Level 1 FAQs

General

  • Which international ports are open?

    Level 1 FAQs

    General

  • Which international ports are open?

    Johannesburg’s OR Tambo, Durban’s King Shaka and Cape Town International Airports are the only airports that will allow international air travel to arrive or depart.

    All commercial seaports will be opened.

    The 35 land borders that were closed during the previous lockdown levels will remain closed.

    The 18 land borders which were partially operational during the previous lockdown levels will be fully operational (i.e. allow passage of South Africans and permitted foreign nationals). These include:

    COUNTRY PORT HOURS CONTACT
    Zimbabwe Beitbridge Bridge 24 hours Tel & Fax: (015) 530 0070
    Eswatini Oshoek 07:00 – 22:00 Tel: (017) 882 0138/9
    Fax: (017) 819 3481
    Eswatini Mahamba 07:00 – 22:00 Tel: (017) 826 0076
    Fax: 017) 826 0077
    Eswatini Mananga 07:00 – 18:00 Tel: (013) 790 7075
    Fax: (013) 790 0077
    Eswatini Golela 07:00 – 22:00 Tel: (034) 435 1070
    Fax: (034) 435 1048
    Eswatini Jeppes Reef 07:00 – 20:00 Tel: (013) 781 0382
    Fax: (013) 781 0383
    Namibia Nakop 24 hours Tel: (054) 571 0008 / 0077
    Fax: (054) 571 0009
    Namibia Vioolsdrift 24 hours Tel: (027) 761 8760
    Fax: (027) 761 8931
    Mozambique Lebombo 06:00 – 00:00 Tel: (013) 793 7311
    Fax: (013) 793 7091
    Lesotho Caledonspoort 06:00 – 22:00 Tel: (058) 223 8400
    Fax:( 058) 223 1012
    Lesotho Ficksburg Bridge 24 hours Tel:( 051) 933 2760
    Fax: (051) 933 4540
    Lesotho Maseru Bridge 24 hours Tel: (051) 924 4300
    Fax: (051) 924 4000
    Lesotho Quacha’s Nek 06:00 – 22:00 Tel: (039) 256 4391
    Fax: (051) 633 1099
    Lesotho Van Rooyens Gate 06:00 – 22:00 Tel: (051) 583 1525
    Fax: (051) 583 1530
    Botswana Groblersbrug 08:00 – 22:00 Tel: (014) 767 1019
    Fax: (014) 767 1264
    Botswana Kopfontein 06:00 – 24:00 Tel: (018) 365 9055
    Fax: (018) 365 9026
    Botswana Ramatlabama 06:00 – 22:00 Tel: (018) 390 2533
    Fax: (018) 393 0334
    Botswana Skilpadshek 06:00 – 24:00 Tel: (018) 366 0011
    Fax: (018) 366 0012

    Compiled from cross-referencing the list of all ports of entry with the list of closed ports

  • Where can I find a list of international embassies and consulates in South Africa?

    Should a foreign national require assistance in South Africa, a list of all foreign representation in South Africa is available on the Department of International Relations and Cooperation’s website. Diplomatic missions are listed alphabetically by country name.

  • Where can I find a list of South African embassies and consulates abroad?

    Should a South African or foreign national require assistance abroad (e.g. returning home, visa purposes, etc.), a list of all South African representation abroad is available on the Department of International Relations and Cooperation’s website. South African missions abroad are listed alphabetically by the country in which they are located. The individual websites for these embassies, high commissions and consulates abroad are also listed here.

  • Entry Requirements

  • Can an arrival self-quarantine upon entry rather than go to a quarantine facility?

    Returning South Africans who are unable to present a negative test result, or who display symptoms should be able to self-quarantine at home, provided they have access to: 

    • Separate bedroom with an on-suite bathroom and toilet that is not shared with another person. 
    • Prepared meals to be served in the room preferably in disposable utensils alternatively separated and washed properly. 
    • Support from friends or family that can facilitate the drop off of food and medicine at the gate if they are not able to make use of online shopping facilities and contactless deliveries. 
    • Access to a thermometer that will allow for the monitoring of temperature daily. 
    • Access to the internet either through my phone or computer to allow reporting symptoms daily. 
    • Access to a private physician that he or she can contact should he or she be in need of medical advice or care. 
    • No visitors are permitted to visit the quarantined person. 

    Foreign national arrivals may be permitted to self-quarantine at their accommodation, provided it meets the conditions above, but we are awaiting further clarification and confirmation on this point.  

    TBC IF THE APPLICATION FOR SELF-QUARANTINE IS STILL REQUIRED AND IF A FOREIGN NATIONAL CAN SELF-QUARANTINE

  • Is entry based on country of citizenship or residence (or where an individual has visited or transitted through)?

    Entry into South Africa for foreign nationals is based on where the traveller has spent the previous 10 days.   

    If the passport of a foreign national traveller from a high-risk country indicates that they have spent 10 days or more in a low-risk country before departure to South Arica, they will be considered to be arriving from a low-risk country and subject to the low-risk entry requirements. 

    South African citizens and permanent residents will always be allowed to return home, whether or not they are travelling from or through a high-risk country. 

  • What are the exceptions for travellers from high-risk countries and what is the process for entry?

    Exceptions will be made for individuals from high-risk countries who are business travellers, diplomats, repatriated persons, investors and people with scarce and critical skills or participating in professional sporting or cultural events.  

    Business travellers must apply, in writing, to the Minister of Home Affairs and demonstrate reasons for their request to enter South Africa. This application must be sent to [email protected]  and include: 

    1. a copy of passport and/or temporary residence visa; 
    1. proof of business activities to be undertaken in South Africa; 
    1. proof of travel itinerary; and 
    1. proof of address or accommodation in South Africa. 

    They will likewise be subject to the prescribed screening procedure and isolation or quarantine rules, depending on the circumstances. On arrival, they must present a valid certificate of a negative test obtained not more than 72 hours before the date of travel. Failure to present proof of a negative test will require the traveller to quarantine at their own cost. 

  • What are the requirements to enter South Africa?
    • All arrivals must present a valid certificate of a negative COVID-19 PCR test, obtained not more than 72 hours (3 days) from the time of departure from the country of origin to South Africa. The test must be conducted by a certified medical practitioner and the certificate must have the name and signature of the practitioner who conducted the test. 
    • Failure to present proof of a valid and negative test will require the traveller to quarantine at their own cost.  
    • All arrivals will be screened for any COVID-19 symptoms and/or for contact with people who have been infected with the COVID-19 virus.  
    • Should the traveller display any COVID-19–related symptoms or have been in contact with an infected person, they will be expected to take a mandatory COVID-19 test. This test will be at the traveller’s cost. If the COVID-19 test comes back positive, the traveller will be subjected to a 10-day quarantine at a designated site, at the traveller’s cost.  
    • All arrivals must provide proof of accommodation address should they need to self-quarantine at the time of arrival in the country, subject to the accommodation allowing for self-quarantine. 
    • All arrivals will be asked to download the COVID Alert South Africa mobile app. Information on the app can be found here
    • Foreign national arrivals from low- and medium-risk countries will be subject to the prevailing visa requirements. Our understanding of this is that the visa regime that was previously in place stands (e.g. if a 90-day waiver was in place before, it will be reinstated now if the traveller is coming from a low- or medium-risk country). Foreign national arrivals from high-risk countries may enter with an application in compliance with the exemptions laid out by government and then subject to the prevailing visa requirements. 
    • All foreign national arrivals must have travel insurance that covers the cost of any testing or quarantine. 
  • Which countries have been classified as high-risk? Are there different levels of risk and requirements?

    Which countries are allowed to come to South Africa? Are there different levels of risk and requirements?

    Based on the latest WHO criteria on infection and death rates, South Africa has developed a risk categorisation model for different international travellers. This model classifies international travellers according to a scale of high, medium and low risk.  

    High-risk travellers are those who come from countries with higher numbers of COVID-19 infections and reported deaths compared to South Africa. 

    Medium risk travellers are from countries with a relatively equal number of infections and death toll to South Africa. Low-risk travellers originate from countries with lesser number of infections of COVID-19 and death toll than South Africa.

    The list of countries and categorisation will be reviewed every two weeks and updated based on the latest WHO figures.

    Travellers (leisure, corporate and other) from the African continent as well as from medium- and low-risk countries will be allowed into the country subject to the entry requirements (i.e. screening, visas, testing, quarantine).

    Below is the list of countries currently considered high risk, and from which leisure travellers are not allowed:

    Albania ​​​

    Argentina

    Armenia

    Austria

    Bahrain

    Belgium

    Bolivia

    Bosnia and Herzegovina

    Brazil ​​​ ​​​​

    Chile

    ​​​Columbia

    Costa Rica

    Croatia 

    Czech Republic

    Denmark

    Ecuador

    France​​​

    Georgia ​

    Greece

    Guatemala ​

    Guyana​​​

    Honduras

    Hungary

    Iceland

    India

    Iran

    ​​​Iraq

    Ireland

    Israel

    Jamaica

    Jordan

    Kuwait

    Lebanon

    Luxemburg ​​

    Maldives

    Malta

    Mexico

    Moldova

    Montenegro ​​​

    Nepal ​​

    Netherlands 

    North Macedonia

    Oman

    Palestine

    Panama

    Paraguay

    Peru ​​​

    Portugal

    Puerto Rico

    Qatar

    Romania

    Russia

    Slovakia

    Suriname

    Switzerland

    Ukraine

    ​​​United Emirates

    United Kingdom              ​

    USA

    Venezuela

    Exceptions will be made for individuals from high-risk countries who are business travellers with scarce and critical skills, diplomats, repatriated persons, investors and people participating in professional sporting and cultural events.

    If the passport of the traveller from a high-risk country indicates that they have spent 10 days or more in a low-risk country before departure, they will be considered to be arriving from a low-risk country and subject to the low-risk entry requirements.

  • What test results are accepted? (e.g. antibody, viral)

    All arrivals to South Africa (South Africans and foreign nationals) must present a valid certificate of a negative COVID-19 PCR test, obtained not more than 72 hours (3 days) from the time of departure from the country of origin to South Africa. The test must be conducted by a certified medical practitioner and the certificate must have the name and signature of the practitioner who conducted the test. 

    Failure to present a valid and negative test result will require you to quarantine at your own cost, until which time a repeat test can be conducted. 

  • Outbound Requirements

  • What happens if the country in which I’m travelling suddenly moves from low-risk to high-risk?

    We know that airlines from high-risk countries are not necessarily banned and that South Africans will always be allowed to return home, whether or not they are travelling from or through a high-risk country.  

    ASATA is awaiting confirmation on this point, but transit through a high-risk country, where the traveller has not passed through immigration, is not likely to affect entry (for both South African citizens and foreign nationals). Restriction of travellers from high-risk countries is more likely to be based on where the traveller’s passport shows they have resided over the last 10 days. 

  • Which countries currently accept South African Travellers?

    This information will be constantly in flux as countries update entry requirements based on infection rates and reciprocity. The most reliable and up-to-date information will be found from the source (i.e. official government and consular websites). 

    • European Union 
    • United Kingdom 
    • United States 
    • Brazil: entry regulations lift on 29 July. All foreign national arrivals must have travel insurance with a minimum cover of BRL 30 000 (approximately ZAR 90 000). (IATA

    IATA’s COVID-19 Travel Regulations Map is also regularly updated with restrictions per country. However, it is still best to double check this information against what is available from official government sources as IATA cannot guarantee total accuracy given the ever-changing nature of the international response to COVID-19. 

    On borderdata.io you can check countries’ border status based on the borderdata.io method

    borderdata.io manually checks every country’s border status, and define if the border is open, closed or partially closed.

    Search if your preferred airport is open for citizens, tourist or only cargo. If your searched border is closed. Enable the push notifications to be notified of any changes.

  • Are South Africans allowed to travel to and from high-risk countries?

    The regulations allow for South Africans to travel to any country for leisure or corporate.  

    The caveat to this is that they can only travel to countries that accept South Africans.  

    In travel, both source and destination have to give the green light. In this case, South Africa has given the green light, but you would need to look at each destination to see whether they will accept South Africans and under which conditions.  

  • Do South African residents require a 72-hour COVID-19 test prior to departing South Africa?

    South African residents do not require a 72-hour COVID-19 test prior to departing South Africa. At the airport, they will be screened at the airport and anyone exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms will be prohibited from boarding. Departing South Africans should also bring with them a completed exit screening questionnaire

    Any additional requirements will be stipulated by the airline and/or country of destination. This information will be constantly in flux as countries update entry requirements based on infection rates and reciprocity. The most reliable and up-to-date information will be found from the source (i.e. official government and consular websites). 

    IATA’s COVID-19 Travel Regulations Map is also regularly updated with restrictions per country. However, it is still best to double-check this information against what is available from official government sources as IATA cannot guarantee total accuracy given the ever-changing nature of the international response to COVID-19. 

    Travellers should also be aware that testing may be conducted at some international airports.  

  • Where can I get tested in South Africa before I travel? How much does it cost and how quickly will I get the results?

    There are over 200 testing sites across South Africa. Pathcare, Lancet and Ampath all list their testing sites per province along with address, contact information and operating hours. The cost for a Covid-19 test in South Africa is R850 and results take 48-72 hours to process depending on patient priority.

  • Aviation

  • Will airlines be permitted to land in South Africa from high-risk countries?

    Airlines from high-risk countries are not necessarily banned, but their crew will be required to isolate in facilities at designated accommodation at the cost of their employer. 

    Passengers disembarking from flights originating from high-risk countries must be South Africans or in possession of a valid visa. And all arrivals must meet the entry requirements including a valid certificate of a negative COVID-19 PCR test. 

  • Are domestic airlines operating in South Africa?
    • Bram Fischer International Airport
    • Cape Town International Airport**
    • East London Airport
    • George Airport
    • Hoedspruit Airport
    • Kimberly Airport
    • King Shaka International Airport**
    • Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport
    • Lanseria International Airport
    • Margate Airport
    • Mthatha Airport
    • OR Tambo International Airport**
    • Phalaborwa Airport
    • Pietermaritzburg Airport
    • Plettenberg Bay Airport
    • Polokwane Airport
    • Port Elizabeth International Airport
    • Richards Bay Airport
    • Sishen Airport
    • Skukuza Airport
    • Upington International Airport

    Passengers should arrive at the airport at least two hours before a domestic flight to ensure enough time is allocated for screening and operational procedures. Until it is otherwise announced, only passengers are permitted inside the terminal buildings. Passengers with a temperature higher than 38 degrees will not be permitted to enter the airport. Masks must be worn and social distancing of 1,5 metres must be adhered to at all times in the airport.  

    **Additionally open to international air travel  

    Travellers should complete the following screening questionnaires from the Department of Health, to be submitted before all flights:  

  • Which airlines are operating flights to/from South Africa?

    Each airline will have its own threshold for flying to and from South Africa based on demand for seats—which need to be filled on both inbound and outbound legs. For this reason, we may see that not all airlines immediately begin flying to South Africa. Schedules may remain in flux for some time to come as countries, including South Africa, continuously update their list of permitted countries and entry requirements based on infection rates, which will have an impact demand.

    ASATA will update its website with airline information as and when it becomes available. 

    Specific ticket enquiries will need to be taken up with the respective airline.

  • Inbound

  • Is entry based on country of citizenship or residence (or where an individual has visited or transitted through)?

    Entry into South Africa for foreign nationals is based on where the traveller has spent the previous 10 days.   

    If the passport of a foreign national traveller from a high-risk country indicates that they have spent 10 days or more in a low-risk country before departure to South Arica, they will be considered to be arriving from a low-risk country and subject to the low-risk entry requirements. 

    South African citizens and permanent residents will always be allowed to return home, whether or not they are travelling from or through a high-risk country. 

  • What are the exceptions for travellers from high-risk countries and what is the process for entry?

    Exceptions will be made for individuals from high-risk countries who are business travellers, diplomats, repatriated persons, investors and people with scarce and critical skills or participating in professional sporting or cultural events.  

    Business travellers must apply, in writing, to the Minister of Home Affairs and demonstrate reasons for their request to enter South Africa. This application must be sent to [email protected]  and include: 

    1. a copy of passport and/or temporary residence visa; 
    1. proof of business activities to be undertaken in South Africa; 
    1. proof of travel itinerary; and 
    1. proof of address or accommodation in South Africa. 

    They will likewise be subject to the prescribed screening procedure and isolation or quarantine rules, depending on the circumstances. On arrival, they must present a valid certificate of a negative test obtained not more than 72 hours before the date of travel. Failure to present proof of a negative test will require the traveller to quarantine at their own cost. 

  • Are South Africans allowed to travel to and from high-risk countries?

    The regulations allow for South Africans to travel to any country for leisure or corporate.  

    The caveat to this is that they can only travel to countries that accept South Africans.  

    In travel, both source and destination have to give the green light. In this case, South Africa has given the green light, but you would need to look at each destination to see whether they will accept South Africans and under which conditions.  

  • What happens if travelling South Africans transit through a high-risk country on their return to South Africa?

    We know that airlines from high-risk countries are not necessarily banned and that South Africans will always be allowed to return home, whether or not they are travelling from or through a high-risk country.  

    ASATA is awaiting confirmation on this point, but transit through a high-risk country, where the traveller has not passed through immigration, is not likely to affect entry (for both South African citizens and foreign nationals). Restriction of travellers from high-risk countries is more likely to be based on where the traveller’s passport shows they have resided over the last 10 days.  

  • Do returning South Africans require travel insurance to re-enter South Africa from abroad?

    The government announcement on 30 September indicated that all travellers to South Africa are required to have travel insurance to cover the cost of COVID-19 testing and 10-day quarantine so that this burden does not fall on South African taxpayers.  

    The requirement applies to foreign national travellers and South Africans who do not have travel insurance with these covers will not be prohibited from entering the country. However, it is, of course, advisable for South Africans to take out comprehensive travel insurance when travelling abroad during these times. 

  • Terms& Conditions

  • Are suppliers changing their cancellation and booking policies?

    Each supplier (airline, tour operator, etc.) will have its own change and cancellation policies, and many are being more lenient when it comes to deposits or postponements. As a consumer, if you are in a position to postpone rather than cancel, you not only help the supplier and several players along the value chain, but you also keep something to look forward to and don’t have to compromise on your expectations.

    Be sure to read and understand all the terms and conditions of your ticket or booking upfront so that there are no surprises down the line.

  • Insurance

  • How do I pick a travel insurance policy?

    Be sure to check the requirements of your travel destinations as some, like South Africa and Brazil, are requiring that foreign national arrivals have COVID-19 travel insurance. For South African arrivals, it must cover the cost of any testing or quarantine. 

    Travel insurance policies will differ based on factors such as your age, the length of your trip, and what you want to be covered. A standard insurance policy may cover cancellation for events such as the sudden bankruptcy of a travel company, unexpected illness, or a natural disaster or unrest in the destination.  

    When looking for travel insurance that covers COVID-19-related events, consider the following: 

    • Travel medical: cover your expenses if you or a travel companion, such as your spouse or child, contract COVID-19 while travelling and require medical care or evacuation. 
    • Trip cancellation: cover any expenses incurred as a result of cancelling your trip prior to departure because you, or someone you care for, contracted COVID-19. 
    • Trip delay: cover any expenses incurred as a result of changing COVID-19 regulations e.g. travel bans. 

    Most travel insurances will not cover disinclination or fear to travel. The exception is ‘cancel for any reason’ (CFAR) insurance. This is usually available as an optional upgrade to a standard travel insurance plan and may cost up to 50% more than a standard plan. It typically needs to be purchased within one to three weeks from the time you booked your trip or made the initial deposit, and you must cancel your travel 48 hours prior to departure. Often available in two tiers, CFAR insurance can cover you for 50-75% of your total travel costs. However, CFAR is not yet a common insurance product in South Africa.  

    Know that there is no-size-fits-all travel insurance plan and each additional cover comes at a cost. Whichever you choose, be sure to read the full insurance contract before buying to check whether it covers specifics like quarantine, testing, and flight disruptions.  

  • Where can I find a list of international embassies and consulates in South Africa?

    Level 1 FAQs

    General

  • Which international ports are open?

    Johannesburg’s OR Tambo, Durban’s King Shaka and Cape Town International Airports are the only airports that will allow international air travel to arrive or depart.

    All commercial seaports will be opened.

    The 35 land borders that were closed during the previous lockdown levels will remain closed.

    The 18 land borders which were partially operational during the previous lockdown levels will be fully operational (i.e. allow passage of South Africans and permitted foreign nationals). These include:

    COUNTRY PORT HOURS CONTACT
    Zimbabwe Beitbridge Bridge 24 hours Tel & Fax: (015) 530 0070
    Eswatini Oshoek 07:00 – 22:00 Tel: (017) 882 0138/9
    Fax: (017) 819 3481
    Eswatini Mahamba 07:00 – 22:00 Tel: (017) 826 0076
    Fax: 017) 826 0077
    Eswatini Mananga 07:00 – 18:00 Tel: (013) 790 7075
    Fax: (013) 790 0077
    Eswatini Golela 07:00 – 22:00 Tel: (034) 435 1070
    Fax: (034) 435 1048
    Eswatini Jeppes Reef 07:00 – 20:00 Tel: (013) 781 0382
    Fax: (013) 781 0383
    Namibia Nakop 24 hours Tel: (054) 571 0008 / 0077
    Fax: (054) 571 0009
    Namibia Vioolsdrift 24 hours Tel: (027) 761 8760
    Fax: (027) 761 8931
    Mozambique Lebombo 06:00 – 00:00 Tel: (013) 793 7311
    Fax: (013) 793 7091
    Lesotho Caledonspoort 06:00 – 22:00 Tel: (058) 223 8400
    Fax:( 058) 223 1012
    Lesotho Ficksburg Bridge 24 hours Tel:( 051) 933 2760
    Fax: (051) 933 4540
    Lesotho Maseru Bridge 24 hours Tel: (051) 924 4300
    Fax: (051) 924 4000
    Lesotho Quacha’s Nek 06:00 – 22:00 Tel: (039) 256 4391
    Fax: (051) 633 1099
    Lesotho Van Rooyens Gate 06:00 – 22:00 Tel: (051) 583 1525
    Fax: (051) 583 1530
    Botswana Groblersbrug 08:00 – 22:00 Tel: (014) 767 1019
    Fax: (014) 767 1264
    Botswana Kopfontein 06:00 – 24:00 Tel: (018) 365 9055
    Fax: (018) 365 9026
    Botswana Ramatlabama 06:00 – 22:00 Tel: (018) 390 2533
    Fax: (018) 393 0334
    Botswana Skilpadshek 06:00 – 24:00 Tel: (018) 366 0011
    Fax: (018) 366 0012

    Compiled from cross-referencing the list of all ports of entry with the list of closed ports

  • Where can I find a list of international embassies and consulates in South Africa?

    Should a foreign national require assistance in South Africa, a list of all foreign representation in South Africa is available on the Department of International Relations and Cooperation’s website. Diplomatic missions are listed alphabetically by country name.

  • Where can I find a list of South African embassies and consulates abroad?

    Should a South African or foreign national require assistance abroad (e.g. returning home, visa purposes, etc.), a list of all South African representation abroad is available on the Department of International Relations and Cooperation’s website. South African missions abroad are listed alphabetically by the country in which they are located. The individual websites for these embassies, high commissions and consulates abroad are also listed here.

  • Entry Requirements

  • Can an arrival self-quarantine upon entry rather than go to a quarantine facility?

    Returning South Africans who are unable to present a negative test result, or who display symptoms should be able to self-quarantine at home, provided they have access to: 

    • Separate bedroom with an on-suite bathroom and toilet that is not shared with another person. 
    • Prepared meals to be served in the room preferably in disposable utensils alternatively separated and washed properly. 
    • Support from friends or family that can facilitate the drop off of food and medicine at the gate if they are not able to make use of online shopping facilities and contactless deliveries. 
    • Access to a thermometer that will allow for the monitoring of temperature daily. 
    • Access to the internet either through my phone or computer to allow reporting symptoms daily. 
    • Access to a private physician that he or she can contact should he or she be in need of medical advice or care. 
    • No visitors are permitted to visit the quarantined person. 

    Foreign national arrivals may be permitted to self-quarantine at their accommodation, provided it meets the conditions above, but we are awaiting further clarification and confirmation on this point.  

    TBC IF THE APPLICATION FOR SELF-QUARANTINE IS STILL REQUIRED AND IF A FOREIGN NATIONAL CAN SELF-QUARANTINE

  • Is entry based on country of citizenship or residence (or where an individual has visited or transitted through)?

    Entry into South Africa for foreign nationals is based on where the traveller has spent the previous 10 days.   

    If the passport of a foreign national traveller from a high-risk country indicates that they have spent 10 days or more in a low-risk country before departure to South Arica, they will be considered to be arriving from a low-risk country and subject to the low-risk entry requirements. 

    South African citizens and permanent residents will always be allowed to return home, whether or not they are travelling from or through a high-risk country. 

  • What are the exceptions for travellers from high-risk countries and what is the process for entry?

    Exceptions will be made for individuals from high-risk countries who are business travellers, diplomats, repatriated persons, investors and people with scarce and critical skills or participating in professional sporting or cultural events.  

    Business travellers must apply, in writing, to the Minister of Home Affairs and demonstrate reasons for their request to enter South Africa. This application must be sent to [email protected]  and include: 

    1. a copy of passport and/or temporary residence visa; 
    1. proof of business activities to be undertaken in South Africa; 
    1. proof of travel itinerary; and 
    1. proof of address or accommodation in South Africa. 

    They will likewise be subject to the prescribed screening procedure and isolation or quarantine rules, depending on the circumstances. On arrival, they must present a valid certificate of a negative test obtained not more than 72 hours before the date of travel. Failure to present proof of a negative test will require the traveller to quarantine at their own cost. 

  • What are the requirements to enter South Africa?
    • All arrivals must present a valid certificate of a negative COVID-19 PCR test, obtained not more than 72 hours (3 days) from the time of departure from the country of origin to South Africa. The test must be conducted by a certified medical practitioner and the certificate must have the name and signature of the practitioner who conducted the test. 
    • Failure to present proof of a valid and negative test will require the traveller to quarantine at their own cost.  
    • All arrivals will be screened for any COVID-19 symptoms and/or for contact with people who have been infected with the COVID-19 virus.  
    • Should the traveller display any COVID-19–related symptoms or have been in contact with an infected person, they will be expected to take a mandatory COVID-19 test. This test will be at the traveller’s cost. If the COVID-19 test comes back positive, the traveller will be subjected to a 10-day quarantine at a designated site, at the traveller’s cost.  
    • All arrivals must provide proof of accommodation address should they need to self-quarantine at the time of arrival in the country, subject to the accommodation allowing for self-quarantine. 
    • All arrivals will be asked to download the COVID Alert South Africa mobile app. Information on the app can be found here
    • Foreign national arrivals from low- and medium-risk countries will be subject to the prevailing visa requirements. Our understanding of this is that the visa regime that was previously in place stands (e.g. if a 90-day waiver was in place before, it will be reinstated now if the traveller is coming from a low- or medium-risk country). Foreign national arrivals from high-risk countries may enter with an application in compliance with the exemptions laid out by government and then subject to the prevailing visa requirements. 
    • All foreign national arrivals must have travel insurance that covers the cost of any testing or quarantine. 
  • Which countries have been classified as high-risk? Are there different levels of risk and requirements?

    Which countries are allowed to come to South Africa? Are there different levels of risk and requirements?

    Based on the latest WHO criteria on infection and death rates, South Africa has developed a risk categorisation model for different international travellers. This model classifies international travellers according to a scale of high, medium and low risk.  

    High-risk travellers are those who come from countries with higher numbers of COVID-19 infections and reported deaths compared to South Africa. 

    Medium risk travellers are from countries with a relatively equal number of infections and death toll to South Africa. Low-risk travellers originate from countries with lesser number of infections of COVID-19 and death toll than South Africa.

    The list of countries and categorisation will be reviewed every two weeks and updated based on the latest WHO figures.

