of them may still not enter SA at all.

Visa-free access for some countries had been suspended at the start of South Africa’s coronavirus lockdown, meaning onerous special paperwork for those who could obtain special dispensation to travel over otherwise closed borders.

The move is “in line with the commitment of government to take urgent steps to address the economic and tourism stagnation brought about by the outbreak of Covid-19,” said Motsoaledi in a statement.

But he immediately cautioned that this does not change South Africa’s red list, of countries from which leisure travellers are not allowed.

The 11 countries that have visa-free access to SA are:

  • France
  • Germany
  • Hong Kong
  • Iran
  • Italy
  • Portugal
  • Singapore
  • South Korea
  • Spain
  • UK
  • USA

Travellers from these five countries under South Africa’s current red list may still not enter South Africa:

  • France
  • Iran
  • Portugal
  • UK
  • USA

For those countries, only the businesspeople, diplomats, and other special classes of travellers not affected by the red list will be able to use their restored visa-free status.

“The minister has instructed officials to communicate this decision to the aviation industry, embassies and other stakeholders as a matter of urgency,” Motsoaledi’s department said. 

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