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Countries exempt from SA Visas

Have you ever wanted to travel to beautiful South Africa and weren’t sure if you would require a visa or not? Have you wondered what the country’s visa exception conditions are?

Countries Exempt From SA Visas

New World Immigration has looked at the South African Department of Home Affairs’ website and here is all the information you need! Countries excepted from visas are listed, but make sure you also familiarize yourself with the conditions and rules.

According to the South African Department of Home Affairs foreign nationals who hold a national passport, whether it be a diplomatic, official or ordinary passport of the countries or organisations listed below “are not required to hold a visa when reporting to an immigration officer for an examination at a South African port of entry,” sates the DHA’s website. But they also note that this is only applicable subject to the terms and conditions set out in this list and are based on the intended period of stay in the Republic.

These countries are:

African Union Laissez Passer
Andorra
Argentina
Australia
Austria
Belgium
Botswana
Brazil
Canada
Chile (only ordinary passport holders)
Czech Republic
Denmark
Ecuador
Finland
France
Germany (except in diplomatic staff due to assume duty at the Embassy and Consulates of Germany in SA)
Greece
Iceland
Ireland
Israel
Italy
Jamaica
Japan
Liechtenstein
Luxemburg
Malta
Monaco
Namibia (90 days per year)
Netherlands
New Zealand
Norway
Panama (only ordinary passport holders)
Paraguay
Portugal
San Marino
Singapore
Spain
St Vincent & the Grenadines
Sweden
Switzerland
Tanzania (90 days per year)
Trinidad & Tobago (only ordinary passport holders)
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (only ordinary passport holders)

British Islands Bailiwick of Guernsey and Jersey, Isle of Man. British Oversees Territories namely: Anguilla, Bermuda, British Antarctic Territory, British Indian Ocean Territory, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat, St Helena and Dependencies (Ascension Island, Gough Island and Tristan da Cunha), Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and Oeno Islands, the Sovereign Base Areas of Cyprus South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands and the Turks and Caicos Island.

United States of America (except in diplomatic staff due to assume duty at the Embassy and Consulates of the USA in SA)
Uruguay
Venezuela
Zambia (90 days per year)
Zimbabwe

The department’s website points out that regardless of this list of countries, a citizen of those countries whose visa exemption has been withdrawn “shall comply with the visa requirements until notified by the Department that his or her visa exemption has been re-instated by the Department on petition or of its own accord.”

Heavy-duty drivers from Lesotho, Swaziland, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Malawi who are entering the Republic as commercial heavy-duty vehicle drivers are not required to be passport holders, provided their visits does not exceed the 15-day limit in such cases.

They are however expected to produce a letter confirming their employment with a transport company on entry into the Republic.

While the same principle applies to Zimbabwean commercial heavy-duty vehicle drivers, their stay on the South African side of the border may not exceed 30 days at a time.

Yet this condition does not apply to commercial heavy-duty vehicle drivers who transport goods for a South African transport company. Such drivers must be in possession of a valid work permit. This means that if you are employed by a South African company you must be in possession of a valid South African work permit.

The DHA website also makes special mention of the staff members of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) who travel on SADC laissez-passers. These employees are also exempt from visa requirements while they are traveling to the country on official business visits and may then stay in the country for up to 90 days.

Certain categories of employees of the UN as well as their spouses, dependent relatives and other members of the households are also exempt from visa requirements when visiting South Africa for less than 90 days, in this case a visitor’s permit may be issued.

UN representatives are required to furnish proof of placement at a UN mission in South Africa and will also be required to provide the relevant letters or identification documents to identify themselves at ports of entry as personnel of an UN agency.

These UN categories are:
Holders of United Nations Laissez-passers
Volunteers attached to the UN
Persons involved in any United Nations agency
Persons performing services on behalf of the UN

Lastly members of military forces attending any military related matters with the South African National Defence Force are not required to hold a South African visa and are exempt from visa and study permit requirements. In this case there is no limit to their stay but they would still be required to provide proof of invitation from the SANDF as well as letters of consent from the military force of which they are members.

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