    Travellers (leisure, corporate and other) from the African continent as well as from medium- and low-risk countries will be allowed into the country subject to the entry requirements (i.e. screening, visas, testing, quarantine).

    Below is the list of countries currently considered high risk, and from which leisure travellers are not allowed:

    Albania ​​​

    Argentina

    Armenia

    Austria

    Bahrain

    Belgium

    Bolivia

    Bosnia and Herzegovina

    Brazil ​​​ ​​​​

    Chile

    ​​​Columbia

    Costa Rica

    Croatia 

    Czech Republic

    Denmark

    Ecuador

    France​​​

    Georgia ​

    Greece

    Guatemala ​

    Guyana​​​

    Honduras

    Hungary

    Iceland

    India

    Iran

    ​​​Iraq

    Ireland

    Israel

    Jamaica

    Jordan

    Kuwait

    Lebanon

    Luxemburg ​​

    Maldives

    Malta

    Mexico

    Moldova

    Montenegro ​​​

    Nepal ​​

    Netherlands 

    North Macedonia

    Oman

    Palestine

    Panama

    Paraguay

    Peru ​​​

    Portugal

    Puerto Rico

    Qatar

    Romania

    Russia

    Slovakia

    Suriname

    Switzerland

    Ukraine

    ​​​United Emirates

    United Kingdom              ​

    USA

    Venezuela

    Exceptions will be made for individuals from high-risk countries who are business travellers with scarce and critical skills, diplomats, repatriated persons, investors and people participating in professional sporting and cultural events.

    If the passport of the traveller from a high-risk country indicates that they have spent 10 days or more in a low-risk country before departure, they will be considered to be arriving from a low-risk country and subject to the low-risk entry requirements.

  • What test results are accepted? (e.g. antibody, viral)

    All arrivals to South Africa (South Africans and foreign nationals) must present a valid certificate of a negative COVID-19 PCR test, obtained not more than 72 hours (3 days) from the time of departure from the country of origin to South Africa. The test must be conducted by a certified medical practitioner and the certificate must have the name and signature of the practitioner who conducted the test. 

    Failure to present a valid and negative test result will require you to quarantine at your own cost, until which time a repeat test can be conducted. 

  • Outbound Requirements

  • What happens if the country in which I’m travelling suddenly moves from low-risk to high-risk?

    We know that airlines from high-risk countries are not necessarily banned and that South Africans will always be allowed to return home, whether or not they are travelling from or through a high-risk country.  

    ASATA is awaiting confirmation on this point, but transit through a high-risk country, where the traveller has not passed through immigration, is not likely to affect entry (for both South African citizens and foreign nationals). Restriction of travellers from high-risk countries is more likely to be based on where the traveller’s passport shows they have resided over the last 10 days. 

  • Which countries currently accept South African Travellers?

    This information will be constantly in flux as countries update entry requirements based on infection rates and reciprocity. The most reliable and up-to-date information will be found from the source (i.e. official government and consular websites). 

    • European Union 
    • United Kingdom 
    • United States 
    • Brazil: entry regulations lift on 29 July. All foreign national arrivals must have travel insurance with a minimum cover of BRL 30 000 (approximately ZAR 90 000). (IATA

    IATA’s COVID-19 Travel Regulations Map is also regularly updated with restrictions per country. However, it is still best to double check this information against what is available from official government sources as IATA cannot guarantee total accuracy given the ever-changing nature of the international response to COVID-19. 

    On borderdata.io you can check countries’ border status based on the borderdata.io method

    borderdata.io manually checks every country’s border status, and define if the border is open, closed or partially closed.

    Search if your preferred airport is open for citizens, tourist or only cargo. If your searched border is closed. Enable the push notifications to be notified of any changes.

  • Are South Africans allowed to travel to and from high-risk countries?

    The regulations allow for South Africans to travel to any country for leisure or corporate.  

    The caveat to this is that they can only travel to countries that accept South Africans.  

    In travel, both source and destination have to give the green light. In this case, South Africa has given the green light, but you would need to look at each destination to see whether they will accept South Africans and under which conditions.  

  • Do South African residents require a 72-hour COVID-19 test prior to departing South Africa?

    South African residents do not require a 72-hour COVID-19 test prior to departing South Africa. At the airport, they will be screened at the airport and anyone exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms will be prohibited from boarding. Departing South Africans should also bring with them a completed exit screening questionnaire

    Any additional requirements will be stipulated by the airline and/or country of destination. This information will be constantly in flux as countries update entry requirements based on infection rates and reciprocity. The most reliable and up-to-date information will be found from the source (i.e. official government and consular websites). 

    IATA’s COVID-19 Travel Regulations Map is also regularly updated with restrictions per country. However, it is still best to double-check this information against what is available from official government sources as IATA cannot guarantee total accuracy given the ever-changing nature of the international response to COVID-19. 

    Travellers should also be aware that testing may be conducted at some international airports.  

  • Where can I get tested in South Africa before I travel? How much does it cost and how quickly will I get the results?

    There are over 200 testing sites across South Africa. Pathcare, Lancet and Ampath all list their testing sites per province along with address, contact information and operating hours. The cost for a Covid-19 test in South Africa is R850 and results take 48-72 hours to process depending on patient priority.

  • Aviation

  • Will airlines be permitted to land in South Africa from high-risk countries?

    Airlines from high-risk countries are not necessarily banned, but their crew will be required to isolate in facilities at designated accommodation at the cost of their employer. 

    Passengers disembarking from flights originating from high-risk countries must be South Africans or in possession of a valid visa. And all arrivals must meet the entry requirements including a valid certificate of a negative COVID-19 PCR test. 

  • Are domestic airlines operating in South Africa?
    • Bram Fischer International Airport
    • Cape Town International Airport**
    • East London Airport
    • George Airport
    • Hoedspruit Airport
    • Kimberly Airport
    • King Shaka International Airport**
    • Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport
    • Lanseria International Airport
    • Margate Airport
    • Mthatha Airport
    • OR Tambo International Airport**
    • Phalaborwa Airport
    • Pietermaritzburg Airport
    • Plettenberg Bay Airport
    • Polokwane Airport
    • Port Elizabeth International Airport
    • Richards Bay Airport
    • Sishen Airport
    • Skukuza Airport
    • Upington International Airport

    Passengers should arrive at the airport at least two hours before a domestic flight to ensure enough time is allocated for screening and operational procedures. Until it is otherwise announced, only passengers are permitted inside the terminal buildings. Passengers with a temperature higher than 38 degrees will not be permitted to enter the airport. Masks must be worn and social distancing of 1,5 metres must be adhered to at all times in the airport.  

    **Additionally open to international air travel  

    Travellers should complete the following screening questionnaires from the Department of Health, to be submitted before all flights:  

  • Which airlines are operating flights to/from South Africa?

    Each airline will have its own threshold for flying to and from South Africa based on demand for seats—which need to be filled on both inbound and outbound legs. For this reason, we may see that not all airlines immediately begin flying to South Africa. Schedules may remain in flux for some time to come as countries, including South Africa, continuously update their list of permitted countries and entry requirements based on infection rates, which will have an impact demand.

    ASATA will update its website with airline information as and when it becomes available. 

    Specific ticket enquiries will need to be taken up with the respective airline.

  • Inbound

  • Is entry based on country of citizenship or residence (or where an individual has visited or transitted through)?

    Entry into South Africa for foreign nationals is based on where the traveller has spent the previous 10 days.   

    If the passport of a foreign national traveller from a high-risk country indicates that they have spent 10 days or more in a low-risk country before departure to South Arica, they will be considered to be arriving from a low-risk country and subject to the low-risk entry requirements. 

    South African citizens and permanent residents will always be allowed to return home, whether or not they are travelling from or through a high-risk country. 

  • What are the exceptions for travellers from high-risk countries and what is the process for entry?

    Exceptions will be made for individuals from high-risk countries who are business travellers, diplomats, repatriated persons, investors and people with scarce and critical skills or participating in professional sporting or cultural events.  

    Business travellers must apply, in writing, to the Minister of Home Affairs and demonstrate reasons for their request to enter South Africa. This application must be sent to [email protected]  and include: 

    1. a copy of passport and/or temporary residence visa; 
    1. proof of business activities to be undertaken in South Africa; 
    1. proof of travel itinerary; and 
    1. proof of address or accommodation in South Africa. 

    They will likewise be subject to the prescribed screening procedure and isolation or quarantine rules, depending on the circumstances. On arrival, they must present a valid certificate of a negative test obtained not more than 72 hours before the date of travel. Failure to present proof of a negative test will require the traveller to quarantine at their own cost. 

  • Are South Africans allowed to travel to and from high-risk countries?

    The regulations allow for South Africans to travel to any country for leisure or corporate.  

    The caveat to this is that they can only travel to countries that accept South Africans.  

    In travel, both source and destination have to give the green light. In this case, South Africa has given the green light, but you would need to look at each destination to see whether they will accept South Africans and under which conditions.  

  • What happens if travelling South Africans transit through a high-risk country on their return to South Africa?

    We know that airlines from high-risk countries are not necessarily banned and that South Africans will always be allowed to return home, whether or not they are travelling from or through a high-risk country.  

    ASATA is awaiting confirmation on this point, but transit through a high-risk country, where the traveller has not passed through immigration, is not likely to affect entry (for both South African citizens and foreign nationals). Restriction of travellers from high-risk countries is more likely to be based on where the traveller’s passport shows they have resided over the last 10 days.  

  • Do returning South Africans require travel insurance to re-enter South Africa from abroad?

    The government announcement on 30 September indicated that all travellers to South Africa are required to have travel insurance to cover the cost of COVID-19 testing and 10-day quarantine so that this burden does not fall on South African taxpayers.  

    The requirement applies to foreign national travellers and South Africans who do not have travel insurance with these covers will not be prohibited from entering the country. However, it is, of course, advisable for South Africans to take out comprehensive travel insurance when travelling abroad during these times. 

  • Terms& Conditions

  • Are suppliers changing their cancellation and booking policies?

    Each supplier (airline, tour operator, etc.) will have its own change and cancellation policies, and many are being more lenient when it comes to deposits or postponements. As a consumer, if you are in a position to postpone rather than cancel, you not only help the supplier and several players along the value chain, but you also keep something to look forward to and don’t have to compromise on your expectations.

    Be sure to read and understand all the terms and conditions of your ticket or booking upfront so that there are no surprises down the line.

  • Insurance

  • How do I pick a travel insurance policy?

    Be sure to check the requirements of your travel destinations as some, like South Africa and Brazil, are requiring that foreign national arrivals have COVID-19 travel insurance. For South African arrivals, it must cover the cost of any testing or quarantine. 

    Travel insurance policies will differ based on factors such as your age, the length of your trip, and what you want to be covered. A standard insurance policy may cover cancellation for events such as the sudden bankruptcy of a travel company, unexpected illness, or a natural disaster or unrest in the destination.  

    When looking for travel insurance that covers COVID-19-related events, consider the following: 

    • Travel medical: cover your expenses if you or a travel companion, such as your spouse or child, contract COVID-19 while travelling and require medical care or evacuation. 
    • Trip cancellation: cover any expenses incurred as a result of cancelling your trip prior to departure because you, or someone you care for, contracted COVID-19. 
    • Trip delay: cover any expenses incurred as a result of changing COVID-19 regulations e.g. travel bans. 

    Most travel insurances will not cover disinclination or fear to travel. The exception is ‘cancel for any reason’ (CFAR) insurance. This is usually available as an optional upgrade to a standard travel insurance plan and may cost up to 50% more than a standard plan. It typically needs to be purchased within one to three weeks from the time you booked your trip or made the initial deposit, and you must cancel your travel 48 hours prior to departure. Often available in two tiers, CFAR insurance can cover you for 50-75% of your total travel costs. However, CFAR is not yet a common insurance product in South Africa.  

    Know that there is no-size-fits-all travel insurance plan and each additional cover comes at a cost. Whichever you choose, be sure to read the full insurance contract before buying to check whether it covers specifics like quarantine, testing, and flight disruptions.  

  • Where can I find a list of South African embassies and consulates abroad?

    Level 1 FAQs

    General

  • Which international ports are open?

    Johannesburg’s OR Tambo, Durban’s King Shaka and Cape Town International Airports are the only airports that will allow international air travel to arrive or depart.

    All commercial seaports will be opened.

    The 35 land borders that were closed during the previous lockdown levels will remain closed.

    The 18 land borders which were partially operational during the previous lockdown levels will be fully operational (i.e. allow passage of South Africans and permitted foreign nationals). These include:

    COUNTRY PORT HOURS CONTACT
    Zimbabwe Beitbridge Bridge 24 hours Tel & Fax: (015) 530 0070
    Eswatini Oshoek 07:00 – 22:00 Tel: (017) 882 0138/9
    Fax: (017) 819 3481
    Eswatini Mahamba 07:00 – 22:00 Tel: (017) 826 0076
    Fax: 017) 826 0077
    Eswatini Mananga 07:00 – 18:00 Tel: (013) 790 7075
    Fax: (013) 790 0077
    Eswatini Golela 07:00 – 22:00 Tel: (034) 435 1070
    Fax: (034) 435 1048
    Eswatini Jeppes Reef 07:00 – 20:00 Tel: (013) 781 0382
    Fax: (013) 781 0383
    Namibia Nakop 24 hours Tel: (054) 571 0008 / 0077
    Fax: (054) 571 0009
    Namibia Vioolsdrift 24 hours Tel: (027) 761 8760
    Fax: (027) 761 8931
    Mozambique Lebombo 06:00 – 00:00 Tel: (013) 793 7311
    Fax: (013) 793 7091
    Lesotho Caledonspoort 06:00 – 22:00 Tel: (058) 223 8400
    Fax:( 058) 223 1012
    Lesotho Ficksburg Bridge 24 hours Tel:( 051) 933 2760
    Fax: (051) 933 4540
    Lesotho Maseru Bridge 24 hours Tel: (051) 924 4300
    Fax: (051) 924 4000
    Lesotho Quacha’s Nek 06:00 – 22:00 Tel: (039) 256 4391
    Fax: (051) 633 1099
    Lesotho Van Rooyens Gate 06:00 – 22:00 Tel: (051) 583 1525
    Fax: (051) 583 1530
    Botswana Groblersbrug 08:00 – 22:00 Tel: (014) 767 1019
    Fax: (014) 767 1264
    Botswana Kopfontein 06:00 – 24:00 Tel: (018) 365 9055
    Fax: (018) 365 9026
    Botswana Ramatlabama 06:00 – 22:00 Tel: (018) 390 2533
    Fax: (018) 393 0334
    Botswana Skilpadshek 06:00 – 24:00 Tel: (018) 366 0011
    Fax: (018) 366 0012

    Compiled from cross-referencing the list of all ports of entry with the list of closed ports

  • Where can I find a list of international embassies and consulates in South Africa?

    Should a foreign national require assistance in South Africa, a list of all foreign representation in South Africa is available on the Department of International Relations and Cooperation’s website. Diplomatic missions are listed alphabetically by country name.

  • Where can I find a list of South African embassies and consulates abroad?

    Should a South African or foreign national require assistance abroad (e.g. returning home, visa purposes, etc.), a list of all South African representation abroad is available on the Department of International Relations and Cooperation’s website. South African missions abroad are listed alphabetically by the country in which they are located. The individual websites for these embassies, high commissions and consulates abroad are also listed here.

  • Entry Requirements

  • Can an arrival self-quarantine upon entry rather than go to a quarantine facility?

    Returning South Africans who are unable to present a negative test result, or who display symptoms should be able to self-quarantine at home, provided they have access to: 

    • Separate bedroom with an on-suite bathroom and toilet that is not shared with another person. 
    • Prepared meals to be served in the room preferably in disposable utensils alternatively separated and washed properly. 
    • Support from friends or family that can facilitate the drop off of food and medicine at the gate if they are not able to make use of online shopping facilities and contactless deliveries. 
    • Access to a thermometer that will allow for the monitoring of temperature daily. 
    • Access to the internet either through my phone or computer to allow reporting symptoms daily. 
    • Access to a private physician that he or she can contact should he or she be in need of medical advice or care. 
    • No visitors are permitted to visit the quarantined person. 

    Foreign national arrivals may be permitted to self-quarantine at their accommodation, provided it meets the conditions above, but we are awaiting further clarification and confirmation on this point.  

    TBC IF THE APPLICATION FOR SELF-QUARANTINE IS STILL REQUIRED AND IF A FOREIGN NATIONAL CAN SELF-QUARANTINE

  • Is entry based on country of citizenship or residence (or where an individual has visited or transitted through)?

    Entry into South Africa for foreign nationals is based on where the traveller has spent the previous 10 days.   

    If the passport of a foreign national traveller from a high-risk country indicates that they have spent 10 days or more in a low-risk country before departure to South Arica, they will be considered to be arriving from a low-risk country and subject to the low-risk entry requirements. 

    South African citizens and permanent residents will always be allowed to return home, whether or not they are travelling from or through a high-risk country. 

  • What are the exceptions for travellers from high-risk countries and what is the process for entry?

    Exceptions will be made for individuals from high-risk countries who are business travellers, diplomats, repatriated persons, investors and people with scarce and critical skills or participating in professional sporting or cultural events.  

    Business travellers must apply, in writing, to the Minister of Home Affairs and demonstrate reasons for their request to enter South Africa. This application must be sent to [email protected]  and include: 

    1. a copy of passport and/or temporary residence visa; 
    1. proof of business activities to be undertaken in South Africa; 
    1. proof of travel itinerary; and 
    1. proof of address or accommodation in South Africa. 

    They will likewise be subject to the prescribed screening procedure and isolation or quarantine rules, depending on the circumstances. On arrival, they must present a valid certificate of a negative test obtained not more than 72 hours before the date of travel. Failure to present proof of a negative test will require the traveller to quarantine at their own cost. 

  • What are the requirements to enter South Africa?
    • All arrivals must present a valid certificate of a negative COVID-19 PCR test, obtained not more than 72 hours (3 days) from the time of departure from the country of origin to South Africa. The test must be conducted by a certified medical practitioner and the certificate must have the name and signature of the practitioner who conducted the test. 
    • Failure to present proof of a valid and negative test will require the traveller to quarantine at their own cost.  
    • All arrivals will be screened for any COVID-19 symptoms and/or for contact with people who have been infected with the COVID-19 virus.  
    • Should the traveller display any COVID-19–related symptoms or have been in contact with an infected person, they will be expected to take a mandatory COVID-19 test. This test will be at the traveller’s cost. If the COVID-19 test comes back positive, the traveller will be subjected to a 10-day quarantine at a designated site, at the traveller’s cost.  
    • All arrivals must provide proof of accommodation address should they need to self-quarantine at the time of arrival in the country, subject to the accommodation allowing for self-quarantine. 
    • All arrivals will be asked to download the COVID Alert South Africa mobile app. Information on the app can be found here
    • Foreign national arrivals from low- and medium-risk countries will be subject to the prevailing visa requirements. Our understanding of this is that the visa regime that was previously in place stands (e.g. if a 90-day waiver was in place before, it will be reinstated now if the traveller is coming from a low- or medium-risk country). Foreign national arrivals from high-risk countries may enter with an application in compliance with the exemptions laid out by government and then subject to the prevailing visa requirements. 
    • All foreign national arrivals must have travel insurance that covers the cost of any testing or quarantine. 
  • Which countries have been classified as high-risk? Are there different levels of risk and requirements?

    Which countries are allowed to come to South Africa? Are there different levels of risk and requirements?

    Based on the latest WHO criteria on infection and death rates, South Africa has developed a risk categorisation model for different international travellers. This model classifies international travellers according to a scale of high, medium and low risk.  

    High-risk travellers are those who come from countries with higher numbers of COVID-19 infections and reported deaths compared to South Africa. 

    Medium risk travellers are from countries with a relatively equal number of infections and death toll to South Africa. Low-risk travellers originate from countries with lesser number of infections of COVID-19 and death toll than South Africa.

    The list of countries and categorisation will be reviewed every two weeks and updated based on the latest WHO figures.

    Travellers (leisure, corporate and other) from the African continent as well as from medium- and low-risk countries will be allowed into the country subject to the entry requirements (i.e. screening, visas, testing, quarantine).

    Below is the list of countries currently considered high risk, and from which leisure travellers are not allowed:

    Albania ​​​

    Argentina

    Armenia

    Austria

    Bahrain

    Belgium

    Bolivia

    Bosnia and Herzegovina

    Brazil ​​​ ​​​​

    Chile

    ​​​Columbia

    Costa Rica

    Croatia 

    Czech Republic

    Denmark

    Ecuador

    France​​​

    Georgia ​

    Greece

    Guatemala ​

    Guyana​​​

    Honduras

    Hungary

    Iceland

    India

    Iran

    ​​​Iraq

    Ireland

    Israel

    Jamaica

    Jordan

    Kuwait

    Lebanon

    Luxemburg ​​

    Maldives

    Malta

    Mexico

    Moldova

    Montenegro ​​​

    Nepal ​​

    Netherlands 

    North Macedonia

    Oman

    Palestine

    Panama

    Paraguay

    Peru ​​​

    Portugal

    Puerto Rico

    Qatar

    Romania

    Russia

    Slovakia

    Suriname

    Switzerland

    Ukraine

    ​​​United Emirates

    United Kingdom              ​

    USA

    Venezuela

    Exceptions will be made for individuals from high-risk countries who are business travellers with scarce and critical skills, diplomats, repatriated persons, investors and people participating in professional sporting and cultural events.

    If the passport of the traveller from a high-risk country indicates that they have spent 10 days or more in a low-risk country before departure, they will be considered to be arriving from a low-risk country and subject to the low-risk entry requirements.

  • What test results are accepted? (e.g. antibody, viral)

    All arrivals to South Africa (South Africans and foreign nationals) must present a valid certificate of a negative COVID-19 PCR test, obtained not more than 72 hours (3 days) from the time of departure from the country of origin to South Africa. The test must be conducted by a certified medical practitioner and the certificate must have the name and signature of the practitioner who conducted the test. 

    Failure to present a valid and negative test result will require you to quarantine at your own cost, until which time a repeat test can be conducted. 

  • Outbound Requirements

  • What happens if the country in which I’m travelling suddenly moves from low-risk to high-risk?

    We know that airlines from high-risk countries are not necessarily banned and that South Africans will always be allowed to return home, whether or not they are travelling from or through a high-risk country.  

    ASATA is awaiting confirmation on this point, but transit through a high-risk country, where the traveller has not passed through immigration, is not likely to affect entry (for both South African citizens and foreign nationals). Restriction of travellers from high-risk countries is more likely to be based on where the traveller’s passport shows they have resided over the last 10 days. 

  • Which countries currently accept South African Travellers?

    This information will be constantly in flux as countries update entry requirements based on infection rates and reciprocity. The most reliable and up-to-date information will be found from the source (i.e. official government and consular websites). 

    • European Union 
    • United Kingdom 
    • United States 
    • Brazil: entry regulations lift on 29 July. All foreign national arrivals must have travel insurance with a minimum cover of BRL 30 000 (approximately ZAR 90 000). (IATA

    IATA’s COVID-19 Travel Regulations Map is also regularly updated with restrictions per country. However, it is still best to double check this information against what is available from official government sources as IATA cannot guarantee total accuracy given the ever-changing nature of the international response to COVID-19. 

    On borderdata.io you can check countries’ border status based on the borderdata.io method

    borderdata.io manually checks every country’s border status, and define if the border is open, closed or partially closed.

    Search if your preferred airport is open for citizens, tourist or only cargo. If your searched border is closed. Enable the push notifications to be notified of any changes.

  • Are South Africans allowed to travel to and from high-risk countries?

    The regulations allow for South Africans to travel to any country for leisure or corporate.  

    The caveat to this is that they can only travel to countries that accept South Africans.  

    In travel, both source and destination have to give the green light. In this case, South Africa has given the green light, but you would need to look at each destination to see whether they will accept South Africans and under which conditions.  

  • Do South African residents require a 72-hour COVID-19 test prior to departing South Africa?

    South African residents do not require a 72-hour COVID-19 test prior to departing South Africa. At the airport, they will be screened at the airport and anyone exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms will be prohibited from boarding. Departing South Africans should also bring with them a completed exit screening questionnaire

    Any additional requirements will be stipulated by the airline and/or country of destination. This information will be constantly in flux as countries update entry requirements based on infection rates and reciprocity. The most reliable and up-to-date information will be found from the source (i.e. official government and consular websites). 

    IATA’s COVID-19 Travel Regulations Map is also regularly updated with restrictions per country. However, it is still best to double-check this information against what is available from official government sources as IATA cannot guarantee total accuracy given the ever-changing nature of the international response to COVID-19. 

    Travellers should also be aware that testing may be conducted at some international airports.  

  • Where can I get tested in South Africa before I travel? How much does it cost and how quickly will I get the results?

    There are over 200 testing sites across South Africa. Pathcare, Lancet and Ampath all list their testing sites per province along with address, contact information and operating hours. The cost for a Covid-19 test in South Africa is R850 and results take 48-72 hours to process depending on patient priority.

  • Aviation

  • Will airlines be permitted to land in South Africa from high-risk countries?

    Airlines from high-risk countries are not necessarily banned, but their crew will be required to isolate in facilities at designated accommodation at the cost of their employer. 

    Passengers disembarking from flights originating from high-risk countries must be South Africans or in possession of a valid visa. And all arrivals must meet the entry requirements including a valid certificate of a negative COVID-19 PCR test. 

  • Are domestic airlines operating in South Africa?
    • Bram Fischer International Airport
    • Cape Town International Airport**
    • East London Airport
    • George Airport
    • Hoedspruit Airport
    • Kimberly Airport
    • King Shaka International Airport**
    • Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport
    • Lanseria International Airport
    • Margate Airport
    • Mthatha Airport
    • OR Tambo International Airport**
    • Phalaborwa Airport
    • Pietermaritzburg Airport
    • Plettenberg Bay Airport
    • Polokwane Airport
    • Port Elizabeth International Airport
    • Richards Bay Airport
    • Sishen Airport
    • Skukuza Airport
    • Upington International Airport

    Passengers should arrive at the airport at least two hours before a domestic flight to ensure enough time is allocated for screening and operational procedures. Until it is otherwise announced, only passengers are permitted inside the terminal buildings. Passengers with a temperature higher than 38 degrees will not be permitted to enter the airport. Masks must be worn and social distancing of 1,5 metres must be adhered to at all times in the airport.  

    **Additionally open to international air travel  

    Travellers should complete the following screening questionnaires from the Department of Health, to be submitted before all flights:  

  • Which airlines are operating flights to/from South Africa?

    Each airline will have its own threshold for flying to and from South Africa based on demand for seats—which need to be filled on both inbound and outbound legs. For this reason, we may see that not all airlines immediately begin flying to South Africa. Schedules may remain in flux for some time to come as countries, including South Africa, continuously update their list of permitted countries and entry requirements based on infection rates, which will have an impact demand.

    ASATA will update its website with airline information as and when it becomes available. 

    Specific ticket enquiries will need to be taken up with the respective airline.

  • Inbound

  • Is entry based on country of citizenship or residence (or where an individual has visited or transitted through)?

    Entry into South Africa for foreign nationals is based on where the traveller has spent the previous 10 days.   

    If the passport of a foreign national traveller from a high-risk country indicates that they have spent 10 days or more in a low-risk country before departure to South Arica, they will be considered to be arriving from a low-risk country and subject to the low-risk entry requirements. 

    South African citizens and permanent residents will always be allowed to return home, whether or not they are travelling from or through a high-risk country. 

  • What are the exceptions for travellers from high-risk countries and what is the process for entry?

    Exceptions will be made for individuals from high-risk countries who are business travellers, diplomats, repatriated persons, investors and people with scarce and critical skills or participating in professional sporting or cultural events.  

    Business travellers must apply, in writing, to the Minister of Home Affairs and demonstrate reasons for their request to enter South Africa. This application must be sent to [email protected]  and include: 

    1. a copy of passport and/or temporary residence visa; 
    1. proof of business activities to be undertaken in South Africa; 
    1. proof of travel itinerary; and 
    1. proof of address or accommodation in South Africa. 

