Helpie FAQ

  • Can the child of a South African citizen enter South Africa from a high-risk country?

    A minor child, travelling on a foreign passport, is allowed to travel to South Africa with their parents from a high-risk country or elsewhere, provided the following:

    • The parent(s) are South African citizens holding valid South African passports.
    • The parents produce the child’s unabridged birth certificate at the South African port of entry, proving to immigration that they are the parents of the child.
    • Upon arrival in South Africa, the child’s birth is registered or the child passport renewed at the Department of Home Affairs without delay.

    Parents must ensure that their children do not overstay or remain in the country beyond the period of stay given by immigration at the South African port of entry. Overstay will result in the (child) passport holder being declared undesirable and refused entry into South Africa.

  • Is the Department of Home Affairs open to process travel documents?

    The Department of Home Affairs will resume applications for identity cards or documents and all types of passports. DHA will also resume visa services, including submission of applications through VFS Global in the following categories: 

    • Visitor’s visas
    • Study visas
    • Treaty visas
    • Business visas
    • Crew visas
    • Medical treatment visas
    • Relative visas
    • General work visas
    • Critical skills visas
    • Intra-company transfer visas
    • Retired person visas
    • Corporate visas
    • Exchange visas
    • Waiver of prescribed requirement  
    • Appeal or review against a decision on application for a temporary residence visa 

    Explanation of these visa categories can be found on the Department of Home Affairs websitePlease note that any mention of countries and exemptions on this page are outdated and this should only be used as a resource to gather additional information about the visa category.  

    Visa services, including applications for a visitor’s visa will also be rendered at the South African Missions abroad. 

    The application process for Lesotho Exemption Permits and Zimbabwean Exemption Permits will also resume from 1 October.  

  • What happens if a traveller arrives at a port of entry without a certified negative PCR test?

    In a statement from government, issued on 8 October, the following procedure was outlined for travellers arriving at a port of entry without a certified negative PCR test:

    1. The traveller will be screened for signs and symptoms on arrival.
    2. Upon failure to produce a certified PCR test result, the traveller will be directed to a testing facility at the port of entry.
    3. A staff member from NHLS will conduct an antigen test immediately.
    4. Travellers must be prepared to pay for the antigen test out of pocket (approximately ZAR 150-170) and can claim the fees from their health insurance service provider (pending the relevant insurance agreement).
    5. If the traveller tests negative, they will be allowed to proceed through the port of entry, provided they have been cleared of red flags at the screening phase.
    6. If the traveller tests positive, they will be required to quarantine at a facility designated by that particular port of entry. They will not be permitted to travel across provinces. Contacts of a traveller testing positive at the point of entry, including those who were in proximity of the traveller within the conveyance, will also be tracked and traced.
    7. Travellers who arrive without a certified PCR test and who refuse to test at the port of entry will not be permitted entry and will be required to quarantine at a designated facility.

    It is unlikely that the intention of government is for the antigen test to replace the PCR test certificate, as it appears to be directed more for cross-border travel (e.g. travellers from Lesotho where PCR testing capacity is lacking). Therefore, until otherwise directed, international airlines will still require the PCR test certificate before boarding flights to South Africa.

    We are seeking further clarity on this procedure to ensure that travellers who are safe to enter, are able to do so without unnecessary burden, as well as assessing what this means for overland travel between South Africa and neighbouring countries.

  • Do travellers from Africa have to produce a COVID-19 test on arrival?

    Yes, all travellers from Africa will have to produce a valid certificate from an accredited laboratory of a negative COVID-19 PCR test not older than 72 hours, at all ports of entry. This includes South Africans (re-)entering the country.

    However, the regulations stipulate that business persons providing services across the borders of SADC are allowed multiple entry, provided they can produce a COVID-19 PCR test result not older than 72 hours from the time of departure. This certificate is valid for 14 days.

    This regulation appears to be written for travellers from SADC initially entering South Africa (therefore needing a 72 hour PCR test result on arrival), and then being permitted to depart and re-enter (multiple times) on the same test for up to 14 days.

    However, it should likewise apply for South Africans exiting and re-entering within SADC, for the purposes of business, on the same COVID-19 test (not older than 14 days from the time of departure). It is our understanding that this does not currently apply to leisure travellers within SADC.

    We are seeking further clarity and confirmation all aspects of this issue.

  • Can the spouse of a South African citizen enter South Africa from a high-risk country?

    The spouse, travelling on a foreign passport, of a South African citizen is allowed to travel to South Africa from a high-risk country or elsewhere, provided they have the following:

    • Valid foreign passport
    • Valid relative visa for South Africa
    • Negative COVID-19 PCR test certificate

    The relative visa must be applied for at VFS Global. This also applies to people holding passports that are normally South African visa exempt, e.g. UK, US, Canadian, etc.