What is the change? South Africa is piloting e-visas at locations in Kenya this month and at the end of the month will look to expand them to additional countries.

What does the change mean? In addition to expanding e-visas to more countries after the pilot phase, South African officials intend to expand the program to more types of visas, including Critical Skills visas for high-skilled workers filling jobs for which local talent is scarce.

  • Implementation time frame: Ongoing.
  • Visas/permits affected: Visitor visas.
  • Business impact: E-visas allow travelers to apply for visas online and receive an emailed copy of their visa to print out before traveling to South Africa. Biometrics may be requested.

Background: E-visas were among the policy priorities set by the Department of Home Affairs in its annual budget in July. Officials are also expanding visa exemptions to more nationals, having recently extended visa waivers to New Zealand, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Analysis & Comments: South Africa has been moving toward liberalizing visas, reducing bureaucracy and making processing more efficient. The introduction of e-visas is a welcome development that will provide faster and more convenient processing for eligible visa applicants. Following the pilot phase, e-visas are expected to be introduced in phases to more countries and to Critical Skills visa applicants.

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