    They will likewise be subject to the prescribed screening procedure and isolation or quarantine rules, depending on the circumstances. On arrival, they must present a valid certificate of a negative test obtained not more than 72 hours before the date of travel. Failure to present proof of a negative test will require the traveller to quarantine at their own cost. 

  • Are South Africans allowed to travel to and from high-risk countries?

    The regulations allow for South Africans to travel to any country for leisure or corporate.  

    The caveat to this is that they can only travel to countries that accept South Africans.  

    In travel, both source and destination have to give the green light. In this case, South Africa has given the green light, but you would need to look at each destination to see whether they will accept South Africans and under which conditions.  

  • What happens if travelling South Africans transit through a high-risk country on their return to South Africa?

    We know that airlines from high-risk countries are not necessarily banned and that South Africans will always be allowed to return home, whether or not they are travelling from or through a high-risk country.  

    ASATA is awaiting confirmation on this point, but transit through a high-risk country, where the traveller has not passed through immigration, is not likely to affect entry (for both South African citizens and foreign nationals). Restriction of travellers from high-risk countries is more likely to be based on where the traveller’s passport shows they have resided over the last 10 days.  

  • Do returning South Africans require travel insurance to re-enter South Africa from abroad?

    The government announcement on 30 September indicated that all travellers to South Africa are required to have travel insurance to cover the cost of COVID-19 testing and 10-day quarantine so that this burden does not fall on South African taxpayers.  

    The requirement applies to foreign national travellers and South Africans who do not have travel insurance with these covers will not be prohibited from entering the country. However, it is, of course, advisable for South Africans to take out comprehensive travel insurance when travelling abroad during these times. 

  • Terms& Conditions

  • Are suppliers changing their cancellation and booking policies?

    Each supplier (airline, tour operator, etc.) will have its own change and cancellation policies, and many are being more lenient when it comes to deposits or postponements. As a consumer, if you are in a position to postpone rather than cancel, you not only help the supplier and several players along the value chain, but you also keep something to look forward to and don’t have to compromise on your expectations.

    Be sure to read and understand all the terms and conditions of your ticket or booking upfront so that there are no surprises down the line.

  • Insurance

  • How do I pick a travel insurance policy?

    Be sure to check the requirements of your travel destinations as some, like South Africa and Brazil, are requiring that foreign national arrivals have COVID-19 travel insurance. For South African arrivals, it must cover the cost of any testing or quarantine. 

    Travel insurance policies will differ based on factors such as your age, the length of your trip, and what you want to be covered. A standard insurance policy may cover cancellation for events such as the sudden bankruptcy of a travel company, unexpected illness, or a natural disaster or unrest in the destination.  

    When looking for travel insurance that covers COVID-19-related events, consider the following: 

    • Travel medical: cover your expenses if you or a travel companion, such as your spouse or child, contract COVID-19 while travelling and require medical care or evacuation. 
    • Trip cancellation: cover any expenses incurred as a result of cancelling your trip prior to departure because you, or someone you care for, contracted COVID-19. 
    • Trip delay: cover any expenses incurred as a result of changing COVID-19 regulations e.g. travel bans. 

    Most travel insurances will not cover disinclination or fear to travel. The exception is ‘cancel for any reason’ (CFAR) insurance. This is usually available as an optional upgrade to a standard travel insurance plan and may cost up to 50% more than a standard plan. It typically needs to be purchased within one to three weeks from the time you booked your trip or made the initial deposit, and you must cancel your travel 48 hours prior to departure. Often available in two tiers, CFAR insurance can cover you for 50-75% of your total travel costs. However, CFAR is not yet a common insurance product in South Africa.  

    Know that there is no-size-fits-all travel insurance plan and each additional cover comes at a cost. Whichever you choose, be sure to read the full insurance contract before buying to check whether it covers specifics like quarantine, testing, and flight disruptions.  

  • Entry Requirements

  • Can an arrival self-quarantine upon entry rather than go to a quarantine facility?

    Level 1 FAQs

    General

  • Which international ports are open?

    Johannesburg’s OR Tambo, Durban’s King Shaka and Cape Town International Airports are the only airports that will allow international air travel to arrive or depart.

    All commercial seaports will be opened.

    The 35 land borders that were closed during the previous lockdown levels will remain closed.

    The 18 land borders which were partially operational during the previous lockdown levels will be fully operational (i.e. allow passage of South Africans and permitted foreign nationals). These include:

    COUNTRY PORT HOURS CONTACT
    Zimbabwe Beitbridge Bridge 24 hours Tel & Fax: (015) 530 0070
    Eswatini Oshoek 07:00 – 22:00 Tel: (017) 882 0138/9
    Fax: (017) 819 3481
    Eswatini Mahamba 07:00 – 22:00 Tel: (017) 826 0076
    Fax: 017) 826 0077
    Eswatini Mananga 07:00 – 18:00 Tel: (013) 790 7075
    Fax: (013) 790 0077
    Eswatini Golela 07:00 – 22:00 Tel: (034) 435 1070
    Fax: (034) 435 1048
    Eswatini Jeppes Reef 07:00 – 20:00 Tel: (013) 781 0382
    Fax: (013) 781 0383
    Namibia Nakop 24 hours Tel: (054) 571 0008 / 0077
    Fax: (054) 571 0009
    Namibia Vioolsdrift 24 hours Tel: (027) 761 8760
    Fax: (027) 761 8931
    Mozambique Lebombo 06:00 – 00:00 Tel: (013) 793 7311
    Fax: (013) 793 7091
    Lesotho Caledonspoort 06:00 – 22:00 Tel: (058) 223 8400
    Fax:( 058) 223 1012
    Lesotho Ficksburg Bridge 24 hours Tel:( 051) 933 2760
    Fax: (051) 933 4540
    Lesotho Maseru Bridge 24 hours Tel: (051) 924 4300
    Fax: (051) 924 4000
    Lesotho Quacha’s Nek 06:00 – 22:00 Tel: (039) 256 4391
    Fax: (051) 633 1099
    Lesotho Van Rooyens Gate 06:00 – 22:00 Tel: (051) 583 1525
    Fax: (051) 583 1530
    Botswana Groblersbrug 08:00 – 22:00 Tel: (014) 767 1019
    Fax: (014) 767 1264
    Botswana Kopfontein 06:00 – 24:00 Tel: (018) 365 9055
    Fax: (018) 365 9026
    Botswana Ramatlabama 06:00 – 22:00 Tel: (018) 390 2533
    Fax: (018) 393 0334
    Botswana Skilpadshek 06:00 – 24:00 Tel: (018) 366 0011
    Fax: (018) 366 0012

    Compiled from cross-referencing the list of all ports of entry with the list of closed ports

  • Where can I find a list of international embassies and consulates in South Africa?

    Should a foreign national require assistance in South Africa, a list of all foreign representation in South Africa is available on the Department of International Relations and Cooperation’s website. Diplomatic missions are listed alphabetically by country name.

  • Where can I find a list of South African embassies and consulates abroad?

    Should a South African or foreign national require assistance abroad (e.g. returning home, visa purposes, etc.), a list of all South African representation abroad is available on the Department of International Relations and Cooperation’s website. South African missions abroad are listed alphabetically by the country in which they are located. The individual websites for these embassies, high commissions and consulates abroad are also listed here.

  • Entry Requirements

  • Can an arrival self-quarantine upon entry rather than go to a quarantine facility?

    Returning South Africans who are unable to present a negative test result, or who display symptoms should be able to self-quarantine at home, provided they have access to: 

    • Separate bedroom with an on-suite bathroom and toilet that is not shared with another person. 
    • Prepared meals to be served in the room preferably in disposable utensils alternatively separated and washed properly. 
    • Support from friends or family that can facilitate the drop off of food and medicine at the gate if they are not able to make use of online shopping facilities and contactless deliveries. 
    • Access to a thermometer that will allow for the monitoring of temperature daily. 
    • Access to the internet either through my phone or computer to allow reporting symptoms daily. 
    • Access to a private physician that he or she can contact should he or she be in need of medical advice or care. 
    • No visitors are permitted to visit the quarantined person. 

    Foreign national arrivals may be permitted to self-quarantine at their accommodation, provided it meets the conditions above, but we are awaiting further clarification and confirmation on this point.  

    TBC IF THE APPLICATION FOR SELF-QUARANTINE IS STILL REQUIRED AND IF A FOREIGN NATIONAL CAN SELF-QUARANTINE

  • Is entry based on country of citizenship or residence (or where an individual has visited or transitted through)?

    Entry into South Africa for foreign nationals is based on where the traveller has spent the previous 10 days.   

    If the passport of a foreign national traveller from a high-risk country indicates that they have spent 10 days or more in a low-risk country before departure to South Arica, they will be considered to be arriving from a low-risk country and subject to the low-risk entry requirements. 

    South African citizens and permanent residents will always be allowed to return home, whether or not they are travelling from or through a high-risk country. 

  • What are the exceptions for travellers from high-risk countries and what is the process for entry?

    Exceptions will be made for individuals from high-risk countries who are business travellers, diplomats, repatriated persons, investors and people with scarce and critical skills or participating in professional sporting or cultural events.  

    Business travellers must apply, in writing, to the Minister of Home Affairs and demonstrate reasons for their request to enter South Africa. This application must be sent to [email protected]  and include: 

    1. a copy of passport and/or temporary residence visa; 
    1. proof of business activities to be undertaken in South Africa; 
    1. proof of travel itinerary; and 
    1. proof of address or accommodation in South Africa. 

    They will likewise be subject to the prescribed screening procedure and isolation or quarantine rules, depending on the circumstances. On arrival, they must present a valid certificate of a negative test obtained not more than 72 hours before the date of travel. Failure to present proof of a negative test will require the traveller to quarantine at their own cost. 

  • What are the requirements to enter South Africa?
    • All arrivals must present a valid certificate of a negative COVID-19 PCR test, obtained not more than 72 hours (3 days) from the time of departure from the country of origin to South Africa. The test must be conducted by a certified medical practitioner and the certificate must have the name and signature of the practitioner who conducted the test. 
    • Failure to present proof of a valid and negative test will require the traveller to quarantine at their own cost.  
    • All arrivals will be screened for any COVID-19 symptoms and/or for contact with people who have been infected with the COVID-19 virus.  
    • Should the traveller display any COVID-19–related symptoms or have been in contact with an infected person, they will be expected to take a mandatory COVID-19 test. This test will be at the traveller’s cost. If the COVID-19 test comes back positive, the traveller will be subjected to a 10-day quarantine at a designated site, at the traveller’s cost.  
    • All arrivals must provide proof of accommodation address should they need to self-quarantine at the time of arrival in the country, subject to the accommodation allowing for self-quarantine. 
    • All arrivals will be asked to download the COVID Alert South Africa mobile app. Information on the app can be found here
    • Foreign national arrivals from low- and medium-risk countries will be subject to the prevailing visa requirements. Our understanding of this is that the visa regime that was previously in place stands (e.g. if a 90-day waiver was in place before, it will be reinstated now if the traveller is coming from a low- or medium-risk country). Foreign national arrivals from high-risk countries may enter with an application in compliance with the exemptions laid out by government and then subject to the prevailing visa requirements. 
    • All foreign national arrivals must have travel insurance that covers the cost of any testing or quarantine. 
  • Which countries have been classified as high-risk? Are there different levels of risk and requirements?

    Which countries are allowed to come to South Africa? Are there different levels of risk and requirements?

    Based on the latest WHO criteria on infection and death rates, South Africa has developed a risk categorisation model for different international travellers. This model classifies international travellers according to a scale of high, medium and low risk.  

    High-risk travellers are those who come from countries with higher numbers of COVID-19 infections and reported deaths compared to South Africa. 

    Medium risk travellers are from countries with a relatively equal number of infections and death toll to South Africa. Low-risk travellers originate from countries with lesser number of infections of COVID-19 and death toll than South Africa.

    The list of countries and categorisation will be reviewed every two weeks and updated based on the latest WHO figures.

    Travellers (leisure, corporate and other) from the African continent as well as from medium- and low-risk countries will be allowed into the country subject to the entry requirements (i.e. screening, visas, testing, quarantine).

    Below is the list of countries currently considered high risk, and from which leisure travellers are not allowed:

    Albania ​​​

    Argentina

    Armenia

    Austria

    Bahrain

    Belgium

    Bolivia

    Bosnia and Herzegovina

    Brazil ​​​ ​​​​

    Chile

    ​​​Columbia

    Costa Rica

    Croatia 

    Czech Republic

    Denmark

    Ecuador

    France​​​

    Georgia ​

    Greece

    Guatemala ​

    Guyana​​​

    Honduras

    Hungary

    Iceland

    India

    Iran

    ​​​Iraq

    Ireland

    Israel

    Jamaica

    Jordan

    Kuwait

    Lebanon

    Luxemburg ​​

    Maldives

    Malta

    Mexico

    Moldova

    Montenegro ​​​

    Nepal ​​

    Netherlands 

    North Macedonia

    Oman

    Palestine

    Panama

    Paraguay

    Peru ​​​

    Portugal

    Puerto Rico

    Qatar

    Romania

    Russia

    Slovakia

    Suriname

    Switzerland

    Ukraine

    ​​​United Emirates

    United Kingdom              ​

    USA

    Venezuela

    Exceptions will be made for individuals from high-risk countries who are business travellers with scarce and critical skills, diplomats, repatriated persons, investors and people participating in professional sporting and cultural events.

    If the passport of the traveller from a high-risk country indicates that they have spent 10 days or more in a low-risk country before departure, they will be considered to be arriving from a low-risk country and subject to the low-risk entry requirements.

  • What test results are accepted? (e.g. antibody, viral)

    All arrivals to South Africa (South Africans and foreign nationals) must present a valid certificate of a negative COVID-19 PCR test, obtained not more than 72 hours (3 days) from the time of departure from the country of origin to South Africa. The test must be conducted by a certified medical practitioner and the certificate must have the name and signature of the practitioner who conducted the test. 

    Failure to present a valid and negative test result will require you to quarantine at your own cost, until which time a repeat test can be conducted. 

  • Outbound Requirements

  • What happens if the country in which I’m travelling suddenly moves from low-risk to high-risk?

    We know that airlines from high-risk countries are not necessarily banned and that South Africans will always be allowed to return home, whether or not they are travelling from or through a high-risk country.  

    ASATA is awaiting confirmation on this point, but transit through a high-risk country, where the traveller has not passed through immigration, is not likely to affect entry (for both South African citizens and foreign nationals). Restriction of travellers from high-risk countries is more likely to be based on where the traveller’s passport shows they have resided over the last 10 days. 

  • Which countries currently accept South African Travellers?

    This information will be constantly in flux as countries update entry requirements based on infection rates and reciprocity. The most reliable and up-to-date information will be found from the source (i.e. official government and consular websites). 

    • European Union 
    • United Kingdom 
    • United States 
    • Brazil: entry regulations lift on 29 July. All foreign national arrivals must have travel insurance with a minimum cover of BRL 30 000 (approximately ZAR 90 000). (IATA

    IATA’s COVID-19 Travel Regulations Map is also regularly updated with restrictions per country. However, it is still best to double check this information against what is available from official government sources as IATA cannot guarantee total accuracy given the ever-changing nature of the international response to COVID-19. 

    On borderdata.io you can check countries’ border status based on the borderdata.io method

    borderdata.io manually checks every country’s border status, and define if the border is open, closed or partially closed.

    Search if your preferred airport is open for citizens, tourist or only cargo. If your searched border is closed. Enable the push notifications to be notified of any changes.

  • Are South Africans allowed to travel to and from high-risk countries?

    The regulations allow for South Africans to travel to any country for leisure or corporate.  

    The caveat to this is that they can only travel to countries that accept South Africans.  

    In travel, both source and destination have to give the green light. In this case, South Africa has given the green light, but you would need to look at each destination to see whether they will accept South Africans and under which conditions.  

  • Do South African residents require a 72-hour COVID-19 test prior to departing South Africa?

    South African residents do not require a 72-hour COVID-19 test prior to departing South Africa. At the airport, they will be screened at the airport and anyone exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms will be prohibited from boarding. Departing South Africans should also bring with them a completed exit screening questionnaire

    Any additional requirements will be stipulated by the airline and/or country of destination. This information will be constantly in flux as countries update entry requirements based on infection rates and reciprocity. The most reliable and up-to-date information will be found from the source (i.e. official government and consular websites). 

    IATA’s COVID-19 Travel Regulations Map is also regularly updated with restrictions per country. However, it is still best to double-check this information against what is available from official government sources as IATA cannot guarantee total accuracy given the ever-changing nature of the international response to COVID-19. 

    Travellers should also be aware that testing may be conducted at some international airports.  

  • Where can I get tested in South Africa before I travel? How much does it cost and how quickly will I get the results?

    There are over 200 testing sites across South Africa. Pathcare, Lancet and Ampath all list their testing sites per province along with address, contact information and operating hours. The cost for a Covid-19 test in South Africa is R850 and results take 48-72 hours to process depending on patient priority.

  • Aviation

  • Will airlines be permitted to land in South Africa from high-risk countries?

    Airlines from high-risk countries are not necessarily banned, but their crew will be required to isolate in facilities at designated accommodation at the cost of their employer. 

    Passengers disembarking from flights originating from high-risk countries must be South Africans or in possession of a valid visa. And all arrivals must meet the entry requirements including a valid certificate of a negative COVID-19 PCR test. 

  • Are domestic airlines operating in South Africa?
    • Bram Fischer International Airport
    • Cape Town International Airport**
    • East London Airport
    • George Airport
    • Hoedspruit Airport
    • Kimberly Airport
    • King Shaka International Airport**
    • Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport
    • Lanseria International Airport
    • Margate Airport
    • Mthatha Airport
    • OR Tambo International Airport**
    • Phalaborwa Airport
    • Pietermaritzburg Airport
    • Plettenberg Bay Airport
    • Polokwane Airport
    • Port Elizabeth International Airport
    • Richards Bay Airport
    • Sishen Airport
    • Skukuza Airport
    • Upington International Airport

    Passengers should arrive at the airport at least two hours before a domestic flight to ensure enough time is allocated for screening and operational procedures. Until it is otherwise announced, only passengers are permitted inside the terminal buildings. Passengers with a temperature higher than 38 degrees will not be permitted to enter the airport. Masks must be worn and social distancing of 1,5 metres must be adhered to at all times in the airport.  

    **Additionally open to international air travel  

    Travellers should complete the following screening questionnaires from the Department of Health, to be submitted before all flights:  

  • Which airlines are operating flights to/from South Africa?

    Each airline will have its own threshold for flying to and from South Africa based on demand for seats—which need to be filled on both inbound and outbound legs. For this reason, we may see that not all airlines immediately begin flying to South Africa. Schedules may remain in flux for some time to come as countries, including South Africa, continuously update their list of permitted countries and entry requirements based on infection rates, which will have an impact demand.

    ASATA will update its website with airline information as and when it becomes available. 

    Specific ticket enquiries will need to be taken up with the respective airline.

  • Inbound

  • Is entry based on country of citizenship or residence (or where an individual has visited or transitted through)?

    Entry into South Africa for foreign nationals is based on where the traveller has spent the previous 10 days.   

    If the passport of a foreign national traveller from a high-risk country indicates that they have spent 10 days or more in a low-risk country before departure to South Arica, they will be considered to be arriving from a low-risk country and subject to the low-risk entry requirements. 

    South African citizens and permanent residents will always be allowed to return home, whether or not they are travelling from or through a high-risk country. 

  • What are the exceptions for travellers from high-risk countries and what is the process for entry?

    Exceptions will be made for individuals from high-risk countries who are business travellers, diplomats, repatriated persons, investors and people with scarce and critical skills or participating in professional sporting or cultural events.  

    Business travellers must apply, in writing, to the Minister of Home Affairs and demonstrate reasons for their request to enter South Africa. This application must be sent to [email protected]  and include: 

    1. a copy of passport and/or temporary residence visa; 
    1. proof of business activities to be undertaken in South Africa; 
    1. proof of travel itinerary; and 
    1. proof of address or accommodation in South Africa. 

    They will likewise be subject to the prescribed screening procedure and isolation or quarantine rules, depending on the circumstances. On arrival, they must present a valid certificate of a negative test obtained not more than 72 hours before the date of travel. Failure to present proof of a negative test will require the traveller to quarantine at their own cost. 

  • Are South Africans allowed to travel to and from high-risk countries?

    The regulations allow for South Africans to travel to any country for leisure or corporate.  

    The caveat to this is that they can only travel to countries that accept South Africans.  

    In travel, both source and destination have to give the green light. In this case, South Africa has given the green light, but you would need to look at each destination to see whether they will accept South Africans and under which conditions.  

  • What happens if travelling South Africans transit through a high-risk country on their return to South Africa?

    We know that airlines from high-risk countries are not necessarily banned and that South Africans will always be allowed to return home, whether or not they are travelling from or through a high-risk country.  

    ASATA is awaiting confirmation on this point, but transit through a high-risk country, where the traveller has not passed through immigration, is not likely to affect entry (for both South African citizens and foreign nationals). Restriction of travellers from high-risk countries is more likely to be based on where the traveller’s passport shows they have resided over the last 10 days.  

  • Do returning South Africans require travel insurance to re-enter South Africa from abroad?

    The government announcement on 30 September indicated that all travellers to South Africa are required to have travel insurance to cover the cost of COVID-19 testing and 10-day quarantine so that this burden does not fall on South African taxpayers.  

    The requirement applies to foreign national travellers and South Africans who do not have travel insurance with these covers will not be prohibited from entering the country. However, it is, of course, advisable for South Africans to take out comprehensive travel insurance when travelling abroad during these times. 

  • Terms& Conditions

  • Are suppliers changing their cancellation and booking policies?

    Each supplier (airline, tour operator, etc.) will have its own change and cancellation policies, and many are being more lenient when it comes to deposits or postponements. As a consumer, if you are in a position to postpone rather than cancel, you not only help the supplier and several players along the value chain, but you also keep something to look forward to and don’t have to compromise on your expectations.

    Be sure to read and understand all the terms and conditions of your ticket or booking upfront so that there are no surprises down the line.

  • Insurance

  • How do I pick a travel insurance policy?

    Be sure to check the requirements of your travel destinations as some, like South Africa and Brazil, are requiring that foreign national arrivals have COVID-19 travel insurance. For South African arrivals, it must cover the cost of any testing or quarantine. 

    Travel insurance policies will differ based on factors such as your age, the length of your trip, and what you want to be covered. A standard insurance policy may cover cancellation for events such as the sudden bankruptcy of a travel company, unexpected illness, or a natural disaster or unrest in the destination.  

    When looking for travel insurance that covers COVID-19-related events, consider the following: 

    • Travel medical: cover your expenses if you or a travel companion, such as your spouse or child, contract COVID-19 while travelling and require medical care or evacuation. 
    • Trip cancellation: cover any expenses incurred as a result of cancelling your trip prior to departure because you, or someone you care for, contracted COVID-19. 
    • Trip delay: cover any expenses incurred as a result of changing COVID-19 regulations e.g. travel bans. 

    Most travel insurances will not cover disinclination or fear to travel. The exception is ‘cancel for any reason’ (CFAR) insurance. This is usually available as an optional upgrade to a standard travel insurance plan and may cost up to 50% more than a standard plan. It typically needs to be purchased within one to three weeks from the time you booked your trip or made the initial deposit, and you must cancel your travel 48 hours prior to departure. Often available in two tiers, CFAR insurance can cover you for 50-75% of your total travel costs. However, CFAR is not yet a common insurance product in South Africa.  

    Know that there is no-size-fits-all travel insurance plan and each additional cover comes at a cost. Whichever you choose, be sure to read the full insurance contract before buying to check whether it covers specifics like quarantine, testing, and flight disruptions.  

  • Is entry based on country of citizenship or residence (or where an individual has visited or transitted through)?

    Level 1 FAQs

    General

  • Which international ports are open?

    Johannesburg’s OR Tambo, Durban’s King Shaka and Cape Town International Airports are the only airports that will allow international air travel to arrive or depart.

    All commercial seaports will be opened.

    The 35 land borders that were closed during the previous lockdown levels will remain closed.

    The 18 land borders which were partially operational during the previous lockdown levels will be fully operational (i.e. allow passage of South Africans and permitted foreign nationals). These include:

    COUNTRY PORT HOURS CONTACT
    Zimbabwe Beitbridge Bridge 24 hours Tel & Fax: (015) 530 0070
    Eswatini Oshoek 07:00 – 22:00 Tel: (017) 882 0138/9
    Fax: (017) 819 3481
    Eswatini Mahamba 07:00 – 22:00 Tel: (017) 826 0076
    Fax: 017) 826 0077
    Eswatini Mananga 07:00 – 18:00 Tel: (013) 790 7075
    Fax: (013) 790 0077
    Eswatini Golela 07:00 – 22:00 Tel: (034) 435 1070
    Fax: (034) 435 1048
    Eswatini Jeppes Reef 07:00 – 20:00 Tel: (013) 781 0382
    Fax: (013) 781 0383
    Namibia Nakop 24 hours Tel: (054) 571 0008 / 0077
    Fax: (054) 571 0009
    Namibia Vioolsdrift 24 hours Tel: (027) 761 8760
    Fax: (027) 761 8931
    Mozambique Lebombo 06:00 – 00:00 Tel: (013) 793 7311
    Fax: (013) 793 7091
    Lesotho Caledonspoort 06:00 – 22:00 Tel: (058) 223 8400
    Fax:( 058) 223 1012
    Lesotho Ficksburg Bridge 24 hours Tel:( 051) 933 2760
    Fax: (051) 933 4540
    Lesotho Maseru Bridge 24 hours Tel: (051) 924 4300
    Fax: (051) 924 4000
    Lesotho Quacha’s Nek 06:00 – 22:00 Tel: (039) 256 4391
    Fax: (051) 633 1099
    Lesotho Van Rooyens Gate 06:00 – 22:00 Tel: (051) 583 1525
    Fax: (051) 583 1530
    Botswana Groblersbrug 08:00 – 22:00 Tel: (014) 767 1019
    Fax: (014) 767 1264
    Botswana Kopfontein 06:00 – 24:00 Tel: (018) 365 9055
    Fax: (018) 365 9026
    Botswana Ramatlabama 06:00 – 22:00 Tel: (018) 390 2533
    Fax: (018) 393 0334
    Botswana Skilpadshek 06:00 – 24:00 Tel: (018) 366 0011
    Fax: (018) 366 0012

    Compiled from cross-referencing the list of all ports of entry with the list of closed ports

  • Where can I find a list of international embassies and consulates in South Africa?

    Should a foreign national require assistance in South Africa, a list of all foreign representation in South Africa is available on the Department of International Relations and Cooperation’s website. Diplomatic missions are listed alphabetically by country name.

  • Where can I find a list of South African embassies and consulates abroad?

    Should a South African or foreign national require assistance abroad (e.g. returning home, visa purposes, etc.), a list of all South African representation abroad is available on the Department of International Relations and Cooperation’s website. South African missions abroad are listed alphabetically by the country in which they are located. The individual websites for these embassies, high commissions and consulates abroad are also listed here.

  • Entry Requirements

  • Can an arrival self-quarantine upon entry rather than go to a quarantine facility?

    Returning South Africans who are unable to present a negative test result, or who display symptoms should be able to self-quarantine at home, provided they have access to: 

    • Separate bedroom with an on-suite bathroom and toilet that is not shared with another person. 
    • Prepared meals to be served in the room preferably in disposable utensils alternatively separated and washed properly. 
    • Support from friends or family that can facilitate the drop off of food and medicine at the gate if they are not able to make use of online shopping facilities and contactless deliveries. 
    • Access to a thermometer that will allow for the monitoring of temperature daily. 
    • Access to the internet either through my phone or computer to allow reporting symptoms daily. 
    • Access to a private physician that he or she can contact should he or she be in need of medical advice or care. 
    • No visitors are permitted to visit the quarantined person. 

