South Africa Mulls Visa-free Status For Nigeria, China, India

South Africa’s Minister of Home Affairs, Mr Aaron Motsoaledi, has hinted that the former apartheid country may add the trio of Nigeria, India and China to its list of countries that can enter South Africa without a visa.

Last week, at a press conference, the Minister announced the inclusion of seven countries on the list. These are Qatar, United Arab Emirates, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Cuba, Ghana and Sao Tome and Principe.

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Mr Motsoaledi explained that the nations were added to the list so as to boost tourism in South Africa.

“Tourism will soar if we relax visa requirements for entry into South Africa. We know that Tourism is very important for job creation,” he said.

“Out of the 193 countries who are member states of the United Nations, the Department has granted visa-free status to 75 countries. Of these 16 are in our continent and are SADC members and 59 are from all over the world,” he added.

He said, “We will immediately enter into discussions with them about how a visa-free regime will work. We still have some homework to do for three countries whose combined populations make up close to 30 percent of the world’s population, this is, China, India and Nigeria.

“While we are busy tackling the matter of the three countries, we shall this financial year increase two and half times the number of people who work for Home Affairs to process visas in both China and India. We shall increase two times the number of people who process visas to our country in Nigeria,” the Minister said.

To make things easier for tourists, the deputy minister of Home Affairs, Njabulo Nzuza, said an e-Visa regime would be fully introduced in November 2019.

The e-Visa system will allow tourists and visitors to South African apply for their visas online. These applications will then be sent to a central adjudication and approval office, while the prospective visitors “sit at the comfort of their own home”.

The new system will also open South Africa as a desirable destination through the ease of its visa systems, the deputy minister said, adding that it will have huge tourism growth implications for the country

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