What is the change? South Africa will introduce visa exemptions for New Zealand, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates this month.

What does the change mean? Effective Aug. 15, nationals of the four countries may travel to South Africa for short-term visits without needing to apply for a Visitor’s Visa.

  • Implementation time frame: Aug. 15.
  • Visas/permits affected: Visitor’s Visas.
  • Business impact: Limited business activities, such as attending a meeting or conference, are permitted for visa-exempt travelers.
  • Next steps: The Department of Home Affairs will designate each of the four countries as visa-exempt for a specified period of time.

Background: Last month, South Africa announced it would be expanding its visa waiver program as one of its policy priorities in the coming year. Cuba, Ghana, and Sao Tome and Principe are also expected to be visa-exempt in the coming weeks.

Analysis & Comments: The visa exemptions are consistent with South Africa’s move toward liberalizing visa regimes to encourage international visitors, business travel and foreign direct investment. Travelers planning to avail themselves of the visa exemption are reminded, however, that permissible business activities are limited in scope, and any activities considered productive work would require work authorization.

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