    Foreign national arrivals may be permitted to self-quarantine at their accommodation, provided it meets the conditions above, but we are awaiting further clarification and confirmation on this point.  

    TBC IF THE APPLICATION FOR SELF-QUARANTINE IS STILL REQUIRED AND IF A FOREIGN NATIONAL CAN SELF-QUARANTINE

  • Is entry based on country of citizenship or residence (or where an individual has visited or transitted through)?

    Entry into South Africa for foreign nationals is based on where the traveller has spent the previous 10 days.   

    If the passport of a foreign national traveller from a high-risk country indicates that they have spent 10 days or more in a low-risk country before departure to South Arica, they will be considered to be arriving from a low-risk country and subject to the low-risk entry requirements. 

    South African citizens and permanent residents will always be allowed to return home, whether or not they are travelling from or through a high-risk country. 

  • What are the exceptions for travellers from high-risk countries and what is the process for entry?

    Exceptions will be made for individuals from high-risk countries who are business travellers, diplomats, repatriated persons, investors and people with scarce and critical skills or participating in professional sporting or cultural events.  

    Business travellers must apply, in writing, to the Minister of Home Affairs and demonstrate reasons for their request to enter South Africa. This application must be sent to [email protected]  and include: 

    1. a copy of passport and/or temporary residence visa; 
    1. proof of business activities to be undertaken in South Africa; 
    1. proof of travel itinerary; and 
    1. proof of address or accommodation in South Africa. 

    They will likewise be subject to the prescribed screening procedure and isolation or quarantine rules, depending on the circumstances. On arrival, they must present a valid certificate of a negative test obtained not more than 72 hours before the date of travel. Failure to present proof of a negative test will require the traveller to quarantine at their own cost. 

  • What are the requirements to enter South Africa?
    • All arrivals must present a valid certificate of a negative COVID-19 PCR test, obtained not more than 72 hours (3 days) from the time of departure from the country of origin to South Africa. The test must be conducted by a certified medical practitioner and the certificate must have the name and signature of the practitioner who conducted the test. 
    • Failure to present proof of a valid and negative test will require the traveller to quarantine at their own cost.  
    • All arrivals will be screened for any COVID-19 symptoms and/or for contact with people who have been infected with the COVID-19 virus.  
    • Should the traveller display any COVID-19–related symptoms or have been in contact with an infected person, they will be expected to take a mandatory COVID-19 test. This test will be at the traveller’s cost. If the COVID-19 test comes back positive, the traveller will be subjected to a 10-day quarantine at a designated site, at the traveller’s cost.  
    • All arrivals must provide proof of accommodation address should they need to self-quarantine at the time of arrival in the country, subject to the accommodation allowing for self-quarantine. 
    • All arrivals will be asked to download the COVID Alert South Africa mobile app. Information on the app can be found here
    • Foreign national arrivals from low- and medium-risk countries will be subject to the prevailing visa requirements. Our understanding of this is that the visa regime that was previously in place stands (e.g. if a 90-day waiver was in place before, it will be reinstated now if the traveller is coming from a low- or medium-risk country). Foreign national arrivals from high-risk countries may enter with an application in compliance with the exemptions laid out by government and then subject to the prevailing visa requirements. 
    • All foreign national arrivals must have travel insurance that covers the cost of any testing or quarantine. 
  • Which countries have been classified as high-risk? Are there different levels of risk and requirements?

    Which countries are allowed to come to South Africa? Are there different levels of risk and requirements?

    Based on the latest WHO criteria on infection and death rates, South Africa has developed a risk categorisation model for different international travellers. This model classifies international travellers according to a scale of high, medium and low risk.  

    High-risk travellers are those who come from countries with higher numbers of COVID-19 infections and reported deaths compared to South Africa. 

    Medium risk travellers are from countries with a relatively equal number of infections and death toll to South Africa. Low-risk travellers originate from countries with lesser number of infections of COVID-19 and death toll than South Africa.

    The list of countries and categorisation will be reviewed every two weeks and updated based on the latest WHO figures.

    Travellers (leisure, corporate and other) from the African continent as well as from medium- and low-risk countries will be allowed into the country subject to the entry requirements (i.e. screening, visas, testing, quarantine).

    Below is the list of countries currently considered high risk, and from which leisure travellers are not allowed:

    Albania ​​​

    Argentina

    Armenia

    Austria

    Bahrain

    Belgium

    Bolivia

    Bosnia and Herzegovina

    Brazil ​​​ ​​​​

    Chile

    ​​​Columbia

    Costa Rica

    Croatia 

    Czech Republic

    Denmark

    Ecuador

    France​​​

    Georgia ​

    Greece

    Guatemala ​

    Guyana​​​

    Honduras

    Hungary

    Iceland

    India

    Iran

    ​​​Iraq

    Ireland

    Israel

    Jamaica

    Jordan

    Kuwait

    Lebanon

    Luxemburg ​​

    Maldives

    Malta

    Mexico

    Moldova

    Montenegro ​​​

    Nepal ​​

    Netherlands 

    North Macedonia

    Oman

    Palestine

    Panama

    Paraguay

    Peru ​​​

    Portugal

    Puerto Rico

    Qatar

    Romania

    Russia

    Slovakia

    Suriname

    Switzerland

    Ukraine

    ​​​United Emirates

    United Kingdom              ​

    USA

    Venezuela

    Exceptions will be made for individuals from high-risk countries who are business travellers with scarce and critical skills, diplomats, repatriated persons, investors and people participating in professional sporting and cultural events.

    If the passport of the traveller from a high-risk country indicates that they have spent 10 days or more in a low-risk country before departure, they will be considered to be arriving from a low-risk country and subject to the low-risk entry requirements.

  • What test results are accepted? (e.g. antibody, viral)

    All arrivals to South Africa (South Africans and foreign nationals) must present a valid certificate of a negative COVID-19 PCR test, obtained not more than 72 hours (3 days) from the time of departure from the country of origin to South Africa. The test must be conducted by a certified medical practitioner and the certificate must have the name and signature of the practitioner who conducted the test. 

    Failure to present a valid and negative test result will require you to quarantine at your own cost, until which time a repeat test can be conducted. 

  • Outbound Requirements

  • What happens if the country in which I’m travelling suddenly moves from low-risk to high-risk?

    We know that airlines from high-risk countries are not necessarily banned and that South Africans will always be allowed to return home, whether or not they are travelling from or through a high-risk country.  

    ASATA is awaiting confirmation on this point, but transit through a high-risk country, where the traveller has not passed through immigration, is not likely to affect entry (for both South African citizens and foreign nationals). Restriction of travellers from high-risk countries is more likely to be based on where the traveller’s passport shows they have resided over the last 10 days. 

  • Which countries currently accept South African Travellers?

    This information will be constantly in flux as countries update entry requirements based on infection rates and reciprocity. The most reliable and up-to-date information will be found from the source (i.e. official government and consular websites). 

    • European Union 
    • United Kingdom 
    • United States 
    • Brazil: entry regulations lift on 29 July. All foreign national arrivals must have travel insurance with a minimum cover of BRL 30 000 (approximately ZAR 90 000). (IATA

    IATA’s COVID-19 Travel Regulations Map is also regularly updated with restrictions per country. However, it is still best to double check this information against what is available from official government sources as IATA cannot guarantee total accuracy given the ever-changing nature of the international response to COVID-19. 

    On borderdata.io you can check countries’ border status based on the borderdata.io method

    borderdata.io manually checks every country’s border status, and define if the border is open, closed or partially closed.

    Search if your preferred airport is open for citizens, tourist or only cargo. If your searched border is closed. Enable the push notifications to be notified of any changes.

  • Are South Africans allowed to travel to and from high-risk countries?

    The regulations allow for South Africans to travel to any country for leisure or corporate.  

    The caveat to this is that they can only travel to countries that accept South Africans.  

    In travel, both source and destination have to give the green light. In this case, South Africa has given the green light, but you would need to look at each destination to see whether they will accept South Africans and under which conditions.  

  • Do South African residents require a 72-hour COVID-19 test prior to departing South Africa?

    South African residents do not require a 72-hour COVID-19 test prior to departing South Africa. At the airport, they will be screened at the airport and anyone exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms will be prohibited from boarding. Departing South Africans should also bring with them a completed exit screening questionnaire

    Any additional requirements will be stipulated by the airline and/or country of destination. This information will be constantly in flux as countries update entry requirements based on infection rates and reciprocity. The most reliable and up-to-date information will be found from the source (i.e. official government and consular websites). 

    IATA’s COVID-19 Travel Regulations Map is also regularly updated with restrictions per country. However, it is still best to double-check this information against what is available from official government sources as IATA cannot guarantee total accuracy given the ever-changing nature of the international response to COVID-19. 

    Travellers should also be aware that testing may be conducted at some international airports.  

  • Where can I get tested in South Africa before I travel? How much does it cost and how quickly will I get the results?

    There are over 200 testing sites across South Africa. Pathcare, Lancet and Ampath all list their testing sites per province along with address, contact information and operating hours. The cost for a Covid-19 test in South Africa is R850 and results take 48-72 hours to process depending on patient priority.

  • Aviation

  • Will airlines be permitted to land in South Africa from high-risk countries?

    Airlines from high-risk countries are not necessarily banned, but their crew will be required to isolate in facilities at designated accommodation at the cost of their employer. 

    Passengers disembarking from flights originating from high-risk countries must be South Africans or in possession of a valid visa. And all arrivals must meet the entry requirements including a valid certificate of a negative COVID-19 PCR test. 

  • Are domestic airlines operating in South Africa?
    • Bram Fischer International Airport
    • Cape Town International Airport**
    • East London Airport
    • George Airport
    • Hoedspruit Airport
    • Kimberly Airport
    • King Shaka International Airport**
    • Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport
    • Lanseria International Airport
    • Margate Airport
    • Mthatha Airport
    • OR Tambo International Airport**
    • Phalaborwa Airport
    • Pietermaritzburg Airport
    • Plettenberg Bay Airport
    • Polokwane Airport
    • Port Elizabeth International Airport
    • Richards Bay Airport
    • Sishen Airport
    • Skukuza Airport
    • Upington International Airport

    Passengers should arrive at the airport at least two hours before a domestic flight to ensure enough time is allocated for screening and operational procedures. Until it is otherwise announced, only passengers are permitted inside the terminal buildings. Passengers with a temperature higher than 38 degrees will not be permitted to enter the airport. Masks must be worn and social distancing of 1,5 metres must be adhered to at all times in the airport.  

    **Additionally open to international air travel  

    Travellers should complete the following screening questionnaires from the Department of Health, to be submitted before all flights:  

  • Which airlines are operating flights to/from South Africa?

    Each airline will have its own threshold for flying to and from South Africa based on demand for seats—which need to be filled on both inbound and outbound legs. For this reason, we may see that not all airlines immediately begin flying to South Africa. Schedules may remain in flux for some time to come as countries, including South Africa, continuously update their list of permitted countries and entry requirements based on infection rates, which will have an impact demand.

    ASATA will update its website with airline information as and when it becomes available. 

    Specific ticket enquiries will need to be taken up with the respective airline.

  • Inbound

  • Is entry based on country of citizenship or residence (or where an individual has visited or transitted through)?

    Entry into South Africa for foreign nationals is based on where the traveller has spent the previous 10 days.   

    If the passport of a foreign national traveller from a high-risk country indicates that they have spent 10 days or more in a low-risk country before departure to South Arica, they will be considered to be arriving from a low-risk country and subject to the low-risk entry requirements. 

    South African citizens and permanent residents will always be allowed to return home, whether or not they are travelling from or through a high-risk country. 

  • What are the exceptions for travellers from high-risk countries and what is the process for entry?

    Exceptions will be made for individuals from high-risk countries who are business travellers, diplomats, repatriated persons, investors and people with scarce and critical skills or participating in professional sporting or cultural events.  

    Business travellers must apply, in writing, to the Minister of Home Affairs and demonstrate reasons for their request to enter South Africa. This application must be sent to [email protected]  and include: 

    1. a copy of passport and/or temporary residence visa; 
    1. proof of business activities to be undertaken in South Africa; 
    1. proof of travel itinerary; and 
    1. proof of address or accommodation in South Africa. 

    They will likewise be subject to the prescribed screening procedure and isolation or quarantine rules, depending on the circumstances. On arrival, they must present a valid certificate of a negative test obtained not more than 72 hours before the date of travel. Failure to present proof of a negative test will require the traveller to quarantine at their own cost. 

  • Are South Africans allowed to travel to and from high-risk countries?

    The regulations allow for South Africans to travel to any country for leisure or corporate.  

    The caveat to this is that they can only travel to countries that accept South Africans.  

    In travel, both source and destination have to give the green light. In this case, South Africa has given the green light, but you would need to look at each destination to see whether they will accept South Africans and under which conditions.  

  • What happens if travelling South Africans transit through a high-risk country on their return to South Africa?

    We know that airlines from high-risk countries are not necessarily banned and that South Africans will always be allowed to return home, whether or not they are travelling from or through a high-risk country.  

    ASATA is awaiting confirmation on this point, but transit through a high-risk country, where the traveller has not passed through immigration, is not likely to affect entry (for both South African citizens and foreign nationals). Restriction of travellers from high-risk countries is more likely to be based on where the traveller’s passport shows they have resided over the last 10 days.  

  • Do returning South Africans require travel insurance to re-enter South Africa from abroad?

    The government announcement on 30 September indicated that all travellers to South Africa are required to have travel insurance to cover the cost of COVID-19 testing and 10-day quarantine so that this burden does not fall on South African taxpayers.  

    The requirement applies to foreign national travellers and South Africans who do not have travel insurance with these covers will not be prohibited from entering the country. However, it is, of course, advisable for South Africans to take out comprehensive travel insurance when travelling abroad during these times. 

  • Terms& Conditions

  • Are suppliers changing their cancellation and booking policies?

    Each supplier (airline, tour operator, etc.) will have its own change and cancellation policies, and many are being more lenient when it comes to deposits or postponements. As a consumer, if you are in a position to postpone rather than cancel, you not only help the supplier and several players along the value chain, but you also keep something to look forward to and don’t have to compromise on your expectations.

    Be sure to read and understand all the terms and conditions of your ticket or booking upfront so that there are no surprises down the line.

  • Insurance

  • How do I pick a travel insurance policy?

    Be sure to check the requirements of your travel destinations as some, like South Africa and Brazil, are requiring that foreign national arrivals have COVID-19 travel insurance. For South African arrivals, it must cover the cost of any testing or quarantine. 

    Travel insurance policies will differ based on factors such as your age, the length of your trip, and what you want to be covered. A standard insurance policy may cover cancellation for events such as the sudden bankruptcy of a travel company, unexpected illness, or a natural disaster or unrest in the destination.  

    When looking for travel insurance that covers COVID-19-related events, consider the following: 

    • Travel medical: cover your expenses if you or a travel companion, such as your spouse or child, contract COVID-19 while travelling and require medical care or evacuation. 
    • Trip cancellation: cover any expenses incurred as a result of cancelling your trip prior to departure because you, or someone you care for, contracted COVID-19. 
    • Trip delay: cover any expenses incurred as a result of changing COVID-19 regulations e.g. travel bans. 

    Most travel insurances will not cover disinclination or fear to travel. The exception is ‘cancel for any reason’ (CFAR) insurance. This is usually available as an optional upgrade to a standard travel insurance plan and may cost up to 50% more than a standard plan. It typically needs to be purchased within one to three weeks from the time you booked your trip or made the initial deposit, and you must cancel your travel 48 hours prior to departure. Often available in two tiers, CFAR insurance can cover you for 50-75% of your total travel costs. However, CFAR is not yet a common insurance product in South Africa.  

    Know that there is no-size-fits-all travel insurance plan and each additional cover comes at a cost. Whichever you choose, be sure to read the full insurance contract before buying to check whether it covers specifics like quarantine, testing, and flight disruptions.  

  • What are the exceptions for travellers from high-risk countries and what is the process for entry?

    Level 1 FAQs

    General

  • Which international ports are open?

    Johannesburg’s OR Tambo, Durban’s King Shaka and Cape Town International Airports are the only airports that will allow international air travel to arrive or depart.

    All commercial seaports will be opened.

    The 35 land borders that were closed during the previous lockdown levels will remain closed.

    The 18 land borders which were partially operational during the previous lockdown levels will be fully operational (i.e. allow passage of South Africans and permitted foreign nationals). These include:

    COUNTRY PORT HOURS CONTACT
    Zimbabwe Beitbridge Bridge 24 hours Tel & Fax: (015) 530 0070
    Eswatini Oshoek 07:00 – 22:00 Tel: (017) 882 0138/9
    Fax: (017) 819 3481
    Eswatini Mahamba 07:00 – 22:00 Tel: (017) 826 0076
    Fax: 017) 826 0077
    Eswatini Mananga 07:00 – 18:00 Tel: (013) 790 7075
    Fax: (013) 790 0077
    Eswatini Golela 07:00 – 22:00 Tel: (034) 435 1070
    Fax: (034) 435 1048
    Eswatini Jeppes Reef 07:00 – 20:00 Tel: (013) 781 0382
    Fax: (013) 781 0383
    Namibia Nakop 24 hours Tel: (054) 571 0008 / 0077
    Fax: (054) 571 0009
    Namibia Vioolsdrift 24 hours Tel: (027) 761 8760
    Fax: (027) 761 8931
    Mozambique Lebombo 06:00 – 00:00 Tel: (013) 793 7311
    Fax: (013) 793 7091
    Lesotho Caledonspoort 06:00 – 22:00 Tel: (058) 223 8400
    Fax:( 058) 223 1012
    Lesotho Ficksburg Bridge 24 hours Tel:( 051) 933 2760
    Fax: (051) 933 4540
    Lesotho Maseru Bridge 24 hours Tel: (051) 924 4300
    Fax: (051) 924 4000
    Lesotho Quacha’s Nek 06:00 – 22:00 Tel: (039) 256 4391
    Fax: (051) 633 1099
    Lesotho Van Rooyens Gate 06:00 – 22:00 Tel: (051) 583 1525
    Fax: (051) 583 1530
    Botswana Groblersbrug 08:00 – 22:00 Tel: (014) 767 1019
    Fax: (014) 767 1264
    Botswana Kopfontein 06:00 – 24:00 Tel: (018) 365 9055
    Fax: (018) 365 9026
    Botswana Ramatlabama 06:00 – 22:00 Tel: (018) 390 2533
    Fax: (018) 393 0334
    Botswana Skilpadshek 06:00 – 24:00 Tel: (018) 366 0011
    Fax: (018) 366 0012

    Compiled from cross-referencing the list of all ports of entry with the list of closed ports

  • Where can I find a list of international embassies and consulates in South Africa?

    Should a foreign national require assistance in South Africa, a list of all foreign representation in South Africa is available on the Department of International Relations and Cooperation’s website. Diplomatic missions are listed alphabetically by country name.

  • Where can I find a list of South African embassies and consulates abroad?

    Should a South African or foreign national require assistance abroad (e.g. returning home, visa purposes, etc.), a list of all South African representation abroad is available on the Department of International Relations and Cooperation’s website. South African missions abroad are listed alphabetically by the country in which they are located. The individual websites for these embassies, high commissions and consulates abroad are also listed here.

  • Entry Requirements

  • Can an arrival self-quarantine upon entry rather than go to a quarantine facility?

    Returning South Africans who are unable to present a negative test result, or who display symptoms should be able to self-quarantine at home, provided they have access to: 

    • Separate bedroom with an on-suite bathroom and toilet that is not shared with another person. 
    • Prepared meals to be served in the room preferably in disposable utensils alternatively separated and washed properly. 
    • Support from friends or family that can facilitate the drop off of food and medicine at the gate if they are not able to make use of online shopping facilities and contactless deliveries. 
    • Access to a thermometer that will allow for the monitoring of temperature daily. 
    • Access to the internet either through my phone or computer to allow reporting symptoms daily. 
    • Access to a private physician that he or she can contact should he or she be in need of medical advice or care. 
    • No visitors are permitted to visit the quarantined person. 

    Foreign national arrivals may be permitted to self-quarantine at their accommodation, provided it meets the conditions above, but we are awaiting further clarification and confirmation on this point.  

    TBC IF THE APPLICATION FOR SELF-QUARANTINE IS STILL REQUIRED AND IF A FOREIGN NATIONAL CAN SELF-QUARANTINE

  • Is entry based on country of citizenship or residence (or where an individual has visited or transitted through)?

    Entry into South Africa for foreign nationals is based on where the traveller has spent the previous 10 days.   

    If the passport of a foreign national traveller from a high-risk country indicates that they have spent 10 days or more in a low-risk country before departure to South Arica, they will be considered to be arriving from a low-risk country and subject to the low-risk entry requirements. 

    South African citizens and permanent residents will always be allowed to return home, whether or not they are travelling from or through a high-risk country. 

  • What are the exceptions for travellers from high-risk countries and what is the process for entry?

    Exceptions will be made for individuals from high-risk countries who are business travellers, diplomats, repatriated persons, investors and people with scarce and critical skills or participating in professional sporting or cultural events.  

    Business travellers must apply, in writing, to the Minister of Home Affairs and demonstrate reasons for their request to enter South Africa. This application must be sent to [email protected]  and include: 

    1. a copy of passport and/or temporary residence visa; 
    1. proof of business activities to be undertaken in South Africa; 
    1. proof of travel itinerary; and 
    1. proof of address or accommodation in South Africa. 

    They will likewise be subject to the prescribed screening procedure and isolation or quarantine rules, depending on the circumstances. On arrival, they must present a valid certificate of a negative test obtained not more than 72 hours before the date of travel. Failure to present proof of a negative test will require the traveller to quarantine at their own cost. 

  • What are the requirements to enter South Africa?
    • All arrivals must present a valid certificate of a negative COVID-19 PCR test, obtained not more than 72 hours (3 days) from the time of departure from the country of origin to South Africa. The test must be conducted by a certified medical practitioner and the certificate must have the name and signature of the practitioner who conducted the test. 
    • Failure to present proof of a valid and negative test will require the traveller to quarantine at their own cost.  
    • All arrivals will be screened for any COVID-19 symptoms and/or for contact with people who have been infected with the COVID-19 virus.  
    • Should the traveller display any COVID-19–related symptoms or have been in contact with an infected person, they will be expected to take a mandatory COVID-19 test. This test will be at the traveller’s cost. If the COVID-19 test comes back positive, the traveller will be subjected to a 10-day quarantine at a designated site, at the traveller’s cost.  
    • All arrivals must provide proof of accommodation address should they need to self-quarantine at the time of arrival in the country, subject to the accommodation allowing for self-quarantine. 
    • All arrivals will be asked to download the COVID Alert South Africa mobile app. Information on the app can be found here
    • Foreign national arrivals from low- and medium-risk countries will be subject to the prevailing visa requirements. Our understanding of this is that the visa regime that was previously in place stands (e.g. if a 90-day waiver was in place before, it will be reinstated now if the traveller is coming from a low- or medium-risk country). Foreign national arrivals from high-risk countries may enter with an application in compliance with the exemptions laid out by government and then subject to the prevailing visa requirements. 
    • All foreign national arrivals must have travel insurance that covers the cost of any testing or quarantine. 
  • Which countries have been classified as high-risk? Are there different levels of risk and requirements?

    Which countries are allowed to come to South Africa? Are there different levels of risk and requirements?

    Based on the latest WHO criteria on infection and death rates, South Africa has developed a risk categorisation model for different international travellers. This model classifies international travellers according to a scale of high, medium and low risk.  

    High-risk travellers are those who come from countries with higher numbers of COVID-19 infections and reported deaths compared to South Africa. 

    Medium risk travellers are from countries with a relatively equal number of infections and death toll to South Africa. Low-risk travellers originate from countries with lesser number of infections of COVID-19 and death toll than South Africa.

    The list of countries and categorisation will be reviewed every two weeks and updated based on the latest WHO figures.

    Travellers (leisure, corporate and other) from the African continent as well as from medium- and low-risk countries will be allowed into the country subject to the entry requirements (i.e. screening, visas, testing, quarantine).

    Below is the list of countries currently considered high risk, and from which leisure travellers are not allowed:

    Albania ​​​

    Argentina

    Armenia

    Austria

    Bahrain

    Belgium

    Bolivia

    Bosnia and Herzegovina

    Brazil ​​​ ​​​​

    Chile

    ​​​Columbia

    Costa Rica

    Croatia 

    Czech Republic

    Denmark

    Ecuador

    France​​​

    Georgia ​

    Greece

    Guatemala ​

    Guyana​​​

    Honduras

    Hungary

    Iceland

    India

    Iran

    ​​​Iraq

    Ireland

    Israel

    Jamaica

    Jordan

    Kuwait

    Lebanon

    Luxemburg ​​

    Maldives

    Malta

    Mexico

    Moldova

    Montenegro ​​​

    Nepal ​​

    Netherlands 

    North Macedonia

    Oman

    Palestine

    Panama

    Paraguay

    Peru ​​​

    Portugal

    Puerto Rico

    Qatar

    Romania

    Russia

    Slovakia

    Suriname

    Switzerland

    Ukraine

    ​​​United Emirates

    United Kingdom              ​

    USA

    Venezuela

    Exceptions will be made for individuals from high-risk countries who are business travellers with scarce and critical skills, diplomats, repatriated persons, investors and people participating in professional sporting and cultural events.

    If the passport of the traveller from a high-risk country indicates that they have spent 10 days or more in a low-risk country before departure, they will be considered to be arriving from a low-risk country and subject to the low-risk entry requirements.

  • What test results are accepted? (e.g. antibody, viral)

    All arrivals to South Africa (South Africans and foreign nationals) must present a valid certificate of a negative COVID-19 PCR test, obtained not more than 72 hours (3 days) from the time of departure from the country of origin to South Africa. The test must be conducted by a certified medical practitioner and the certificate must have the name and signature of the practitioner who conducted the test. 

    Failure to present a valid and negative test result will require you to quarantine at your own cost, until which time a repeat test can be conducted. 

  • Outbound Requirements

  • What happens if the country in which I’m travelling suddenly moves from low-risk to high-risk?

    We know that airlines from high-risk countries are not necessarily banned and that South Africans will always be allowed to return home, whether or not they are travelling from or through a high-risk country.  

    ASATA is awaiting confirmation on this point, but transit through a high-risk country, where the traveller has not passed through immigration, is not likely to affect entry (for both South African citizens and foreign nationals). Restriction of travellers from high-risk countries is more likely to be based on where the traveller’s passport shows they have resided over the last 10 days. 

  • Which countries currently accept South African Travellers?

    This information will be constantly in flux as countries update entry requirements based on infection rates and reciprocity. The most reliable and up-to-date information will be found from the source (i.e. official government and consular websites). 

    • European Union 
    • United Kingdom 
    • United States 
    • Brazil: entry regulations lift on 29 July. All foreign national arrivals must have travel insurance with a minimum cover of BRL 30 000 (approximately ZAR 90 000). (IATA

    IATA’s COVID-19 Travel Regulations Map is also regularly updated with restrictions per country. However, it is still best to double check this information against what is available from official government sources as IATA cannot guarantee total accuracy given the ever-changing nature of the international response to COVID-19. 

    On borderdata.io you can check countries’ border status based on the borderdata.io method

    borderdata.io manually checks every country’s border status, and define if the border is open, closed or partially closed.

    Search if your preferred airport is open for citizens, tourist or only cargo. If your searched border is closed. Enable the push notifications to be notified of any changes.

  • Are South Africans allowed to travel to and from high-risk countries?

    The regulations allow for South Africans to travel to any country for leisure or corporate.  

    The caveat to this is that they can only travel to countries that accept South Africans.  

    In travel, both source and destination have to give the green light. In this case, South Africa has given the green light, but you would need to look at each destination to see whether they will accept South Africans and under which conditions.  

  • Do South African residents require a 72-hour COVID-19 test prior to departing South Africa?

