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South Africa imposes reciprocal visa for New Zealand travellers

New Zealand nationals entering South Africa are now required to obtain a visa announced the South African Department of Home Affairs yesterday.

South Africa Imposes Reciprocal Visa For New Zealand Travellers

This announcement comes in reaction to New Zealand’s requirement for South Africans to obtain a visa prior to boarding a flight to New Zealand – which came into effect on 21 November this year.

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South Africa’s Minister of Home Affairs, Malusi Gigaba on Tuesday, 13 December 2016, announced that a reciprocal visa will come into effect by mid-January.

The Department of Home Affairs in a tweet announced, "From 16 January 2017 New Zealanders will now be requested to obtain a visa to enter RSA".

"Reciprocity is a national principle" Gigaba said in a press conference held on Tuesday.

"South Africa has, for some time now, adopted a visa policy which is based on the principle of reciprocity. Therefore, in view of the afore-mentioned, a decision was taken to reciprocate by withdrawing the visa exemption which New Zealand passport holders enjoy.”

On 19 September 2016, the New Zealand High Commission officially informed the South African Government of a decision by the New Zealand Government to introduce visa requirements for all South African nationals wishing to travel to New Zealand with effect from 21 November 2016. On 3 October 2016 an announcement in this regard was made in the media.

The New Zealand Government attributed certain factors which led them to the decision to withdraw the visa waiver arrangements for South African passport holders. It listed as among the factors:

• the number of South African visitors who exploit the visa waiver arrangement to visit family and friends in New Zealand, as opposed to travelling to New Zealand for tourism or business purposes,
• the number of South African visitors who had overstayed the three months visa waiver limit or who did not return to South Africa, and
• the number of South African travellers who had been refused entry at the New Zealand border due to counterfeit or fraudulently obtained South African passports.

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“New Zealand diplomatic, official and ordinary passport holders who arrive at a South African port of entry on or after 16 January 2017 and who are not in possession of a visa for the intended purpose and duration of stay, will not be allowed entry into South Africa,” said Gigaba at the press conference.

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