How it will work
Applicants from both SA and abroad will be able to submit their applications online together with supporting documents and the applicant biometrics.
The process doesn’t bypass a trip to Home Affairs, as applicant’s will still have to present themselves to verify the supporting paperwork and biometric information once the application has been registered online.
The DHA stated that "the application form together with supporting documents and biometrics are then electronically routed to DHA head office in Pretoria for adjudication. The applicant is electronically notified of the outcome via e-mail as well as via the application portal."
Once the documents have been verified and the application is approved, a letter printed with a secure QR-code is sent to the applicant. This QR-code will contain the approved visa or permit information which is scanned by customs officials on arrival in South Africa.
In a written statement to shadow Minister of Tourism, James Vos, the DHA stated, “The e-permit will be piloted at one Mission or local office in the last quarter of the next financial year by 31st March 2019. This is to ensure system stability. Once stable, more offices locally and abroad can then be gradually brought online.”
The Department of Home Affairs (DHA) confirmed that the first phase of the e-visa system will be piloted by the 31 March 2019.
Smooth entry for tourists to SA
The inception of the new electronic system is to increase turn-around time of visa applications and elevate tourism to South Africa.
Vos stated, “We need to streamline tourist facilitation to our country to make it easier for travellers to select South Africa as a country of choice when it comes to travel and trade. Ultimately government should cut the red tape and roll out the red carpet.”
The first phase of the rollout, “phase 1, release 1”, will focus on the application or adjudication of temporary residence visas, applications for waivers, applicant notifications and biometric details.
In addition to the implementation of the e-visa, Vos has called for the scrapping of the unabridged birth certificate requirement which saw a decline of up to 600,000 tourists to South Africa.
“Most importantly, improved tourist arrivals will facilitate more job growth in the industry while guaranteeing job security for 1.4 million South Africans already working in the tourism industry,” said Vos.
While South Africans hold their breath in the hopes that this will be the answer to their visa application woes, they can still travel around their diverse country and book cheap, visa-free domestic flights on Mango airlines or any one of our other leading local airlines.