    South African residents do not require a 72-hour COVID-19 test prior to departing South Africa. At the airport, they will be screened at the airport and anyone exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms will be prohibited from boarding. Departing South Africans should also bring with them a completed exit screening questionnaire

    Any additional requirements will be stipulated by the airline and/or country of destination. This information will be constantly in flux as countries update entry requirements based on infection rates and reciprocity. The most reliable and up-to-date information will be found from the source (i.e. official government and consular websites). 

    IATA’s COVID-19 Travel Regulations Map is also regularly updated with restrictions per country. However, it is still best to double-check this information against what is available from official government sources as IATA cannot guarantee total accuracy given the ever-changing nature of the international response to COVID-19. 

    Travellers should also be aware that testing may be conducted at some international airports.  

  • Where can I get tested in South Africa before I travel? How much does it cost and how quickly will I get the results?

    There are over 200 testing sites across South Africa. Pathcare, Lancet and Ampath all list their testing sites per province along with address, contact information and operating hours. The cost for a Covid-19 test in South Africa is R850 and results take 48-72 hours to process depending on patient priority.

  • Aviation

  • Will airlines be permitted to land in South Africa from high-risk countries?

    Airlines from high-risk countries are not necessarily banned, but their crew will be required to isolate in facilities at designated accommodation at the cost of their employer. 

    Passengers disembarking from flights originating from high-risk countries must be South Africans or in possession of a valid visa. And all arrivals must meet the entry requirements including a valid certificate of a negative COVID-19 PCR test. 

  • Are domestic airlines operating in South Africa?
    • Bram Fischer International Airport
    • Cape Town International Airport**
    • East London Airport
    • George Airport
    • Hoedspruit Airport
    • Kimberly Airport
    • King Shaka International Airport**
    • Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport
    • Lanseria International Airport
    • Margate Airport
    • Mthatha Airport
    • OR Tambo International Airport**
    • Phalaborwa Airport
    • Pietermaritzburg Airport
    • Plettenberg Bay Airport
    • Polokwane Airport
    • Port Elizabeth International Airport
    • Richards Bay Airport
    • Sishen Airport
    • Skukuza Airport
    • Upington International Airport

    Passengers should arrive at the airport at least two hours before a domestic flight to ensure enough time is allocated for screening and operational procedures. Until it is otherwise announced, only passengers are permitted inside the terminal buildings. Passengers with a temperature higher than 38 degrees will not be permitted to enter the airport. Masks must be worn and social distancing of 1,5 metres must be adhered to at all times in the airport.  

    **Additionally open to international air travel  

    Travellers should complete the following screening questionnaires from the Department of Health, to be submitted before all flights:  

  • Which airlines are operating flights to/from South Africa?

    Each airline will have its own threshold for flying to and from South Africa based on demand for seats—which need to be filled on both inbound and outbound legs. For this reason, we may see that not all airlines immediately begin flying to South Africa. Schedules may remain in flux for some time to come as countries, including South Africa, continuously update their list of permitted countries and entry requirements based on infection rates, which will have an impact demand.

    ASATA will update its website with airline information as and when it becomes available. 

    Specific ticket enquiries will need to be taken up with the respective airline.

  • Inbound

  • Is entry based on country of citizenship or residence (or where an individual has visited or transitted through)?

    Entry into South Africa for foreign nationals is based on where the traveller has spent the previous 10 days.   

    If the passport of a foreign national traveller from a high-risk country indicates that they have spent 10 days or more in a low-risk country before departure to South Arica, they will be considered to be arriving from a low-risk country and subject to the low-risk entry requirements. 

    South African citizens and permanent residents will always be allowed to return home, whether or not they are travelling from or through a high-risk country. 

  • What are the exceptions for travellers from high-risk countries and what is the process for entry?

    Exceptions will be made for individuals from high-risk countries who are business travellers, diplomats, repatriated persons, investors and people with scarce and critical skills or participating in professional sporting or cultural events.  

    Business travellers must apply, in writing, to the Minister of Home Affairs and demonstrate reasons for their request to enter South Africa. This application must be sent to [email protected]  and include: 

    1. a copy of passport and/or temporary residence visa; 
    1. proof of business activities to be undertaken in South Africa; 
    1. proof of travel itinerary; and 
    1. proof of address or accommodation in South Africa. 

    They will likewise be subject to the prescribed screening procedure and isolation or quarantine rules, depending on the circumstances. On arrival, they must present a valid certificate of a negative test obtained not more than 72 hours before the date of travel. Failure to present proof of a negative test will require the traveller to quarantine at their own cost. 

  • Are South Africans allowed to travel to and from high-risk countries?

    The regulations allow for South Africans to travel to any country for leisure or corporate.  

    The caveat to this is that they can only travel to countries that accept South Africans.  

    In travel, both source and destination have to give the green light. In this case, South Africa has given the green light, but you would need to look at each destination to see whether they will accept South Africans and under which conditions.  

  • What happens if travelling South Africans transit through a high-risk country on their return to South Africa?

    We know that airlines from high-risk countries are not necessarily banned and that South Africans will always be allowed to return home, whether or not they are travelling from or through a high-risk country.  

    ASATA is awaiting confirmation on this point, but transit through a high-risk country, where the traveller has not passed through immigration, is not likely to affect entry (for both South African citizens and foreign nationals). Restriction of travellers from high-risk countries is more likely to be based on where the traveller’s passport shows they have resided over the last 10 days.  

  • Do returning South Africans require travel insurance to re-enter South Africa from abroad?

    The government announcement on 30 September indicated that all travellers to South Africa are required to have travel insurance to cover the cost of COVID-19 testing and 10-day quarantine so that this burden does not fall on South African taxpayers.  

    The requirement applies to foreign national travellers and South Africans who do not have travel insurance with these covers will not be prohibited from entering the country. However, it is, of course, advisable for South Africans to take out comprehensive travel insurance when travelling abroad during these times. 

  • Terms& Conditions

  • Are suppliers changing their cancellation and booking policies?

    Each supplier (airline, tour operator, etc.) will have its own change and cancellation policies, and many are being more lenient when it comes to deposits or postponements. As a consumer, if you are in a position to postpone rather than cancel, you not only help the supplier and several players along the value chain, but you also keep something to look forward to and don’t have to compromise on your expectations.

    Be sure to read and understand all the terms and conditions of your ticket or booking upfront so that there are no surprises down the line.

  • Insurance

  • How do I pick a travel insurance policy?

    Be sure to check the requirements of your travel destinations as some, like South Africa and Brazil, are requiring that foreign national arrivals have COVID-19 travel insurance. For South African arrivals, it must cover the cost of any testing or quarantine. 

    Travel insurance policies will differ based on factors such as your age, the length of your trip, and what you want to be covered. A standard insurance policy may cover cancellation for events such as the sudden bankruptcy of a travel company, unexpected illness, or a natural disaster or unrest in the destination.  

    When looking for travel insurance that covers COVID-19-related events, consider the following: 

    • Travel medical: cover your expenses if you or a travel companion, such as your spouse or child, contract COVID-19 while travelling and require medical care or evacuation. 
    • Trip cancellation: cover any expenses incurred as a result of cancelling your trip prior to departure because you, or someone you care for, contracted COVID-19. 
    • Trip delay: cover any expenses incurred as a result of changing COVID-19 regulations e.g. travel bans. 

    Most travel insurances will not cover disinclination or fear to travel. The exception is ‘cancel for any reason’ (CFAR) insurance. This is usually available as an optional upgrade to a standard travel insurance plan and may cost up to 50% more than a standard plan. It typically needs to be purchased within one to three weeks from the time you booked your trip or made the initial deposit, and you must cancel your travel 48 hours prior to departure. Often available in two tiers, CFAR insurance can cover you for 50-75% of your total travel costs. However, CFAR is not yet a common insurance product in South Africa.  

    Know that there is no-size-fits-all travel insurance plan and each additional cover comes at a cost. Whichever you choose, be sure to read the full insurance contract before buying to check whether it covers specifics like quarantine, testing, and flight disruptions.  

  • What are the requirements to enter South Africa?

    Level 1 FAQs

    General

  • Which international ports are open?

    Johannesburg’s OR Tambo, Durban’s King Shaka and Cape Town International Airports are the only airports that will allow international air travel to arrive or depart.

    All commercial seaports will be opened.

    The 35 land borders that were closed during the previous lockdown levels will remain closed.

    The 18 land borders which were partially operational during the previous lockdown levels will be fully operational (i.e. allow passage of South Africans and permitted foreign nationals). These include:

    COUNTRY PORT HOURS CONTACT
    Zimbabwe Beitbridge Bridge 24 hours Tel & Fax: (015) 530 0070
    Eswatini Oshoek 07:00 – 22:00 Tel: (017) 882 0138/9
    Fax: (017) 819 3481
    Eswatini Mahamba 07:00 – 22:00 Tel: (017) 826 0076
    Fax: 017) 826 0077
    Eswatini Mananga 07:00 – 18:00 Tel: (013) 790 7075
    Fax: (013) 790 0077
    Eswatini Golela 07:00 – 22:00 Tel: (034) 435 1070
    Fax: (034) 435 1048
    Eswatini Jeppes Reef 07:00 – 20:00 Tel: (013) 781 0382
    Fax: (013) 781 0383
    Namibia Nakop 24 hours Tel: (054) 571 0008 / 0077
    Fax: (054) 571 0009
    Namibia Vioolsdrift 24 hours Tel: (027) 761 8760
    Fax: (027) 761 8931
    Mozambique Lebombo 06:00 – 00:00 Tel: (013) 793 7311
    Fax: (013) 793 7091
    Lesotho Caledonspoort 06:00 – 22:00 Tel: (058) 223 8400
    Fax:( 058) 223 1012
    Lesotho Ficksburg Bridge 24 hours Tel:( 051) 933 2760
    Fax: (051) 933 4540
    Lesotho Maseru Bridge 24 hours Tel: (051) 924 4300
    Fax: (051) 924 4000
    Lesotho Quacha’s Nek 06:00 – 22:00 Tel: (039) 256 4391
    Fax: (051) 633 1099
    Lesotho Van Rooyens Gate 06:00 – 22:00 Tel: (051) 583 1525
    Fax: (051) 583 1530
    Botswana Groblersbrug 08:00 – 22:00 Tel: (014) 767 1019
    Fax: (014) 767 1264
    Botswana Kopfontein 06:00 – 24:00 Tel: (018) 365 9055
    Fax: (018) 365 9026
    Botswana Ramatlabama 06:00 – 22:00 Tel: (018) 390 2533
    Fax: (018) 393 0334
    Botswana Skilpadshek 06:00 – 24:00 Tel: (018) 366 0011
    Fax: (018) 366 0012

    Compiled from cross-referencing the list of all ports of entry with the list of closed ports

  • Where can I find a list of international embassies and consulates in South Africa?

    Should a foreign national require assistance in South Africa, a list of all foreign representation in South Africa is available on the Department of International Relations and Cooperation’s website. Diplomatic missions are listed alphabetically by country name.

  • Where can I find a list of South African embassies and consulates abroad?

    Should a South African or foreign national require assistance abroad (e.g. returning home, visa purposes, etc.), a list of all South African representation abroad is available on the Department of International Relations and Cooperation’s website. South African missions abroad are listed alphabetically by the country in which they are located. The individual websites for these embassies, high commissions and consulates abroad are also listed here.

  • Entry Requirements

  • Can an arrival self-quarantine upon entry rather than go to a quarantine facility?

    Returning South Africans who are unable to present a negative test result, or who display symptoms should be able to self-quarantine at home, provided they have access to: 

    • Separate bedroom with an on-suite bathroom and toilet that is not shared with another person. 
    • Prepared meals to be served in the room preferably in disposable utensils alternatively separated and washed properly. 
    • Support from friends or family that can facilitate the drop off of food and medicine at the gate if they are not able to make use of online shopping facilities and contactless deliveries. 
    • Access to a thermometer that will allow for the monitoring of temperature daily. 
    • Access to the internet either through my phone or computer to allow reporting symptoms daily. 
    • Access to a private physician that he or she can contact should he or she be in need of medical advice or care. 
    • No visitors are permitted to visit the quarantined person. 

    Foreign national arrivals may be permitted to self-quarantine at their accommodation, provided it meets the conditions above, but we are awaiting further clarification and confirmation on this point.  

    TBC IF THE APPLICATION FOR SELF-QUARANTINE IS STILL REQUIRED AND IF A FOREIGN NATIONAL CAN SELF-QUARANTINE

  • Is entry based on country of citizenship or residence (or where an individual has visited or transitted through)?

    Entry into South Africa for foreign nationals is based on where the traveller has spent the previous 10 days.   

    If the passport of a foreign national traveller from a high-risk country indicates that they have spent 10 days or more in a low-risk country before departure to South Arica, they will be considered to be arriving from a low-risk country and subject to the low-risk entry requirements. 

    South African citizens and permanent residents will always be allowed to return home, whether or not they are travelling from or through a high-risk country. 

  • What are the exceptions for travellers from high-risk countries and what is the process for entry?

    Exceptions will be made for individuals from high-risk countries who are business travellers, diplomats, repatriated persons, investors and people with scarce and critical skills or participating in professional sporting or cultural events.  

    Business travellers must apply, in writing, to the Minister of Home Affairs and demonstrate reasons for their request to enter South Africa. This application must be sent to [email protected]  and include: 

    1. a copy of passport and/or temporary residence visa; 
    1. proof of business activities to be undertaken in South Africa; 
    1. proof of travel itinerary; and 
    1. proof of address or accommodation in South Africa. 

    They will likewise be subject to the prescribed screening procedure and isolation or quarantine rules, depending on the circumstances. On arrival, they must present a valid certificate of a negative test obtained not more than 72 hours before the date of travel. Failure to present proof of a negative test will require the traveller to quarantine at their own cost. 

  • What are the requirements to enter South Africa?
    • All arrivals must present a valid certificate of a negative COVID-19 PCR test, obtained not more than 72 hours (3 days) from the time of departure from the country of origin to South Africa. The test must be conducted by a certified medical practitioner and the certificate must have the name and signature of the practitioner who conducted the test. 
    • Failure to present proof of a valid and negative test will require the traveller to quarantine at their own cost.  
    • All arrivals will be screened for any COVID-19 symptoms and/or for contact with people who have been infected with the COVID-19 virus.  
    • Should the traveller display any COVID-19–related symptoms or have been in contact with an infected person, they will be expected to take a mandatory COVID-19 test. This test will be at the traveller’s cost. If the COVID-19 test comes back positive, the traveller will be subjected to a 10-day quarantine at a designated site, at the traveller’s cost.  
    • All arrivals must provide proof of accommodation address should they need to self-quarantine at the time of arrival in the country, subject to the accommodation allowing for self-quarantine. 
    • All arrivals will be asked to download the COVID Alert South Africa mobile app. Information on the app can be found here
    • Foreign national arrivals from low- and medium-risk countries will be subject to the prevailing visa requirements. Our understanding of this is that the visa regime that was previously in place stands (e.g. if a 90-day waiver was in place before, it will be reinstated now if the traveller is coming from a low- or medium-risk country). Foreign national arrivals from high-risk countries may enter with an application in compliance with the exemptions laid out by government and then subject to the prevailing visa requirements. 
    • All foreign national arrivals must have travel insurance that covers the cost of any testing or quarantine. 
  • Which countries have been classified as high-risk? Are there different levels of risk and requirements?

    Which countries are allowed to come to South Africa? Are there different levels of risk and requirements?

    Based on the latest WHO criteria on infection and death rates, South Africa has developed a risk categorisation model for different international travellers. This model classifies international travellers according to a scale of high, medium and low risk.  

    High-risk travellers are those who come from countries with higher numbers of COVID-19 infections and reported deaths compared to South Africa. 

    Medium risk travellers are from countries with a relatively equal number of infections and death toll to South Africa. Low-risk travellers originate from countries with lesser number of infections of COVID-19 and death toll than South Africa.

    The list of countries and categorisation will be reviewed every two weeks and updated based on the latest WHO figures.

    Travellers (leisure, corporate and other) from the African continent as well as from medium- and low-risk countries will be allowed into the country subject to the entry requirements (i.e. screening, visas, testing, quarantine).

    Below is the list of countries currently considered high risk, and from which leisure travellers are not allowed:

    Albania ​​​

    Argentina

    Armenia

    Austria

    Bahrain

    Belgium

    Bolivia

    Bosnia and Herzegovina

    Brazil ​​​ ​​​​

    Chile

    ​​​Columbia

    Costa Rica

    Croatia 

    Czech Republic

    Denmark

    Ecuador

    France​​​

    Georgia ​

    Greece

    Guatemala ​

    Guyana​​​

    Honduras

    Hungary

    Iceland

    India

    Iran

    ​​​Iraq

    Ireland

    Israel

    Jamaica

    Jordan

    Kuwait

    Lebanon

    Luxemburg ​​

    Maldives

    Malta

    Mexico

    Moldova

    Montenegro ​​​

    Nepal ​​

    Netherlands 

    North Macedonia

    Oman

    Palestine

    Panama

    Paraguay

    Peru ​​​

    Portugal

    Puerto Rico

    Qatar

    Romania

    Russia

    Slovakia

    Suriname

    Switzerland

    Ukraine

    ​​​United Emirates

    United Kingdom              ​

    USA

    Venezuela

    Exceptions will be made for individuals from high-risk countries who are business travellers with scarce and critical skills, diplomats, repatriated persons, investors and people participating in professional sporting and cultural events.

    If the passport of the traveller from a high-risk country indicates that they have spent 10 days or more in a low-risk country before departure, they will be considered to be arriving from a low-risk country and subject to the low-risk entry requirements.

  • What test results are accepted? (e.g. antibody, viral)

    All arrivals to South Africa (South Africans and foreign nationals) must present a valid certificate of a negative COVID-19 PCR test, obtained not more than 72 hours (3 days) from the time of departure from the country of origin to South Africa. The test must be conducted by a certified medical practitioner and the certificate must have the name and signature of the practitioner who conducted the test. 

    Failure to present a valid and negative test result will require you to quarantine at your own cost, until which time a repeat test can be conducted. 

  • Outbound Requirements

  • What happens if the country in which I’m travelling suddenly moves from low-risk to high-risk?

    We know that airlines from high-risk countries are not necessarily banned and that South Africans will always be allowed to return home, whether or not they are travelling from or through a high-risk country.  

    ASATA is awaiting confirmation on this point, but transit through a high-risk country, where the traveller has not passed through immigration, is not likely to affect entry (for both South African citizens and foreign nationals). Restriction of travellers from high-risk countries is more likely to be based on where the traveller’s passport shows they have resided over the last 10 days. 

  • Which countries currently accept South African Travellers?

    This information will be constantly in flux as countries update entry requirements based on infection rates and reciprocity. The most reliable and up-to-date information will be found from the source (i.e. official government and consular websites). 

    • European Union 
    • United Kingdom 
    • United States 
    • Brazil: entry regulations lift on 29 July. All foreign national arrivals must have travel insurance with a minimum cover of BRL 30 000 (approximately ZAR 90 000). (IATA

    IATA’s COVID-19 Travel Regulations Map is also regularly updated with restrictions per country. However, it is still best to double check this information against what is available from official government sources as IATA cannot guarantee total accuracy given the ever-changing nature of the international response to COVID-19. 

    On borderdata.io you can check countries’ border status based on the borderdata.io method

    borderdata.io manually checks every country’s border status, and define if the border is open, closed or partially closed.

    Search if your preferred airport is open for citizens, tourist or only cargo. If your searched border is closed. Enable the push notifications to be notified of any changes.

  • Are South Africans allowed to travel to and from high-risk countries?

    The regulations allow for South Africans to travel to any country for leisure or corporate.  

    The caveat to this is that they can only travel to countries that accept South Africans.  

    In travel, both source and destination have to give the green light. In this case, South Africa has given the green light, but you would need to look at each destination to see whether they will accept South Africans and under which conditions.  

  • Do South African residents require a 72-hour COVID-19 test prior to departing South Africa?

    South African residents do not require a 72-hour COVID-19 test prior to departing South Africa. At the airport, they will be screened at the airport and anyone exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms will be prohibited from boarding. Departing South Africans should also bring with them a completed exit screening questionnaire

    Any additional requirements will be stipulated by the airline and/or country of destination. This information will be constantly in flux as countries update entry requirements based on infection rates and reciprocity. The most reliable and up-to-date information will be found from the source (i.e. official government and consular websites). 

    IATA’s COVID-19 Travel Regulations Map is also regularly updated with restrictions per country. However, it is still best to double-check this information against what is available from official government sources as IATA cannot guarantee total accuracy given the ever-changing nature of the international response to COVID-19. 

    Travellers should also be aware that testing may be conducted at some international airports.  

  • Where can I get tested in South Africa before I travel? How much does it cost and how quickly will I get the results?

    There are over 200 testing sites across South Africa. Pathcare, Lancet and Ampath all list their testing sites per province along with address, contact information and operating hours. The cost for a Covid-19 test in South Africa is R850 and results take 48-72 hours to process depending on patient priority.

  • Aviation

  • Will airlines be permitted to land in South Africa from high-risk countries?

    Airlines from high-risk countries are not necessarily banned, but their crew will be required to isolate in facilities at designated accommodation at the cost of their employer. 

    Passengers disembarking from flights originating from high-risk countries must be South Africans or in possession of a valid visa. And all arrivals must meet the entry requirements including a valid certificate of a negative COVID-19 PCR test. 

  • Are domestic airlines operating in South Africa?
    • Bram Fischer International Airport
    • Cape Town International Airport**
    • East London Airport
    • George Airport
    • Hoedspruit Airport
    • Kimberly Airport
    • King Shaka International Airport**
    • Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport
    • Lanseria International Airport
    • Margate Airport
    • Mthatha Airport
    • OR Tambo International Airport**
    • Phalaborwa Airport
    • Pietermaritzburg Airport
    • Plettenberg Bay Airport
    • Polokwane Airport
    • Port Elizabeth International Airport
    • Richards Bay Airport
    • Sishen Airport
    • Skukuza Airport
    • Upington International Airport

    Passengers should arrive at the airport at least two hours before a domestic flight to ensure enough time is allocated for screening and operational procedures. Until it is otherwise announced, only passengers are permitted inside the terminal buildings. Passengers with a temperature higher than 38 degrees will not be permitted to enter the airport. Masks must be worn and social distancing of 1,5 metres must be adhered to at all times in the airport.  

    **Additionally open to international air travel  

    Travellers should complete the following screening questionnaires from the Department of Health, to be submitted before all flights:  

  • Which airlines are operating flights to/from South Africa?

    Each airline will have its own threshold for flying to and from South Africa based on demand for seats—which need to be filled on both inbound and outbound legs. For this reason, we may see that not all airlines immediately begin flying to South Africa. Schedules may remain in flux for some time to come as countries, including South Africa, continuously update their list of permitted countries and entry requirements based on infection rates, which will have an impact demand.

    ASATA will update its website with airline information as and when it becomes available. 

    Specific ticket enquiries will need to be taken up with the respective airline.

  • Inbound

  • Is entry based on country of citizenship or residence (or where an individual has visited or transitted through)?

    Entry into South Africa for foreign nationals is based on where the traveller has spent the previous 10 days.   

    If the passport of a foreign national traveller from a high-risk country indicates that they have spent 10 days or more in a low-risk country before departure to South Arica, they will be considered to be arriving from a low-risk country and subject to the low-risk entry requirements. 

    South African citizens and permanent residents will always be allowed to return home, whether or not they are travelling from or through a high-risk country. 

  • What are the exceptions for travellers from high-risk countries and what is the process for entry?

    Exceptions will be made for individuals from high-risk countries who are business travellers, diplomats, repatriated persons, investors and people with scarce and critical skills or participating in professional sporting or cultural events.  

    Business travellers must apply, in writing, to the Minister of Home Affairs and demonstrate reasons for their request to enter South Africa. This application must be sent to [email protected]  and include: 

    1. a copy of passport and/or temporary residence visa; 
    1. proof of business activities to be undertaken in South Africa; 
    1. proof of travel itinerary; and 
    1. proof of address or accommodation in South Africa. 

    They will likewise be subject to the prescribed screening procedure and isolation or quarantine rules, depending on the circumstances. On arrival, they must present a valid certificate of a negative test obtained not more than 72 hours before the date of travel. Failure to present proof of a negative test will require the traveller to quarantine at their own cost. 

  • Are South Africans allowed to travel to and from high-risk countries?

    The regulations allow for South Africans to travel to any country for leisure or corporate.  

    The caveat to this is that they can only travel to countries that accept South Africans.  

    In travel, both source and destination have to give the green light. In this case, South Africa has given the green light, but you would need to look at each destination to see whether they will accept South Africans and under which conditions.  

  • What happens if travelling South Africans transit through a high-risk country on their return to South Africa?

    We know that airlines from high-risk countries are not necessarily banned and that South Africans will always be allowed to return home, whether or not they are travelling from or through a high-risk country.  

    ASATA is awaiting confirmation on this point, but transit through a high-risk country, where the traveller has not passed through immigration, is not likely to affect entry (for both South African citizens and foreign nationals). Restriction of travellers from high-risk countries is more likely to be based on where the traveller’s passport shows they have resided over the last 10 days.  

  • Do returning South Africans require travel insurance to re-enter South Africa from abroad?

    The government announcement on 30 September indicated that all travellers to South Africa are required to have travel insurance to cover the cost of COVID-19 testing and 10-day quarantine so that this burden does not fall on South African taxpayers.  

    The requirement applies to foreign national travellers and South Africans who do not have travel insurance with these covers will not be prohibited from entering the country. However, it is, of course, advisable for South Africans to take out comprehensive travel insurance when travelling abroad during these times. 

  • Terms& Conditions

  • Are suppliers changing their cancellation and booking policies?

    Each supplier (airline, tour operator, etc.) will have its own change and cancellation policies, and many are being more lenient when it comes to deposits or postponements. As a consumer, if you are in a position to postpone rather than cancel, you not only help the supplier and several players along the value chain, but you also keep something to look forward to and don’t have to compromise on your expectations.

    Be sure to read and understand all the terms and conditions of your ticket or booking upfront so that there are no surprises down the line.

  • Insurance

  • How do I pick a travel insurance policy?

    Be sure to check the requirements of your travel destinations as some, like South Africa and Brazil, are requiring that foreign national arrivals have COVID-19 travel insurance. For South African arrivals, it must cover the cost of any testing or quarantine. 

    Travel insurance policies will differ based on factors such as your age, the length of your trip, and what you want to be covered. A standard insurance policy may cover cancellation for events such as the sudden bankruptcy of a travel company, unexpected illness, or a natural disaster or unrest in the destination.  

    When looking for travel insurance that covers COVID-19-related events, consider the following: 

    • Travel medical: cover your expenses if you or a travel companion, such as your spouse or child, contract COVID-19 while travelling and require medical care or evacuation. 
    • Trip cancellation: cover any expenses incurred as a result of cancelling your trip prior to departure because you, or someone you care for, contracted COVID-19. 
    • Trip delay: cover any expenses incurred as a result of changing COVID-19 regulations e.g. travel bans. 

    Most travel insurances will not cover disinclination or fear to travel. The exception is ‘cancel for any reason’ (CFAR) insurance. This is usually available as an optional upgrade to a standard travel insurance plan and may cost up to 50% more than a standard plan. It typically needs to be purchased within one to three weeks from the time you booked your trip or made the initial deposit, and you must cancel your travel 48 hours prior to departure. Often available in two tiers, CFAR insurance can cover you for 50-75% of your total travel costs. However, CFAR is not yet a common insurance product in South Africa.  

    Know that there is no-size-fits-all travel insurance plan and each additional cover comes at a cost. Whichever you choose, be sure to read the full insurance contract before buying to check whether it covers specifics like quarantine, testing, and flight disruptions.  

  • Which countries have been classified as high-risk? Are there different levels of risk and requirements?

    Level 1 FAQs

    General

  • Which international ports are open?

    Johannesburg’s OR Tambo, Durban’s King Shaka and Cape Town International Airports are the only airports that will allow international air travel to arrive or depart.

    All commercial seaports will be opened.

    The 35 land borders that were closed during the previous lockdown levels will remain closed.

    The 18 land borders which were partially operational during the previous lockdown levels will be fully operational (i.e. allow passage of South Africans and permitted foreign nationals). These include:

    COUNTRY PORT HOURS CONTACT
    Zimbabwe Beitbridge Bridge 24 hours Tel & Fax: (015) 530 0070
    Eswatini Oshoek 07:00 – 22:00 Tel: (017) 882 0138/9
    Fax: (017) 819 3481
    Eswatini Mahamba 07:00 – 22:00 Tel: (017) 826 0076
    Fax: 017) 826 0077
    Eswatini Mananga 07:00 – 18:00 Tel: (013) 790 7075
    Fax: (013) 790 0077
    Eswatini Golela 07:00 – 22:00 Tel: (034) 435 1070
    Fax: (034) 435 1048
    Eswatini Jeppes Reef 07:00 – 20:00 Tel: (013) 781 0382
    Fax: (013) 781 0383
    Namibia Nakop 24 hours Tel: (054) 571 0008 / 0077
    Fax: (054) 571 0009
    Namibia Vioolsdrift 24 hours Tel: (027) 761 8760
    Fax: (027) 761 8931
    Mozambique Lebombo 06:00 – 00:00 Tel: (013) 793 7311
    Fax: (013) 793 7091
    Lesotho Caledonspoort 06:00 – 22:00 Tel: (058) 223 8400
    Fax:( 058) 223 1012
    Lesotho Ficksburg Bridge 24 hours Tel:( 051) 933 2760
    Fax: (051) 933 4540
    Lesotho Maseru Bridge 24 hours Tel: (051) 924 4300
    Fax: (051) 924 4000
    Lesotho Quacha’s Nek 06:00 – 22:00 Tel: (039) 256 4391
    Fax: (051) 633 1099
    Lesotho Van Rooyens Gate 06:00 – 22:00 Tel: (051) 583 1525
    Fax: (051) 583 1530
    Botswana Groblersbrug 08:00 – 22:00 Tel: (014) 767 1019
    Fax: (014) 767 1264
    Botswana Kopfontein 06:00 – 24:00 Tel: (018) 365 9055
    Fax: (018) 365 9026
    Botswana Ramatlabama 06:00 – 22:00 Tel: (018) 390 2533
    Fax: (018) 393 0334
    Botswana Skilpadshek 06:00 – 24:00 Tel: (018) 366 0011
    Fax: (018) 366 0012

    Compiled from cross-referencing the list of all ports of entry with the list of closed ports

  • Where can I find a list of international embassies and consulates in South Africa?

    Should a foreign national require assistance in South Africa, a list of all foreign representation in South Africa is available on the Department of International Relations and Cooperation’s website. Diplomatic missions are listed alphabetically by country name.

  • Where can I find a list of South African embassies and consulates abroad?

    Should a South African or foreign national require assistance abroad (e.g. returning home, visa purposes, etc.), a list of all South African representation abroad is available on the Department of International Relations and Cooperation’s website. South African missions abroad are listed alphabetically by the country in which they are located. The individual websites for these embassies, high commissions and consulates abroad are also listed here.

  • Entry Requirements

  • Can an arrival self-quarantine upon entry rather than go to a quarantine facility?

    Returning South Africans who are unable to present a negative test result, or who display symptoms should be able to self-quarantine at home, provided they have access to: 

    • Separate bedroom with an on-suite bathroom and toilet that is not shared with another person. 
    • Prepared meals to be served in the room preferably in disposable utensils alternatively separated and washed properly. 
    • Support from friends or family that can facilitate the drop off of food and medicine at the gate if they are not able to make use of online shopping facilities and contactless deliveries. 
    • Access to a thermometer that will allow for the monitoring of temperature daily. 
    • Access to the internet either through my phone or computer to allow reporting symptoms daily. 
    • Access to a private physician that he or she can contact should he or she be in need of medical advice or care. 
    • No visitors are permitted to visit the quarantined person. 

    Foreign national arrivals may be permitted to self-quarantine at their accommodation, provided it meets the conditions above, but we are awaiting further clarification and confirmation on this point.  

    TBC IF THE APPLICATION FOR SELF-QUARANTINE IS STILL REQUIRED AND IF A FOREIGN NATIONAL CAN SELF-QUARANTINE

  • Is entry based on country of citizenship or residence (or where an individual has visited or transitted through)?

    Entry into South Africa for foreign nationals is based on where the traveller has spent the previous 10 days.   

    If the passport of a foreign national traveller from a high-risk country indicates that they have spent 10 days or more in a low-risk country before departure to South Arica, they will be considered to be arriving from a low-risk country and subject to the low-risk entry requirements. 

    South African citizens and permanent residents will always be allowed to return home, whether or not they are travelling from or through a high-risk country. 

  • What are the exceptions for travellers from high-risk countries and what is the process for entry?

    Exceptions will be made for individuals from high-risk countries who are business travellers, diplomats, repatriated persons, investors and people with scarce and critical skills or participating in professional sporting or cultural events.  

    Business travellers must apply, in writing, to the Minister of Home Affairs and demonstrate reasons for their request to enter South Africa. This application must be sent to [email protected]  and include: 

    1. a copy of passport and/or temporary residence visa; 
    1. proof of business activities to be undertaken in South Africa; 
    1. proof of travel itinerary; and 
    1. proof of address or accommodation in South Africa. 

    They will likewise be subject to the prescribed screening procedure and isolation or quarantine rules, depending on the circumstances. On arrival, they must present a valid certificate of a negative test obtained not more than 72 hours before the date of travel. Failure to present proof of a negative test will require the traveller to quarantine at their own cost. 

  • What are the requirements to enter South Africa?
    • All arrivals must present a valid certificate of a negative COVID-19 PCR test, obtained not more than 72 hours (3 days) from the time of departure from the country of origin to South Africa. The test must be conducted by a certified medical practitioner and the certificate must have the name and signature of the practitioner who conducted the test. 
    • Failure to present proof of a valid and negative test will require the traveller to quarantine at their own cost.  
    • All arrivals will be screened for any COVID-19 symptoms and/or for contact with people who have been infected with the COVID-19 virus.  
    • Should the traveller display any COVID-19–related symptoms or have been in contact with an infected person, they will be expected to take a mandatory COVID-19 test. This test will be at the traveller’s cost. If the COVID-19 test comes back positive, the traveller will be subjected to a 10-day quarantine at a designated site, at the traveller’s cost.  
    • All arrivals must provide proof of accommodation address should they need to self-quarantine at the time of arrival in the country, subject to the accommodation allowing for self-quarantine. 
    • All arrivals will be asked to download the COVID Alert South Africa mobile app. Information on the app can be found here
    • Foreign national arrivals from low- and medium-risk countries will be subject to the prevailing visa requirements. Our understanding of this is that the visa regime that was previously in place stands (e.g. if a 90-day waiver was in place before, it will be reinstated now if the traveller is coming from a low- or medium-risk country). Foreign national arrivals from high-risk countries may enter with an application in compliance with the exemptions laid out by government and then subject to the prevailing visa requirements. 
    • All foreign national arrivals must have travel insurance that covers the cost of any testing or quarantine. 
  • Which countries have been classified as high-risk? Are there different levels of risk and requirements?

    Which countries are allowed to come to South Africa? Are there different levels of risk and requirements?

    Based on the latest WHO criteria on infection and death rates, South Africa has developed a risk categorisation model for different international travellers. This model classifies international travellers according to a scale of high, medium and low risk.  

    High-risk travellers are those who come from countries with higher numbers of COVID-19 infections and reported deaths compared to South Africa. 

    Medium risk travellers are from countries with a relatively equal number of infections and death toll to South Africa. Low-risk travellers originate from countries with lesser number of infections of COVID-19 and death toll than South Africa.

    The list of countries and categorisation will be reviewed every two weeks and updated based on the latest WHO figures.

    Travellers (leisure, corporate and other) from the African continent as well as from medium- and low-risk countries will be allowed into the country subject to the entry requirements (i.e. screening, visas, testing, quarantine).

    Below is the list of countries currently considered high risk, and from which leisure travellers are not allowed:

    Albania ​​​

    Argentina

    Armenia

    Austria

    Bahrain

    Belgium

    Bolivia

    Bosnia and Herzegovina

    Brazil ​​​ ​​​​

    Chile

    ​​​Columbia

    Costa Rica

    Croatia 

    Czech Republic

    Denmark

    Ecuador

    France​​​

    Georgia ​

    Greece

    Guatemala ​

    Guyana​​​

    Honduras

    Hungary

    Iceland

    India

    Iran

    ​​​Iraq

    Ireland

    Israel

    Jamaica

    Jordan

    Kuwait

    Lebanon

    Luxemburg ​​

    Maldives

    Malta

    Mexico

    Moldova

    Montenegro ​​​

    Nepal ​​

    Netherlands 

    North Macedonia

    Oman

    Palestine

    Panama

    Paraguay

    Peru ​​​

    Portugal

    Puerto Rico

    Qatar

    Romania

    Russia

    Slovakia

    Suriname

    Switzerland

    Ukraine

    ​​​United Emirates

    United Kingdom              ​

    USA

    Venezuela

    Exceptions will be made for individuals from high-risk countries who are business travellers with scarce and critical skills, diplomats, repatriated persons, investors and people participating in professional sporting and cultural events.

    If the passport of the traveller from a high-risk country indicates that they have spent 10 days or more in a low-risk country before departure, they will be considered to be arriving from a low-risk country and subject to the low-risk entry requirements.

  • What test results are accepted? (e.g. antibody, viral)

    All arrivals to South Africa (South Africans and foreign nationals) must present a valid certificate of a negative COVID-19 PCR test, obtained not more than 72 hours (3 days) from the time of departure from the country of origin to South Africa. The test must be conducted by a certified medical practitioner and the certificate must have the name and signature of the practitioner who conducted the test. 

    Failure to present a valid and negative test result will require you to quarantine at your own cost, until which time a repeat test can be conducted. 

  • Outbound Requirements

  • What happens if the country in which I’m travelling suddenly moves from low-risk to high-risk?

    We know that airlines from high-risk countries are not necessarily banned and that South Africans will always be allowed to return home, whether or not they are travelling from or through a high-risk country.  

    ASATA is awaiting confirmation on this point, but transit through a high-risk country, where the traveller has not passed through immigration, is not likely to affect entry (for both South African citizens and foreign nationals). Restriction of travellers from high-risk countries is more likely to be based on where the traveller’s passport shows they have resided over the last 10 days. 

  • Which countries currently accept South African Travellers?

    This information will be constantly in flux as countries update entry requirements based on infection rates and reciprocity. The most reliable and up-to-date information will be found from the source (i.e. official government and consular websites). 

    • European Union 
    • United Kingdom 
    • United States 
    • Brazil: entry regulations lift on 29 July. All foreign national arrivals must have travel insurance with a minimum cover of BRL 30 000 (approximately ZAR 90 000). (IATA

    IATA’s COVID-19 Travel Regulations Map is also regularly updated with restrictions per country. However, it is still best to double check this information against what is available from official government sources as IATA cannot guarantee total accuracy given the ever-changing nature of the international response to COVID-19. 

    On borderdata.io you can check countries’ border status based on the borderdata.io method

    borderdata.io manually checks every country’s border status, and define if the border is open, closed or partially closed.

    Search if your preferred airport is open for citizens, tourist or only cargo. If your searched border is closed. Enable the push notifications to be notified of any changes.

  • Are South Africans allowed to travel to and from high-risk countries?

    The regulations allow for South Africans to travel to any country for leisure or corporate.  

    The caveat to this is that they can only travel to countries that accept South Africans.  

    In travel, both source and destination have to give the green light. In this case, South Africa has given the green light, but you would need to look at each destination to see whether they will accept South Africans and under which conditions.  

  • Do South African residents require a 72-hour COVID-19 test prior to departing South Africa?

    South African residents do not require a 72-hour COVID-19 test prior to departing South Africa. At the airport, they will be screened at the airport and anyone exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms will be prohibited from boarding. Departing South Africans should also bring with them a completed exit screening questionnaire

    Any additional requirements will be stipulated by the airline and/or country of destination. This information will be constantly in flux as countries update entry requirements based on infection rates and reciprocity. The most reliable and up-to-date information will be found from the source (i.e. official government and consular websites). 

    IATA’s COVID-19 Travel Regulations Map is also regularly updated with restrictions per country. However, it is still best to double-check this information against what is available from official government sources as IATA cannot guarantee total accuracy given the ever-changing nature of the international response to COVID-19. 

    Travellers should also be aware that testing may be conducted at some international airports.  

  • Where can I get tested in South Africa before I travel? How much does it cost and how quickly will I get the results?

    There are over 200 testing sites across South Africa. Pathcare, Lancet and Ampath all list their testing sites per province along with address, contact information and operating hours. The cost for a Covid-19 test in South Africa is R850 and results take 48-72 hours to process depending on patient priority.

  • Aviation

  • Will airlines be permitted to land in South Africa from high-risk countries?

    Airlines from high-risk countries are not necessarily banned, but their crew will be required to isolate in facilities at designated accommodation at the cost of their employer. 

    Passengers disembarking from flights originating from high-risk countries must be South Africans or in possession of a valid visa. And all arrivals must meet the entry requirements including a valid certificate of a negative COVID-19 PCR test. 

  • Are domestic airlines operating in South Africa?
    • Bram Fischer International Airport
    • Cape Town International Airport**
    • East London Airport
    • George Airport
    • Hoedspruit Airport
    • Kimberly Airport
    • King Shaka International Airport**
    • Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport
    • Lanseria International Airport
    • Margate Airport
    • Mthatha Airport
    • OR Tambo International Airport**
    • Phalaborwa Airport
    • Pietermaritzburg Airport
    • Plettenberg Bay Airport
    • Polokwane Airport
    • Port Elizabeth International Airport
    • Richards Bay Airport
    • Sishen Airport
    • Skukuza Airport
    • Upington International Airport

    Passengers should arrive at the airport at least two hours before a domestic flight to ensure enough time is allocated for screening and operational procedures. Until it is otherwise announced, only passengers are permitted inside the terminal buildings. Passengers with a temperature higher than 38 degrees will not be permitted to enter the airport. Masks must be worn and social distancing of 1,5 metres must be adhered to at all times in the airport.  

    **Additionally open to international air travel  

    Travellers should complete the following screening questionnaires from the Department of Health, to be submitted before all flights:  

  • Which airlines are operating flights to/from South Africa?

    Each airline will have its own threshold for flying to and from South Africa based on demand for seats—which need to be filled on both inbound and outbound legs. For this reason, we may see that not all airlines immediately begin flying to South Africa. Schedules may remain in flux for some time to come as countries, including South Africa, continuously update their list of permitted countries and entry requirements based on infection rates, which will have an impact demand.

    ASATA will update its website with airline information as and when it becomes available. 

    Specific ticket enquiries will need to be taken up with the respective airline.

  • Inbound

  • Is entry based on country of citizenship or residence (or where an individual has visited or transitted through)?

    Entry into South Africa for foreign nationals is based on where the traveller has spent the previous 10 days.   

    If the passport of a foreign national traveller from a high-risk country indicates that they have spent 10 days or more in a low-risk country before departure to South Arica, they will be considered to be arriving from a low-risk country and subject to the low-risk entry requirements. 

    South African citizens and permanent residents will always be allowed to return home, whether or not they are travelling from or through a high-risk country. 

  • What are the exceptions for travellers from high-risk countries and what is the process for entry?

    Exceptions will be made for individuals from high-risk countries who are business travellers, diplomats, repatriated persons, investors and people with scarce and critical skills or participating in professional sporting or cultural events.  

    Business travellers must apply, in writing, to the Minister of Home Affairs and demonstrate reasons for their request to enter South Africa. This application must be sent to [email protected]  and include: 

    1. a copy of passport and/or temporary residence visa; 
    1. proof of business activities to be undertaken in South Africa; 
    1. proof of travel itinerary; and 
    1. proof of address or accommodation in South Africa. 

    They will likewise be subject to the prescribed screening procedure and isolation or quarantine rules, depending on the circumstances. On arrival, they must present a valid certificate of a negative test obtained not more than 72 hours before the date of travel. Failure to present proof of a negative test will require the traveller to quarantine at their own cost. 

  • Are South Africans allowed to travel to and from high-risk countries?

    The regulations allow for South Africans to travel to any country for leisure or corporate.  

    The caveat to this is that they can only travel to countries that accept South Africans.  

    In travel, both source and destination have to give the green light. In this case, South Africa has given the green light, but you would need to look at each destination to see whether they will accept South Africans and under which conditions.  

  • What happens if travelling South Africans transit through a high-risk country on their return to South Africa?

    We know that airlines from high-risk countries are not necessarily banned and that South Africans will always be allowed to return home, whether or not they are travelling from or through a high-risk country.  

    ASATA is awaiting confirmation on this point, but transit through a high-risk country, where the traveller has not passed through immigration, is not likely to affect entry (for both South African citizens and foreign nationals). Restriction of travellers from high-risk countries is more likely to be based on where the traveller’s passport shows they have resided over the last 10 days.  

  • Do returning South Africans require travel insurance to re-enter South Africa from abroad?

    The government announcement on 30 September indicated that all travellers to South Africa are required to have travel insurance to cover the cost of COVID-19 testing and 10-day quarantine so that this burden does not fall on South African taxpayers.  

    The requirement applies to foreign national travellers and South Africans who do not have travel insurance with these covers will not be prohibited from entering the country. However, it is, of course, advisable for South Africans to take out comprehensive travel insurance when travelling abroad during these times. 

  • Terms& Conditions

  • Are suppliers changing their cancellation and booking policies?

    Each supplier (airline, tour operator, etc.) will have its own change and cancellation policies, and many are being more lenient when it comes to deposits or postponements. As a consumer, if you are in a position to postpone rather than cancel, you not only help the supplier and several players along the value chain, but you also keep something to look forward to and don’t have to compromise on your expectations.

    Be sure to read and understand all the terms and conditions of your ticket or booking upfront so that there are no surprises down the line.

  • Insurance

  • How do I pick a travel insurance policy?

    Be sure to check the requirements of your travel destinations as some, like South Africa and Brazil, are requiring that foreign national arrivals have COVID-19 travel insurance. For South African arrivals, it must cover the cost of any testing or quarantine. 

    Travel insurance policies will differ based on factors such as your age, the length of your trip, and what you want to be covered. A standard insurance policy may cover cancellation for events such as the sudden bankruptcy of a travel company, unexpected illness, or a natural disaster or unrest in the destination.  

    When looking for travel insurance that covers COVID-19-related events, consider the following: 

    • Travel medical: cover your expenses if you or a travel companion, such as your spouse or child, contract COVID-19 while travelling and require medical care or evacuation. 
    • Trip cancellation: cover any expenses incurred as a result of cancelling your trip prior to departure because you, or someone you care for, contracted COVID-19. 
    • Trip delay: cover any expenses incurred as a result of changing COVID-19 regulations e.g. travel bans. 

    Most travel insurances will not cover disinclination or fear to travel. The exception is ‘cancel for any reason’ (CFAR) insurance. This is usually available as an optional upgrade to a standard travel insurance plan and may cost up to 50% more than a standard plan. It typically needs to be purchased within one to three weeks from the time you booked your trip or made the initial deposit, and you must cancel your travel 48 hours prior to departure. Often available in two tiers, CFAR insurance can cover you for 50-75% of your total travel costs. However, CFAR is not yet a common insurance product in South Africa.  

    Know that there is no-size-fits-all travel insurance plan and each additional cover comes at a cost. Whichever you choose, be sure to read the full insurance contract before buying to check whether it covers specifics like quarantine, testing, and flight disruptions.  

  • What test results are accepted? (e.g. antibody, viral)

    Level 1 FAQs

    General

  • Which international ports are open?

    Johannesburg’s OR Tambo, Durban’s King Shaka and Cape Town International Airports are the only airports that will allow international air travel to arrive or depart.

    All commercial seaports will be opened.

    The 35 land borders that were closed during the previous lockdown levels will remain closed.

    The 18 land borders which were partially operational during the previous lockdown levels will be fully operational (i.e. allow passage of South Africans and permitted foreign nationals). These include:

    COUNTRY PORT HOURS CONTACT
    Zimbabwe Beitbridge Bridge 24 hours Tel & Fax: (015) 530 0070
    Eswatini Oshoek 07:00 – 22:00 Tel: (017) 882 0138/9
    Fax: (017) 819 3481
    Eswatini Mahamba 07:00 – 22:00 Tel: (017) 826 0076
    Fax: 017) 826 0077
    Eswatini Mananga 07:00 – 18:00 Tel: (013) 790 7075
    Fax: (013) 790 0077
    Eswatini Golela 07:00 – 22:00 Tel: (034) 435 1070
    Fax: (034) 435 1048
    Eswatini Jeppes Reef 07:00 – 20:00 Tel: (013) 781 0382
    Fax: (013) 781 0383
    Namibia Nakop 24 hours Tel: (054) 571 0008 / 0077
    Fax: (054) 571 0009
    Namibia Vioolsdrift 24 hours Tel: (027) 761 8760
    Fax: (027) 761 8931
    Mozambique Lebombo 06:00 – 00:00 Tel: (013) 793 7311
    Fax: (013) 793 7091
    Lesotho Caledonspoort 06:00 – 22:00 Tel: (058) 223 8400
    Fax:( 058) 223 1012
    Lesotho Ficksburg Bridge 24 hours Tel:( 051) 933 2760
    Fax: (051) 933 4540
    Lesotho Maseru Bridge 24 hours Tel: (051) 924 4300
    Fax: (051) 924 4000
    Lesotho Quacha’s Nek 06:00 – 22:00 Tel: (039) 256 4391
    Fax: (051) 633 1099
    Lesotho Van Rooyens Gate 06:00 – 22:00 Tel: (051) 583 1525
    Fax: (051) 583 1530
    Botswana Groblersbrug 08:00 – 22:00 Tel: (014) 767 1019
    Fax: (014) 767 1264
    Botswana Kopfontein 06:00 – 24:00 Tel: (018) 365 9055
    Fax: (018) 365 9026
    Botswana Ramatlabama 06:00 – 22:00 Tel: (018) 390 2533
    Fax: (018) 393 0334
    Botswana Skilpadshek 06:00 – 24:00 Tel: (018) 366 0011
    Fax: (018) 366 0012

    Compiled from cross-referencing the list of all ports of entry with the list of closed ports

  • Where can I find a list of international embassies and consulates in South Africa?

    Should a foreign national require assistance in South Africa, a list of all foreign representation in South Africa is available on the Department of International Relations and Cooperation’s website. Diplomatic missions are listed alphabetically by country name.

  • Where can I find a list of South African embassies and consulates abroad?

    Should a South African or foreign national require assistance abroad (e.g. returning home, visa purposes, etc.), a list of all South African representation abroad is available on the Department of International Relations and Cooperation’s website. South African missions abroad are listed alphabetically by the country in which they are located. The individual websites for these embassies, high commissions and consulates abroad are also listed here.

  • Entry Requirements

  • Can an arrival self-quarantine upon entry rather than go to a quarantine facility?

    Returning South Africans who are unable to present a negative test result, or who display symptoms should be able to self-quarantine at home, provided they have access to: 

    • Separate bedroom with an on-suite bathroom and toilet that is not shared with another person. 
    • Prepared meals to be served in the room preferably in disposable utensils alternatively separated and washed properly. 
    • Support from friends or family that can facilitate the drop off of food and medicine at the gate if they are not able to make use of online shopping facilities and contactless deliveries. 
    • Access to a thermometer that will allow for the monitoring of temperature daily. 
    • Access to the internet either through my phone or computer to allow reporting symptoms daily. 
    • Access to a private physician that he or she can contact should he or she be in need of medical advice or care. 
    • No visitors are permitted to visit the quarantined person. 

    Foreign national arrivals may be permitted to self-quarantine at their accommodation, provided it meets the conditions above, but we are awaiting further clarification and confirmation on this point.  

    TBC IF THE APPLICATION FOR SELF-QUARANTINE IS STILL REQUIRED AND IF A FOREIGN NATIONAL CAN SELF-QUARANTINE

  • Is entry based on country of citizenship or residence (or where an individual has visited or transitted through)?

    Entry into South Africa for foreign nationals is based on where the traveller has spent the previous 10 days.   

    If the passport of a foreign national traveller from a high-risk country indicates that they have spent 10 days or more in a low-risk country before departure to South Arica, they will be considered to be arriving from a low-risk country and subject to the low-risk entry requirements. 

    South African citizens and permanent residents will always be allowed to return home, whether or not they are travelling from or through a high-risk country. 

  • What are the exceptions for travellers from high-risk countries and what is the process for entry?

    Exceptions will be made for individuals from high-risk countries who are business travellers, diplomats, repatriated persons, investors and people with scarce and critical skills or participating in professional sporting or cultural events.  

    Business travellers must apply, in writing, to the Minister of Home Affairs and demonstrate reasons for their request to enter South Africa. This application must be sent to [email protected]  and include: 

    1. a copy of passport and/or temporary residence visa; 
    1. proof of business activities to be undertaken in South Africa; 
    1. proof of travel itinerary; and 
    1. proof of address or accommodation in South Africa. 

    They will likewise be subject to the prescribed screening procedure and isolation or quarantine rules, depending on the circumstances. On arrival, they must present a valid certificate of a negative test obtained not more than 72 hours before the date of travel. Failure to present proof of a negative test will require the traveller to quarantine at their own cost. 

  • What are the requirements to enter South Africa?
    • All arrivals must present a valid certificate of a negative COVID-19 PCR test, obtained not more than 72 hours (3 days) from the time of departure from the country of origin to South Africa. The test must be conducted by a certified medical practitioner and the certificate must have the name and signature of the practitioner who conducted the test. 
    • Failure to present proof of a valid and negative test will require the traveller to quarantine at their own cost.  
    • All arrivals will be screened for any COVID-19 symptoms and/or for contact with people who have been infected with the COVID-19 virus.  
    • Should the traveller display any COVID-19–related symptoms or have been in contact with an infected person, they will be expected to take a mandatory COVID-19 test. This test will be at the traveller’s cost. If the COVID-19 test comes back positive, the traveller will be subjected to a 10-day quarantine at a designated site, at the traveller’s cost.  
    • All arrivals must provide proof of accommodation address should they need to self-quarantine at the time of arrival in the country, subject to the accommodation allowing for self-quarantine. 
    • All arrivals will be asked to download the COVID Alert South Africa mobile app. Information on the app can be found here
    • Foreign national arrivals from low- and medium-risk countries will be subject to the prevailing visa requirements. Our understanding of this is that the visa regime that was previously in place stands (e.g. if a 90-day waiver was in place before, it will be reinstated now if the traveller is coming from a low- or medium-risk country). Foreign national arrivals from high-risk countries may enter with an application in compliance with the exemptions laid out by government and then subject to the prevailing visa requirements. 
    • All foreign national arrivals must have travel insurance that covers the cost of any testing or quarantine. 
  • Which countries have been classified as high-risk? Are there different levels of risk and requirements?

    Which countries are allowed to come to South Africa? Are there different levels of risk and requirements?

    Based on the latest WHO criteria on infection and death rates, South Africa has developed a risk categorisation model for different international travellers. This model classifies international travellers according to a scale of high, medium and low risk.  

    High-risk travellers are those who come from countries with higher numbers of COVID-19 infections and reported deaths compared to South Africa. 

    Medium risk travellers are from countries with a relatively equal number of infections and death toll to South Africa. Low-risk travellers originate from countries with lesser number of infections of COVID-19 and death toll than South Africa.

    The list of countries and categorisation will be reviewed every two weeks and updated based on the latest WHO figures.

    Travellers (leisure, corporate and other) from the African continent as well as from medium- and low-risk countries will be allowed into the country subject to the entry requirements (i.e. screening, visas, testing, quarantine).

    Below is the list of countries currently considered high risk, and from which leisure travellers are not allowed:

    Albania ​​​

    Argentina

    Armenia

    Austria

    Bahrain

    Belgium

    Bolivia

    Bosnia and Herzegovina

    Brazil ​​​ ​​​​

    Chile

    ​​​Columbia

    Costa Rica

    Croatia 

    Czech Republic

    Denmark

    Ecuador

    France​​​

    Georgia ​

    Greece

    Guatemala ​

    Guyana​​​

    Honduras

    Hungary

    Iceland

    India

    Iran

    ​​​Iraq

    Ireland

    Israel

    Jamaica

    Jordan

    Kuwait

    Lebanon

    Luxemburg ​​

    Maldives

    Malta

    Mexico

    Moldova

    Montenegro ​​​

    Nepal ​​

    Netherlands 

    North Macedonia

    Oman

    Palestine

    Panama

    Paraguay

    Peru ​​​

    Portugal

    Puerto Rico

    Qatar

    Romania

    Russia

    Slovakia

    Suriname

    Switzerland

    Ukraine

    ​​​United Emirates

    United Kingdom              ​

    USA

    Venezuela

    Exceptions will be made for individuals from high-risk countries who are business travellers with scarce and critical skills, diplomats, repatriated persons, investors and people participating in professional sporting and cultural events.

    If the passport of the traveller from a high-risk country indicates that they have spent 10 days or more in a low-risk country before departure, they will be considered to be arriving from a low-risk country and subject to the low-risk entry requirements.

  • What test results are accepted? (e.g. antibody, viral)

    All arrivals to South Africa (South Africans and foreign nationals) must present a valid certificate of a negative COVID-19 PCR test, obtained not more than 72 hours (3 days) from the time of departure from the country of origin to South Africa. The test must be conducted by a certified medical practitioner and the certificate must have the name and signature of the practitioner who conducted the test. 

    Failure to present a valid and negative test result will require you to quarantine at your own cost, until which time a repeat test can be conducted. 

  • Outbound Requirements

  • What happens if the country in which I’m travelling suddenly moves from low-risk to high-risk?

    We know that airlines from high-risk countries are not necessarily banned and that South Africans will always be allowed to return home, whether or not they are travelling from or through a high-risk country.  

    ASATA is awaiting confirmation on this point, but transit through a high-risk country, where the traveller has not passed through immigration, is not likely to affect entry (for both South African citizens and foreign nationals). Restriction of travellers from high-risk countries is more likely to be based on where the traveller’s passport shows they have resided over the last 10 days. 

  • Which countries currently accept South African Travellers?

    This information will be constantly in flux as countries update entry requirements based on infection rates and reciprocity. The most reliable and up-to-date information will be found from the source (i.e. official government and consular websites). 

    • European Union 
    • United Kingdom 
    • United States 
    • Brazil: entry regulations lift on 29 July. All foreign national arrivals must have travel insurance with a minimum cover of BRL 30 000 (approximately ZAR 90 000). (IATA

    IATA’s COVID-19 Travel Regulations Map is also regularly updated with restrictions per country. However, it is still best to double check this information against what is available from official government sources as IATA cannot guarantee total accuracy given the ever-changing nature of the international response to COVID-19. 

    On borderdata.io you can check countries’ border status based on the borderdata.io method

    borderdata.io manually checks every country’s border status, and define if the border is open, closed or partially closed.

    Search if your preferred airport is open for citizens, tourist or only cargo. If your searched border is closed. Enable the push notifications to be notified of any changes.

  • Are South Africans allowed to travel to and from high-risk countries?

    The regulations allow for South Africans to travel to any country for leisure or corporate.  

    The caveat to this is that they can only travel to countries that accept South Africans.  

    In travel, both source and destination have to give the green light. In this case, South Africa has given the green light, but you would need to look at each destination to see whether they will accept South Africans and under which conditions.  

  • Do South African residents require a 72-hour COVID-19 test prior to departing South Africa?

    South African residents do not require a 72-hour COVID-19 test prior to departing South Africa. At the airport, they will be screened at the airport and anyone exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms will be prohibited from boarding. Departing South Africans should also bring with them a completed exit screening questionnaire

    Any additional requirements will be stipulated by the airline and/or country of destination. This information will be constantly in flux as countries update entry requirements based on infection rates and reciprocity. The most reliable and up-to-date information will be found from the source (i.e. official government and consular websites). 

    IATA’s COVID-19 Travel Regulations Map is also regularly updated with restrictions per country. However, it is still best to double-check this information against what is available from official government sources as IATA cannot guarantee total accuracy given the ever-changing nature of the international response to COVID-19. 

    Travellers should also be aware that testing may be conducted at some international airports.  

  • Where can I get tested in South Africa before I travel? How much does it cost and how quickly will I get the results?

    There are over 200 testing sites across South Africa. Pathcare, Lancet and Ampath all list their testing sites per province along with address, contact information and operating hours. The cost for a Covid-19 test in South Africa is R850 and results take 48-72 hours to process depending on patient priority.

  • Aviation

  • Will airlines be permitted to land in South Africa from high-risk countries?

    Airlines from high-risk countries are not necessarily banned, but their crew will be required to isolate in facilities at designated accommodation at the cost of their employer. 

    Passengers disembarking from flights originating from high-risk countries must be South Africans or in possession of a valid visa. And all arrivals must meet the entry requirements including a valid certificate of a negative COVID-19 PCR test. 

  • Are domestic airlines operating in South Africa?
    • Bram Fischer International Airport
    • Cape Town International Airport**
    • East London Airport
    • George Airport
    • Hoedspruit Airport
    • Kimberly Airport
    • King Shaka International Airport**
    • Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport
    • Lanseria International Airport
    • Margate Airport
    • Mthatha Airport
    • OR Tambo International Airport**
    • Phalaborwa Airport
    • Pietermaritzburg Airport
    • Plettenberg Bay Airport
    • Polokwane Airport
    • Port Elizabeth International Airport
    • Richards Bay Airport
    • Sishen Airport
    • Skukuza Airport
    • Upington International Airport

    Passengers should arrive at the airport at least two hours before a domestic flight to ensure enough time is allocated for screening and operational procedures. Until it is otherwise announced, only passengers are permitted inside the terminal buildings. Passengers with a temperature higher than 38 degrees will not be permitted to enter the airport. Masks must be worn and social distancing of 1,5 metres must be adhered to at all times in the airport.  

    **Additionally open to international air travel  

    Travellers should complete the following screening questionnaires from the Department of Health, to be submitted before all flights:  

  • Which airlines are operating flights to/from South Africa?

    Each airline will have its own threshold for flying to and from South Africa based on demand for seats—which need to be filled on both inbound and outbound legs. For this reason, we may see that not all airlines immediately begin flying to South Africa. Schedules may remain in flux for some time to come as countries, including South Africa, continuously update their list of permitted countries and entry requirements based on infection rates, which will have an impact demand.

    ASATA will update its website with airline information as and when it becomes available. 

    Specific ticket enquiries will need to be taken up with the respective airline.

  • Inbound

  • Is entry based on country of citizenship or residence (or where an individual has visited or transitted through)?

    Entry into South Africa for foreign nationals is based on where the traveller has spent the previous 10 days.   

    If the passport of a foreign national traveller from a high-risk country indicates that they have spent 10 days or more in a low-risk country before departure to South Arica, they will be considered to be arriving from a low-risk country and subject to the low-risk entry requirements. 

    South African citizens and permanent residents will always be allowed to return home, whether or not they are travelling from or through a high-risk country. 

  • What are the exceptions for travellers from high-risk countries and what is the process for entry?

    Exceptions will be made for individuals from high-risk countries who are business travellers, diplomats, repatriated persons, investors and people with scarce and critical skills or participating in professional sporting or cultural events.  

    Business travellers must apply, in writing, to the Minister of Home Affairs and demonstrate reasons for their request to enter South Africa. This application must be sent to [email protected]  and include: 

    1. a copy of passport and/or temporary residence visa; 
    1. proof of business activities to be undertaken in South Africa; 
    1. proof of travel itinerary; and 
    1. proof of address or accommodation in South Africa. 

    They will likewise be subject to the prescribed screening procedure and isolation or quarantine rules, depending on the circumstances. On arrival, they must present a valid certificate of a negative test obtained not more than 72 hours before the date of travel. Failure to present proof of a negative test will require the traveller to quarantine at their own cost. 

  • Are South Africans allowed to travel to and from high-risk countries?

    The regulations allow for South Africans to travel to any country for leisure or corporate.  

    The caveat to this is that they can only travel to countries that accept South Africans.  

    In travel, both source and destination have to give the green light. In this case, South Africa has given the green light, but you would need to look at each destination to see whether they will accept South Africans and under which conditions.  

  • What happens if travelling South Africans transit through a high-risk country on their return to South Africa?

    We know that airlines from high-risk countries are not necessarily banned and that South Africans will always be allowed to return home, whether or not they are travelling from or through a high-risk country.  

    ASATA is awaiting confirmation on this point, but transit through a high-risk country, where the traveller has not passed through immigration, is not likely to affect entry (for both South African citizens and foreign nationals). Restriction of travellers from high-risk countries is more likely to be based on where the traveller’s passport shows they have resided over the last 10 days.  

  • Do returning South Africans require travel insurance to re-enter South Africa from abroad?

    The government announcement on 30 September indicated that all travellers to South Africa are required to have travel insurance to cover the cost of COVID-19 testing and 10-day quarantine so that this burden does not fall on South African taxpayers.  

    The requirement applies to foreign national travellers and South Africans who do not have travel insurance with these covers will not be prohibited from entering the country. However, it is, of course, advisable for South Africans to take out comprehensive travel insurance when travelling abroad during these times. 

  • Terms& Conditions

  • Are suppliers changing their cancellation and booking policies?

    Each supplier (airline, tour operator, etc.) will have its own change and cancellation policies, and many are being more lenient when it comes to deposits or postponements. As a consumer, if you are in a position to postpone rather than cancel, you not only help the supplier and several players along the value chain, but you also keep something to look forward to and don’t have to compromise on your expectations.

    Be sure to read and understand all the terms and conditions of your ticket or booking upfront so that there are no surprises down the line.

  • Insurance

  • How do I pick a travel insurance policy?

    Be sure to check the requirements of your travel destinations as some, like South Africa and Brazil, are requiring that foreign national arrivals have COVID-19 travel insurance. For South African arrivals, it must cover the cost of any testing or quarantine. 

    Travel insurance policies will differ based on factors such as your age, the length of your trip, and what you want to be covered. A standard insurance policy may cover cancellation for events such as the sudden bankruptcy of a travel company, unexpected illness, or a natural disaster or unrest in the destination.  

    When looking for travel insurance that covers COVID-19-related events, consider the following: 

    • Travel medical: cover your expenses if you or a travel companion, such as your spouse or child, contract COVID-19 while travelling and require medical care or evacuation. 
    • Trip cancellation: cover any expenses incurred as a result of cancelling your trip prior to departure because you, or someone you care for, contracted COVID-19. 
    • Trip delay: cover any expenses incurred as a result of changing COVID-19 regulations e.g. travel bans. 

    Most travel insurances will not cover disinclination or fear to travel. The exception is ‘cancel for any reason’ (CFAR) insurance. This is usually available as an optional upgrade to a standard travel insurance plan and may cost up to 50% more than a standard plan. It typically needs to be purchased within one to three weeks from the time you booked your trip or made the initial deposit, and you must cancel your travel 48 hours prior to departure. Often available in two tiers, CFAR insurance can cover you for 50-75% of your total travel costs. However, CFAR is not yet a common insurance product in South Africa.  

    Know that there is no-size-fits-all travel insurance plan and each additional cover comes at a cost. Whichever you choose, be sure to read the full insurance contract before buying to check whether it covers specifics like quarantine, testing, and flight disruptions.  

  • Outbound Requirements

  • What happens if the country in which I’m travelling suddenly moves from low-risk to high-risk?

    Level 1 FAQs

    General

  • Which international ports are open?

    Johannesburg’s OR Tambo, Durban’s King Shaka and Cape Town International Airports are the only airports that will allow international air travel to arrive or depart.

    All commercial seaports will be opened.

    The 35 land borders that were closed during the previous lockdown levels will remain closed.

    The 18 land borders which were partially operational during the previous lockdown levels will be fully operational (i.e. allow passage of South Africans and permitted foreign nationals). These include:

    COUNTRY PORT HOURS CONTACT
    Zimbabwe Beitbridge Bridge 24 hours Tel & Fax: (015) 530 0070
    Eswatini Oshoek 07:00 – 22:00 Tel: (017) 882 0138/9
    Fax: (017) 819 3481
    Eswatini Mahamba 07:00 – 22:00 Tel: (017) 826 0076
    Fax: 017) 826 0077
    Eswatini Mananga 07:00 – 18:00 Tel: (013) 790 7075
    Fax: (013) 790 0077
    Eswatini Golela 07:00 – 22:00 Tel: (034) 435 1070
    Fax: (034) 435 1048
    Eswatini Jeppes Reef 07:00 – 20:00 Tel: (013) 781 0382
    Fax: (013) 781 0383
    Namibia Nakop 24 hours Tel: (054) 571 0008 / 0077
    Fax: (054) 571 0009
    Namibia Vioolsdrift 24 hours Tel: (027) 761 8760
    Fax: (027) 761 8931
    Mozambique Lebombo 06:00 – 00:00 Tel: (013) 793 7311
    Fax: (013) 793 7091
    Lesotho Caledonspoort 06:00 – 22:00 Tel: (058) 223 8400
    Fax:( 058) 223 1012
    Lesotho Ficksburg Bridge 24 hours Tel:( 051) 933 2760
    Fax: (051) 933 4540
    Lesotho Maseru Bridge 24 hours Tel: (051) 924 4300
    Fax: (051) 924 4000
    Lesotho Quacha’s Nek 06:00 – 22:00 Tel: (039) 256 4391
    Fax: (051) 633 1099
    Lesotho Van Rooyens Gate 06:00 – 22:00 Tel: (051) 583 1525
    Fax: (051) 583 1530
    Botswana Groblersbrug 08:00 – 22:00 Tel: (014) 767 1019
    Fax: (014) 767 1264
    Botswana Kopfontein 06:00 – 24:00 Tel: (018) 365 9055
    Fax: (018) 365 9026
    Botswana Ramatlabama 06:00 – 22:00 Tel: (018) 390 2533
    Fax: (018) 393 0334
    Botswana Skilpadshek 06:00 – 24:00 Tel: (018) 366 0011
    Fax: (018) 366 0012

    Compiled from cross-referencing the list of all ports of entry with the list of closed ports

  • Where can I find a list of international embassies and consulates in South Africa?

    Should a foreign national require assistance in South Africa, a list of all foreign representation in South Africa is available on the Department of International Relations and Cooperation’s website. Diplomatic missions are listed alphabetically by country name.

  • Where can I find a list of South African embassies and consulates abroad?

    Should a South African or foreign national require assistance abroad (e.g. returning home, visa purposes, etc.), a list of all South African representation abroad is available on the Department of International Relations and Cooperation’s website. South African missions abroad are listed alphabetically by the country in which they are located. The individual websites for these embassies, high commissions and consulates abroad are also listed here.

  • Entry Requirements

  • Can an arrival self-quarantine upon entry rather than go to a quarantine facility?

    Returning South Africans who are unable to present a negative test result, or who display symptoms should be able to self-quarantine at home, provided they have access to: 

    • Separate bedroom with an on-suite bathroom and toilet that is not shared with another person. 
    • Prepared meals to be served in the room preferably in disposable utensils alternatively separated and washed properly. 
    • Support from friends or family that can facilitate the drop off of food and medicine at the gate if they are not able to make use of online shopping facilities and contactless deliveries. 
    • Access to a thermometer that will allow for the monitoring of temperature daily. 
    • Access to the internet either through my phone or computer to allow reporting symptoms daily. 
    • Access to a private physician that he or she can contact should he or she be in need of medical advice or care. 
    • No visitors are permitted to visit the quarantined person. 

    Foreign national arrivals may be permitted to self-quarantine at their accommodation, provided it meets the conditions above, but we are awaiting further clarification and confirmation on this point.  

    TBC IF THE APPLICATION FOR SELF-QUARANTINE IS STILL REQUIRED AND IF A FOREIGN NATIONAL CAN SELF-QUARANTINE

  • Is entry based on country of citizenship or residence (or where an individual has visited or transitted through)?

    Entry into South Africa for foreign nationals is based on where the traveller has spent the previous 10 days.   

    If the passport of a foreign national traveller from a high-risk country indicates that they have spent 10 days or more in a low-risk country before departure to South Arica, they will be considered to be arriving from a low-risk country and subject to the low-risk entry requirements. 

    South African citizens and permanent residents will always be allowed to return home, whether or not they are travelling from or through a high-risk country. 

  • What are the exceptions for travellers from high-risk countries and what is the process for entry?

    Exceptions will be made for individuals from high-risk countries who are business travellers, diplomats, repatriated persons, investors and people with scarce and critical skills or participating in professional sporting or cultural events.  

    Business travellers must apply, in writing, to the Minister of Home Affairs and demonstrate reasons for their request to enter South Africa. This application must be sent to [email protected]  and include: 

    1. a copy of passport and/or temporary residence visa; 
    1. proof of business activities to be undertaken in South Africa; 
    1. proof of travel itinerary; and 
    1. proof of address or accommodation in South Africa. 

    They will likewise be subject to the prescribed screening procedure and isolation or quarantine rules, depending on the circumstances. On arrival, they must present a valid certificate of a negative test obtained not more than 72 hours before the date of travel. Failure to present proof of a negative test will require the traveller to quarantine at their own cost. 

  • What are the requirements to enter South Africa?
    • All arrivals must present a valid certificate of a negative COVID-19 PCR test, obtained not more than 72 hours (3 days) from the time of departure from the country of origin to South Africa. The test must be conducted by a certified medical practitioner and the certificate must have the name and signature of the practitioner who conducted the test. 
    • Failure to present proof of a valid and negative test will require the traveller to quarantine at their own cost.  
    • All arrivals will be screened for any COVID-19 symptoms and/or for contact with people who have been infected with the COVID-19 virus.  
    • Should the traveller display any COVID-19–related symptoms or have been in contact with an infected person, they will be expected to take a mandatory COVID-19 test. This test will be at the traveller’s cost. If the COVID-19 test comes back positive, the traveller will be subjected to a 10-day quarantine at a designated site, at the traveller’s cost.  
    • All arrivals must provide proof of accommodation address should they need to self-quarantine at the time of arrival in the country, subject to the accommodation allowing for self-quarantine. 
    • All arrivals will be asked to download the COVID Alert South Africa mobile app. Information on the app can be found here
    • Foreign national arrivals from low- and medium-risk countries will be subject to the prevailing visa requirements. Our understanding of this is that the visa regime that was previously in place stands (e.g. if a 90-day waiver was in place before, it will be reinstated now if the traveller is coming from a low- or medium-risk country). Foreign national arrivals from high-risk countries may enter with an application in compliance with the exemptions laid out by government and then subject to the prevailing visa requirements. 
    • All foreign national arrivals must have travel insurance that covers the cost of any testing or quarantine. 
  • Which countries have been classified as high-risk? Are there different levels of risk and requirements?

    Which countries are allowed to come to South Africa? Are there different levels of risk and requirements?

    Based on the latest WHO criteria on infection and death rates, South Africa has developed a risk categorisation model for different international travellers. This model classifies international travellers according to a scale of high, medium and low risk.  

    High-risk travellers are those who come from countries with higher numbers of COVID-19 infections and reported deaths compared to South Africa. 

    Medium risk travellers are from countries with a relatively equal number of infections and death toll to South Africa. Low-risk travellers originate from countries with lesser number of infections of COVID-19 and death toll than South Africa.

    The list of countries and categorisation will be reviewed every two weeks and updated based on the latest WHO figures.

    Travellers (leisure, corporate and other) from the African continent as well as from medium- and low-risk countries will be allowed into the country subject to the entry requirements (i.e. screening, visas, testing, quarantine).

    Below is the list of countries currently considered high risk, and from which leisure travellers are not allowed:

    Albania ​​​

    Argentina

    Armenia

    Austria

    Bahrain

    Belgium

    Bolivia

    Bosnia and Herzegovina

    Brazil ​​​ ​​​​

    Chile

    ​​​Columbia

    Costa Rica

    Croatia 

    Czech Republic

    Denmark

    Ecuador

    France​​​

    Georgia ​

    Greece

    Guatemala ​

    Guyana​​​

    Honduras

    Hungary

    Iceland

    India

    Iran

    ​​​Iraq

    Ireland

    Israel

    Jamaica

    Jordan

    Kuwait

    Lebanon

    Luxemburg ​​

    Maldives

    Malta

    Mexico

    Moldova

    Montenegro ​​​

    Nepal ​​

    Netherlands 

    North Macedonia

    Oman

    Palestine

    Panama

    Paraguay

    Peru ​​​

    Portugal

    Puerto Rico

    Qatar

    Romania

    Russia

    Slovakia

    Suriname

    Switzerland

    Ukraine

    ​​​United Emirates

    United Kingdom              ​

    USA

    Venezuela

    Exceptions will be made for individuals from high-risk countries who are business travellers with scarce and critical skills, diplomats, repatriated persons, investors and people participating in professional sporting and cultural events.

    If the passport of the traveller from a high-risk country indicates that they have spent 10 days or more in a low-risk country before departure, they will be considered to be arriving from a low-risk country and subject to the low-risk entry requirements.

  • What test results are accepted? (e.g. antibody, viral)

    All arrivals to South Africa (South Africans and foreign nationals) must present a valid certificate of a negative COVID-19 PCR test, obtained not more than 72 hours (3 days) from the time of departure from the country of origin to South Africa. The test must be conducted by a certified medical practitioner and the certificate must have the name and signature of the practitioner who conducted the test. 

    Failure to present a valid and negative test result will require you to quarantine at your own cost, until which time a repeat test can be conducted. 

  • Outbound Requirements

  • What happens if the country in which I’m travelling suddenly moves from low-risk to high-risk?

    We know that airlines from high-risk countries are not necessarily banned and that South Africans will always be allowed to return home, whether or not they are travelling from or through a high-risk country.  

    ASATA is awaiting confirmation on this point, but transit through a high-risk country, where the traveller has not passed through immigration, is not likely to affect entry (for both South African citizens and foreign nationals). Restriction of travellers from high-risk countries is more likely to be based on where the traveller’s passport shows they have resided over the last 10 days. 

  • Which countries currently accept South African Travellers?

    This information will be constantly in flux as countries update entry requirements based on infection rates and reciprocity. The most reliable and up-to-date information will be found from the source (i.e. official government and consular websites). 

    • European Union 
    • United Kingdom 
    • United States 
    • Brazil: entry regulations lift on 29 July. All foreign national arrivals must have travel insurance with a minimum cover of BRL 30 000 (approximately ZAR 90 000). (IATA

    IATA’s COVID-19 Travel Regulations Map is also regularly updated with restrictions per country. However, it is still best to double check this information against what is available from official government sources as IATA cannot guarantee total accuracy given the ever-changing nature of the international response to COVID-19. 

    On borderdata.io you can check countries’ border status based on the borderdata.io method

    borderdata.io manually checks every country’s border status, and define if the border is open, closed or partially closed.

    Search if your preferred airport is open for citizens, tourist or only cargo. If your searched border is closed. Enable the push notifications to be notified of any changes.

  • Are South Africans allowed to travel to and from high-risk countries?

    The regulations allow for South Africans to travel to any country for leisure or corporate.  

    The caveat to this is that they can only travel to countries that accept South Africans.  

    In travel, both source and destination have to give the green light. In this case, South Africa has given the green light, but you would need to look at each destination to see whether they will accept South Africans and under which conditions.  

  • Do South African residents require a 72-hour COVID-19 test prior to departing South Africa?

    South African residents do not require a 72-hour COVID-19 test prior to departing South Africa. At the airport, they will be screened at the airport and anyone exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms will be prohibited from boarding. Departing South Africans should also bring with them a completed exit screening questionnaire

    Any additional requirements will be stipulated by the airline and/or country of destination. This information will be constantly in flux as countries update entry requirements based on infection rates and reciprocity. The most reliable and up-to-date information will be found from the source (i.e. official government and consular websites). 

    IATA’s COVID-19 Travel Regulations Map is also regularly updated with restrictions per country. However, it is still best to double-check this information against what is available from official government sources as IATA cannot guarantee total accuracy given the ever-changing nature of the international response to COVID-19. 

    Travellers should also be aware that testing may be conducted at some international airports.  

  • Where can I get tested in South Africa before I travel? How much does it cost and how quickly will I get the results?

    There are over 200 testing sites across South Africa. Pathcare, Lancet and Ampath all list their testing sites per province along with address, contact information and operating hours. The cost for a Covid-19 test in South Africa is R850 and results take 48-72 hours to process depending on patient priority.

  • Aviation

  • Will airlines be permitted to land in South Africa from high-risk countries?

    Airlines from high-risk countries are not necessarily banned, but their crew will be required to isolate in facilities at designated accommodation at the cost of their employer. 

    Passengers disembarking from flights originating from high-risk countries must be South Africans or in possession of a valid visa. And all arrivals must meet the entry requirements including a valid certificate of a negative COVID-19 PCR test. 

  • Are domestic airlines operating in South Africa?
    • Bram Fischer International Airport
    • Cape Town International Airport**
    • East London Airport
    • George Airport
    • Hoedspruit Airport
    • Kimberly Airport
    • King Shaka International Airport**
    • Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport
    • Lanseria International Airport
    • Margate Airport
    • Mthatha Airport
    • OR Tambo International Airport**
    • Phalaborwa Airport
    • Pietermaritzburg Airport
    • Plettenberg Bay Airport
    • Polokwane Airport
    • Port Elizabeth International Airport
    • Richards Bay Airport
    • Sishen Airport
    • Skukuza Airport
    • Upington International Airport

    Passengers should arrive at the airport at least two hours before a domestic flight to ensure enough time is allocated for screening and operational procedures. Until it is otherwise announced, only passengers are permitted inside the terminal buildings. Passengers with a temperature higher than 38 degrees will not be permitted to enter the airport. Masks must be worn and social distancing of 1,5 metres must be adhered to at all times in the airport.  

    **Additionally open to international air travel  

    Travellers should complete the following screening questionnaires from the Department of Health, to be submitted before all flights:  

  • Which airlines are operating flights to/from South Africa?

    Each airline will have its own threshold for flying to and from South Africa based on demand for seats—which need to be filled on both inbound and outbound legs. For this reason, we may see that not all airlines immediately begin flying to South Africa. Schedules may remain in flux for some time to come as countries, including South Africa, continuously update their list of permitted countries and entry requirements based on infection rates, which will have an impact demand.

    ASATA will update its website with airline information as and when it becomes available. 

    Specific ticket enquiries will need to be taken up with the respective airline.

  • Inbound

  • Is entry based on country of citizenship or residence (or where an individual has visited or transitted through)?

    Entry into South Africa for foreign nationals is based on where the traveller has spent the previous 10 days.   

    If the passport of a foreign national traveller from a high-risk country indicates that they have spent 10 days or more in a low-risk country before departure to South Arica, they will be considered to be arriving from a low-risk country and subject to the low-risk entry requirements. 

    South African citizens and permanent residents will always be allowed to return home, whether or not they are travelling from or through a high-risk country. 

  • What are the exceptions for travellers from high-risk countries and what is the process for entry?

    Exceptions will be made for individuals from high-risk countries who are business travellers, diplomats, repatriated persons, investors and people with scarce and critical skills or participating in professional sporting or cultural events.  

    Business travellers must apply, in writing, to the Minister of Home Affairs and demonstrate reasons for their request to enter South Africa. This application must be sent to [email protected]  and include: 

    1. a copy of passport and/or temporary residence visa; 
    1. proof of business activities to be undertaken in South Africa; 
    1. proof of travel itinerary; and 
    1. proof of address or accommodation in South Africa. 

    They will likewise be subject to the prescribed screening procedure and isolation or quarantine rules, depending on the circumstances. On arrival, they must present a valid certificate of a negative test obtained not more than 72 hours before the date of travel. Failure to present proof of a negative test will require the traveller to quarantine at their own cost. 

  • Are South Africans allowed to travel to and from high-risk countries?

    The regulations allow for South Africans to travel to any country for leisure or corporate.  

    The caveat to this is that they can only travel to countries that accept South Africans.  

    In travel, both source and destination have to give the green light. In this case, South Africa has given the green light, but you would need to look at each destination to see whether they will accept South Africans and under which conditions.  

  • What happens if travelling South Africans transit through a high-risk country on their return to South Africa?

    We know that airlines from high-risk countries are not necessarily banned and that South Africans will always be allowed to return home, whether or not they are travelling from or through a high-risk country.  

    ASATA is awaiting confirmation on this point, but transit through a high-risk country, where the traveller has not passed through immigration, is not likely to affect entry (for both South African citizens and foreign nationals). Restriction of travellers from high-risk countries is more likely to be based on where the traveller’s passport shows they have resided over the last 10 days.  

  • Do returning South Africans require travel insurance to re-enter South Africa from abroad?

    The government announcement on 30 September indicated that all travellers to South Africa are required to have travel insurance to cover the cost of COVID-19 testing and 10-day quarantine so that this burden does not fall on South African taxpayers.  

    The requirement applies to foreign national travellers and South Africans who do not have travel insurance with these covers will not be prohibited from entering the country. However, it is, of course, advisable for South Africans to take out comprehensive travel insurance when travelling abroad during these times. 

  • Terms& Conditions

  • Are suppliers changing their cancellation and booking policies?

    Each supplier (airline, tour operator, etc.) will have its own change and cancellation policies, and many are being more lenient when it comes to deposits or postponements. As a consumer, if you are in a position to postpone rather than cancel, you not only help the supplier and several players along the value chain, but you also keep something to look forward to and don’t have to compromise on your expectations.

    Be sure to read and understand all the terms and conditions of your ticket or booking upfront so that there are no surprises down the line.

  • Insurance

  • How do I pick a travel insurance policy?

    Be sure to check the requirements of your travel destinations as some, like South Africa and Brazil, are requiring that foreign national arrivals have COVID-19 travel insurance. For South African arrivals, it must cover the cost of any testing or quarantine. 

    Travel insurance policies will differ based on factors such as your age, the length of your trip, and what you want to be covered. A standard insurance policy may cover cancellation for events such as the sudden bankruptcy of a travel company, unexpected illness, or a natural disaster or unrest in the destination.  

    When looking for travel insurance that covers COVID-19-related events, consider the following: 

    • Travel medical: cover your expenses if you or a travel companion, such as your spouse or child, contract COVID-19 while travelling and require medical care or evacuation. 
    • Trip cancellation: cover any expenses incurred as a result of cancelling your trip prior to departure because you, or someone you care for, contracted COVID-19. 
    • Trip delay: cover any expenses incurred as a result of changing COVID-19 regulations e.g. travel bans. 

    Most travel insurances will not cover disinclination or fear to travel. The exception is ‘cancel for any reason’ (CFAR) insurance. This is usually available as an optional upgrade to a standard travel insurance plan and may cost up to 50% more than a standard plan. It typically needs to be purchased within one to three weeks from the time you booked your trip or made the initial deposit, and you must cancel your travel 48 hours prior to departure. Often available in two tiers, CFAR insurance can cover you for 50-75% of your total travel costs. However, CFAR is not yet a common insurance product in South Africa.  

    Know that there is no-size-fits-all travel insurance plan and each additional cover comes at a cost. Whichever you choose, be sure to read the full insurance contract before buying to check whether it covers specifics like quarantine, testing, and flight disruptions.  

  • Which countries currently accept South African Travellers?

    Level 1 FAQs

    General

  • Which international ports are open?

    Johannesburg’s OR Tambo, Durban’s King Shaka and Cape Town International Airports are the only airports that will allow international air travel to arrive or depart.

    All commercial seaports will be opened.

    The 35 land borders that were closed during the previous lockdown levels will remain closed.

    The 18 land borders which were partially operational during the previous lockdown levels will be fully operational (i.e. allow passage of South Africans and permitted foreign nationals). These include:

    COUNTRY PORT HOURS CONTACT
    Zimbabwe Beitbridge Bridge 24 hours Tel & Fax: (015) 530 0070
    Eswatini Oshoek 07:00 – 22:00 Tel: (017) 882 0138/9
    Fax: (017) 819 3481
    Eswatini Mahamba 07:00 – 22:00 Tel: (017) 826 0076
    Fax: 017) 826 0077
    Eswatini Mananga 07:00 – 18:00 Tel: (013) 790 7075
    Fax: (013) 790 0077
    Eswatini Golela 07:00 – 22:00 Tel: (034) 435 1070
    Fax: (034) 435 1048
    Eswatini Jeppes Reef 07:00 – 20:00 Tel: (013) 781 0382
    Fax: (013) 781 0383
    Namibia Nakop 24 hours Tel: (054) 571 0008 / 0077
    Fax: (054) 571 0009
    Namibia Vioolsdrift 24 hours Tel: (027) 761 8760
    Fax: (027) 761 8931
    Mozambique Lebombo 06:00 – 00:00 Tel: (013) 793 7311
    Fax: (013) 793 7091
    Lesotho Caledonspoort 06:00 – 22:00 Tel: (058) 223 8400
    Fax:( 058) 223 1012
    Lesotho Ficksburg Bridge 24 hours Tel:( 051) 933 2760
    Fax: (051) 933 4540
    Lesotho Maseru Bridge 24 hours Tel: (051) 924 4300
    Fax: (051) 924 4000
    Lesotho Quacha’s Nek 06:00 – 22:00 Tel: (039) 256 4391
    Fax: (051) 633 1099
    Lesotho Van Rooyens Gate 06:00 – 22:00 Tel: (051) 583 1525
    Fax: (051) 583 1530
    Botswana Groblersbrug 08:00 – 22:00 Tel: (014) 767 1019
    Fax: (014) 767 1264
    Botswana Kopfontein 06:00 – 24:00 Tel: (018) 365 9055
    Fax: (018) 365 9026
    Botswana Ramatlabama 06:00 – 22:00 Tel: (018) 390 2533
    Fax: (018) 393 0334
    Botswana Skilpadshek 06:00 – 24:00 Tel: (018) 366 0011
    Fax: (018) 366 0012

    Compiled from cross-referencing the list of all ports of entry with the list of closed ports

  • Where can I find a list of international embassies and consulates in South Africa?

    Should a foreign national require assistance in South Africa, a list of all foreign representation in South Africa is available on the Department of International Relations and Cooperation’s website. Diplomatic missions are listed alphabetically by country name.

  • Where can I find a list of South African embassies and consulates abroad?

    Should a South African or foreign national require assistance abroad (e.g. returning home, visa purposes, etc.), a list of all South African representation abroad is available on the Department of International Relations and Cooperation’s website. South African missions abroad are listed alphabetically by the country in which they are located. The individual websites for these embassies, high commissions and consulates abroad are also listed here.

  • Entry Requirements

  • Can an arrival self-quarantine upon entry rather than go to a quarantine facility?

    Returning South Africans who are unable to present a negative test result, or who display symptoms should be able to self-quarantine at home, provided they have access to: 

    • Separate bedroom with an on-suite bathroom and toilet that is not shared with another person. 
    • Prepared meals to be served in the room preferably in disposable utensils alternatively separated and washed properly. 
    • Support from friends or family that can facilitate the drop off of food and medicine at the gate if they are not able to make use of online shopping facilities and contactless deliveries. 
    • Access to a thermometer that will allow for the monitoring of temperature daily. 
    • Access to the internet either through my phone or computer to allow reporting symptoms daily. 
    • Access to a private physician that he or she can contact should he or she be in need of medical advice or care. 
    • No visitors are permitted to visit the quarantined person. 

    Foreign national arrivals may be permitted to self-quarantine at their accommodation, provided it meets the conditions above, but we are awaiting further clarification and confirmation on this point.  

    TBC IF THE APPLICATION FOR SELF-QUARANTINE IS STILL REQUIRED AND IF A FOREIGN NATIONAL CAN SELF-QUARANTINE

  • Is entry based on country of citizenship or residence (or where an individual has visited or transitted through)?

    Entry into South Africa for foreign nationals is based on where the traveller has spent the previous 10 days.   

    If the passport of a foreign national traveller from a high-risk country indicates that they have spent 10 days or more in a low-risk country before departure to South Arica, they will be considered to be arriving from a low-risk country and subject to the low-risk entry requirements. 

    South African citizens and permanent residents will always be allowed to return home, whether or not they are travelling from or through a high-risk country. 

  • What are the exceptions for travellers from high-risk countries and what is the process for entry?

    Exceptions will be made for individuals from high-risk countries who are business travellers, diplomats, repatriated persons, investors and people with scarce and critical skills or participating in professional sporting or cultural events.  

    Business travellers must apply, in writing, to the Minister of Home Affairs and demonstrate reasons for their request to enter South Africa. This application must be sent to [email protected]  and include: 

    1. a copy of passport and/or temporary residence visa; 
    1. proof of business activities to be undertaken in South Africa; 
    1. proof of travel itinerary; and 
    1. proof of address or accommodation in South Africa. 

    They will likewise be subject to the prescribed screening procedure and isolation or quarantine rules, depending on the circumstances. On arrival, they must present a valid certificate of a negative test obtained not more than 72 hours before the date of travel. Failure to present proof of a negative test will require the traveller to quarantine at their own cost. 

  • What are the requirements to enter South Africa?
    • All arrivals must present a valid certificate of a negative COVID-19 PCR test, obtained not more than 72 hours (3 days) from the time of departure from the country of origin to South Africa. The test must be conducted by a certified medical practitioner and the certificate must have the name and signature of the practitioner who conducted the test. 
    • Failure to present proof of a valid and negative test will require the traveller to quarantine at their own cost.  
    • All arrivals will be screened for any COVID-19 symptoms and/or for contact with people who have been infected with the COVID-19 virus.  
    • Should the traveller display any COVID-19–related symptoms or have been in contact with an infected person, they will be expected to take a mandatory COVID-19 test. This test will be at the traveller’s cost. If the COVID-19 test comes back positive, the traveller will be subjected to a 10-day quarantine at a designated site, at the traveller’s cost.  
    • All arrivals must provide proof of accommodation address should they need to self-quarantine at the time of arrival in the country, subject to the accommodation allowing for self-quarantine. 
    • All arrivals will be asked to download the COVID Alert South Africa mobile app. Information on the app can be found here
    • Foreign national arrivals from low- and medium-risk countries will be subject to the prevailing visa requirements. Our understanding of this is that the visa regime that was previously in place stands (e.g. if a 90-day waiver was in place before, it will be reinstated now if the traveller is coming from a low- or medium-risk country). Foreign national arrivals from high-risk countries may enter with an application in compliance with the exemptions laid out by government and then subject to the prevailing visa requirements. 
    • All foreign national arrivals must have travel insurance that covers the cost of any testing or quarantine. 
  • Which countries have been classified as high-risk? Are there different levels of risk and requirements?

    Which countries are allowed to come to South Africa? Are there different levels of risk and requirements?

    Based on the latest WHO criteria on infection and death rates, South Africa has developed a risk categorisation model for different international travellers. This model classifies international travellers according to a scale of high, medium and low risk.  

    High-risk travellers are those who come from countries with higher numbers of COVID-19 infections and reported deaths compared to South Africa. 

    Medium risk travellers are from countries with a relatively equal number of infections and death toll to South Africa. Low-risk travellers originate from countries with lesser number of infections of COVID-19 and death toll than South Africa.

    The list of countries and categorisation will be reviewed every two weeks and updated based on the latest WHO figures.

    Travellers (leisure, corporate and other) from the African continent as well as from medium- and low-risk countries will be allowed into the country subject to the entry requirements (i.e. screening, visas, testing, quarantine).

    Below is the list of countries currently considered high risk, and from which leisure travellers are not allowed:

    Albania ​​​

    Argentina

    Armenia

    Austria

    Bahrain

    Belgium

    Bolivia

    Bosnia and Herzegovina

    Brazil ​​​ ​​​​

    Chile

    ​​​Columbia

    Costa Rica

    Croatia 

    Czech Republic

    Denmark

    Ecuador

    France​​​

    Georgia ​

    Greece

    Guatemala ​

    Guyana​​​

    Honduras

    Hungary

    Iceland

    India

    Iran

    ​​​Iraq

    Ireland

    Israel

    Jamaica

    Jordan

    Kuwait

    Lebanon

    Luxemburg ​​

    Maldives

    Malta

    Mexico

    Moldova

    Montenegro ​​​

    Nepal ​​

    Netherlands 

    North Macedonia

    Oman

    Palestine

    Panama

    Paraguay

    Peru ​​​

    Portugal

    Puerto Rico

    Qatar

    Romania

    Russia

    Slovakia

    Suriname

    Switzerland

    Ukraine

    ​​​United Emirates

    United Kingdom              ​

    USA

    Venezuela

    Exceptions will be made for individuals from high-risk countries who are business travellers with scarce and critical skills, diplomats, repatriated persons, investors and people participating in professional sporting and cultural events.

    If the passport of the traveller from a high-risk country indicates that they have spent 10 days or more in a low-risk country before departure, they will be considered to be arriving from a low-risk country and subject to the low-risk entry requirements.

  • What test results are accepted? (e.g. antibody, viral)

    All arrivals to South Africa (South Africans and foreign nationals) must present a valid certificate of a negative COVID-19 PCR test, obtained not more than 72 hours (3 days) from the time of departure from the country of origin to South Africa. The test must be conducted by a certified medical practitioner and the certificate must have the name and signature of the practitioner who conducted the test. 

    Failure to present a valid and negative test result will require you to quarantine at your own cost, until which time a repeat test can be conducted. 

  • Outbound Requirements

  • What happens if the country in which I’m travelling suddenly moves from low-risk to high-risk?

    We know that airlines from high-risk countries are not necessarily banned and that South Africans will always be allowed to return home, whether or not they are travelling from or through a high-risk country.  

    ASATA is awaiting confirmation on this point, but transit through a high-risk country, where the traveller has not passed through immigration, is not likely to affect entry (for both South African citizens and foreign nationals). Restriction of travellers from high-risk countries is more likely to be based on where the traveller’s passport shows they have resided over the last 10 days. 

  • Which countries currently accept South African Travellers?

    This information will be constantly in flux as countries update entry requirements based on infection rates and reciprocity. The most reliable and up-to-date information will be found from the source (i.e. official government and consular websites). 

    • European Union 
    • United Kingdom 
    • United States 
    • Brazil: entry regulations lift on 29 July. All foreign national arrivals must have travel insurance with a minimum cover of BRL 30 000 (approximately ZAR 90 000). (IATA

    IATA’s COVID-19 Travel Regulations Map is also regularly updated with restrictions per country. However, it is still best to double check this information against what is available from official government sources as IATA cannot guarantee total accuracy given the ever-changing nature of the international response to COVID-19. 

    On borderdata.io you can check countries’ border status based on the borderdata.io method

    borderdata.io manually checks every country’s border status, and define if the border is open, closed or partially closed.

    Search if your preferred airport is open for citizens, tourist or only cargo. If your searched border is closed. Enable the push notifications to be notified of any changes.

  • Are South Africans allowed to travel to and from high-risk countries?

    The regulations allow for South Africans to travel to any country for leisure or corporate.  

    The caveat to this is that they can only travel to countries that accept South Africans.  

    In travel, both source and destination have to give the green light. In this case, South Africa has given the green light, but you would need to look at each destination to see whether they will accept South Africans and under which conditions.  

  • Do South African residents require a 72-hour COVID-19 test prior to departing South Africa?

    South African residents do not require a 72-hour COVID-19 test prior to departing South Africa. At the airport, they will be screened at the airport and anyone exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms will be prohibited from boarding. Departing South Africans should also bring with them a completed exit screening questionnaire

    Any additional requirements will be stipulated by the airline and/or country of destination. This information will be constantly in flux as countries update entry requirements based on infection rates and reciprocity. The most reliable and up-to-date information will be found from the source (i.e. official government and consular websites). 

    IATA’s COVID-19 Travel Regulations Map is also regularly updated with restrictions per country. However, it is still best to double-check this information against what is available from official government sources as IATA cannot guarantee total accuracy given the ever-changing nature of the international response to COVID-19. 

    Travellers should also be aware that testing may be conducted at some international airports.  

  • Where can I get tested in South Africa before I travel? How much does it cost and how quickly will I get the results?

    There are over 200 testing sites across South Africa. Pathcare, Lancet and Ampath all list their testing sites per province along with address, contact information and operating hours. The cost for a Covid-19 test in South Africa is R850 and results take 48-72 hours to process depending on patient priority.

  • Aviation

  • Will airlines be permitted to land in South Africa from high-risk countries?

    Airlines from high-risk countries are not necessarily banned, but their crew will be required to isolate in facilities at designated accommodation at the cost of their employer. 

    Passengers disembarking from flights originating from high-risk countries must be South Africans or in possession of a valid visa. And all arrivals must meet the entry requirements including a valid certificate of a negative COVID-19 PCR test. 

  • Are domestic airlines operating in South Africa?
    • Bram Fischer International Airport
    • Cape Town International Airport**
    • East London Airport
    • George Airport
    • Hoedspruit Airport
    • Kimberly Airport
    • King Shaka International Airport**
    • Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport
    • Lanseria International Airport
    • Margate Airport
    • Mthatha Airport
    • OR Tambo International Airport**
    • Phalaborwa Airport
    • Pietermaritzburg Airport
    • Plettenberg Bay Airport
    • Polokwane Airport
    • Port Elizabeth International Airport
    • Richards Bay Airport
    • Sishen Airport
    • Skukuza Airport
    • Upington International Airport

    Passengers should arrive at the airport at least two hours before a domestic flight to ensure enough time is allocated for screening and operational procedures. Until it is otherwise announced, only passengers are permitted inside the terminal buildings. Passengers with a temperature higher than 38 degrees will not be permitted to enter the airport. Masks must be worn and social distancing of 1,5 metres must be adhered to at all times in the airport.  

    **Additionally open to international air travel  

    Travellers should complete the following screening questionnaires from the Department of Health, to be submitted before all flights:  

  • Which airlines are operating flights to/from South Africa?

    Each airline will have its own threshold for flying to and from South Africa based on demand for seats—which need to be filled on both inbound and outbound legs. For this reason, we may see that not all airlines immediately begin flying to South Africa. Schedules may remain in flux for some time to come as countries, including South Africa, continuously update their list of permitted countries and entry requirements based on infection rates, which will have an impact demand.

    ASATA will update its website with airline information as and when it becomes available. 

    Specific ticket enquiries will need to be taken up with the respective airline.

  • Inbound

  • Is entry based on country of citizenship or residence (or where an individual has visited or transitted through)?

    Entry into South Africa for foreign nationals is based on where the traveller has spent the previous 10 days.   

    If the passport of a foreign national traveller from a high-risk country indicates that they have spent 10 days or more in a low-risk country before departure to South Arica, they will be considered to be arriving from a low-risk country and subject to the low-risk entry requirements. 

    South African citizens and permanent residents will always be allowed to return home, whether or not they are travelling from or through a high-risk country. 

  • What are the exceptions for travellers from high-risk countries and what is the process for entry?

    Exceptions will be made for individuals from high-risk countries who are business travellers, diplomats, repatriated persons, investors and people with scarce and critical skills or participating in professional sporting or cultural events.  

    Business travellers must apply, in writing, to the Minister of Home Affairs and demonstrate reasons for their request to enter South Africa. This application must be sent to [email protected]  and include: 

    1. a copy of passport and/or temporary residence visa; 
    1. proof of business activities to be undertaken in South Africa; 
    1. proof of travel itinerary; and 
    1. proof of address or accommodation in South Africa. 

    They will likewise be subject to the prescribed screening procedure and isolation or quarantine rules, depending on the circumstances. On arrival, they must present a valid certificate of a negative test obtained not more than 72 hours before the date of travel. Failure to present proof of a negative test will require the traveller to quarantine at their own cost. 

  • Are South Africans allowed to travel to and from high-risk countries?

    The regulations allow for South Africans to travel to any country for leisure or corporate.  

    The caveat to this is that they can only travel to countries that accept South Africans.  

    In travel, both source and destination have to give the green light. In this case, South Africa has given the green light, but you would need to look at each destination to see whether they will accept South Africans and under which conditions.  

  • What happens if travelling South Africans transit through a high-risk country on their return to South Africa?

    We know that airlines from high-risk countries are not necessarily banned and that South Africans will always be allowed to return home, whether or not they are travelling from or through a high-risk country.  

    ASATA is awaiting confirmation on this point, but transit through a high-risk country, where the traveller has not passed through immigration, is not likely to affect entry (for both South African citizens and foreign nationals). Restriction of travellers from high-risk countries is more likely to be based on where the traveller’s passport shows they have resided over the last 10 days.  

  • Do returning South Africans require travel insurance to re-enter South Africa from abroad?

    The government announcement on 30 September indicated that all travellers to South Africa are required to have travel insurance to cover the cost of COVID-19 testing and 10-day quarantine so that this burden does not fall on South African taxpayers.  

    The requirement applies to foreign national travellers and South Africans who do not have travel insurance with these covers will not be prohibited from entering the country. However, it is, of course, advisable for South Africans to take out comprehensive travel insurance when travelling abroad during these times. 

  • Terms& Conditions

  • Are suppliers changing their cancellation and booking policies?

    Each supplier (airline, tour operator, etc.) will have its own change and cancellation policies, and many are being more lenient when it comes to deposits or postponements. As a consumer, if you are in a position to postpone rather than cancel, you not only help the supplier and several players along the value chain, but you also keep something to look forward to and don’t have to compromise on your expectations.

    Be sure to read and understand all the terms and conditions of your ticket or booking upfront so that there are no surprises down the line.

  • Insurance

  • How do I pick a travel insurance policy?

    Be sure to check the requirements of your travel destinations as some, like South Africa and Brazil, are requiring that foreign national arrivals have COVID-19 travel insurance. For South African arrivals, it must cover the cost of any testing or quarantine. 

    Travel insurance policies will differ based on factors such as your age, the length of your trip, and what you want to be covered. A standard insurance policy may cover cancellation for events such as the sudden bankruptcy of a travel company, unexpected illness, or a natural disaster or unrest in the destination.  

    When looking for travel insurance that covers COVID-19-related events, consider the following: 

    • Travel medical: cover your expenses if you or a travel companion, such as your spouse or child, contract COVID-19 while travelling and require medical care or evacuation. 
    • Trip cancellation: cover any expenses incurred as a result of cancelling your trip prior to departure because you, or someone you care for, contracted COVID-19. 
    • Trip delay: cover any expenses incurred as a result of changing COVID-19 regulations e.g. travel bans. 

    Most travel insurances will not cover disinclination or fear to travel. The exception is ‘cancel for any reason’ (CFAR) insurance. This is usually available as an optional upgrade to a standard travel insurance plan and may cost up to 50% more than a standard plan. It typically needs to be purchased within one to three weeks from the time you booked your trip or made the initial deposit, and you must cancel your travel 48 hours prior to departure. Often available in two tiers, CFAR insurance can cover you for 50-75% of your total travel costs. However, CFAR is not yet a common insurance product in South Africa.  

    Know that there is no-size-fits-all travel insurance plan and each additional cover comes at a cost. Whichever you choose, be sure to read the full insurance contract before buying to check whether it covers specifics like quarantine, testing, and flight disruptions.  

  • Are South Africans allowed to travel to and from high-risk countries?

    Level 1 FAQs

    General

  • Which international ports are open?

    Johannesburg’s OR Tambo, Durban’s King Shaka and Cape Town International Airports are the only airports that will allow international air travel to arrive or depart.

    All commercial seaports will be opened.

    The 35 land borders that were closed during the previous lockdown levels will remain closed.

    The 18 land borders which were partially operational during the previous lockdown levels will be fully operational (i.e. allow passage of South Africans and permitted foreign nationals). These include:

    COUNTRY PORT HOURS CONTACT
    Zimbabwe Beitbridge Bridge 24 hours Tel & Fax: (015) 530 0070
    Eswatini Oshoek 07:00 – 22:00 Tel: (017) 882 0138/9
    Fax: (017) 819 3481
    Eswatini Mahamba 07:00 – 22:00 Tel: (017) 826 0076
    Fax: 017) 826 0077
    Eswatini Mananga 07:00 – 18:00 Tel: (013) 790 7075
    Fax: (013) 790 0077
    Eswatini Golela 07:00 – 22:00 Tel: (034) 435 1070
    Fax: (034) 435 1048
    Eswatini Jeppes Reef 07:00 – 20:00 Tel: (013) 781 0382
    Fax: (013) 781 0383
    Namibia Nakop 24 hours Tel: (054) 571 0008 / 0077
    Fax: (054) 571 0009
    Namibia Vioolsdrift 24 hours Tel: (027) 761 8760
    Fax: (027) 761 8931
    Mozambique Lebombo 06:00 – 00:00 Tel: (013) 793 7311
    Fax: (013) 793 7091
    Lesotho Caledonspoort 06:00 – 22:00 Tel: (058) 223 8400
    Fax:( 058) 223 1012
    Lesotho Ficksburg Bridge 24 hours Tel:( 051) 933 2760
    Fax: (051) 933 4540
    Lesotho Maseru Bridge 24 hours Tel: (051) 924 4300
    Fax: (051) 924 4000
    Lesotho Quacha’s Nek 06:00 – 22:00 Tel: (039) 256 4391
    Fax: (051) 633 1099
    Lesotho Van Rooyens Gate 06:00 – 22:00 Tel: (051) 583 1525
    Fax: (051) 583 1530
    Botswana Groblersbrug 08:00 – 22:00 Tel: (014) 767 1019
    Fax: (014) 767 1264
    Botswana Kopfontein 06:00 – 24:00 Tel: (018) 365 9055
    Fax: (018) 365 9026
    Botswana Ramatlabama 06:00 – 22:00 Tel: (018) 390 2533
    Fax: (018) 393 0334
    Botswana Skilpadshek 06:00 – 24:00 Tel: (018) 366 0011
    Fax: (018) 366 0012

    Compiled from cross-referencing the list of all ports of entry with the list of closed ports

  • Where can I find a list of international embassies and consulates in South Africa?

    Should a foreign national require assistance in South Africa, a list of all foreign representation in South Africa is available on the Department of International Relations and Cooperation’s website. Diplomatic missions are listed alphabetically by country name.

  • Where can I find a list of South African embassies and consulates abroad?

    Should a South African or foreign national require assistance abroad (e.g. returning home, visa purposes, etc.), a list of all South African representation abroad is available on the Department of International Relations and Cooperation’s website. South African missions abroad are listed alphabetically by the country in which they are located. The individual websites for these embassies, high commissions and consulates abroad are also listed here.

  • Entry Requirements

  • Can an arrival self-quarantine upon entry rather than go to a quarantine facility?

    Returning South Africans who are unable to present a negative test result, or who display symptoms should be able to self-quarantine at home, provided they have access to: 

    • Separate bedroom with an on-suite bathroom and toilet that is not shared with another person. 
    • Prepared meals to be served in the room preferably in disposable utensils alternatively separated and washed properly. 
    • Support from friends or family that can facilitate the drop off of food and medicine at the gate if they are not able to make use of online shopping facilities and contactless deliveries. 
    • Access to a thermometer that will allow for the monitoring of temperature daily. 
    • Access to the internet either through my phone or computer to allow reporting symptoms daily. 
    • Access to a private physician that he or she can contact should he or she be in need of medical advice or care. 
    • No visitors are permitted to visit the quarantined person. 

    Foreign national arrivals may be permitted to self-quarantine at their accommodation, provided it meets the conditions above, but we are awaiting further clarification and confirmation on this point.  

    TBC IF THE APPLICATION FOR SELF-QUARANTINE IS STILL REQUIRED AND IF A FOREIGN NATIONAL CAN SELF-QUARANTINE

  • Is entry based on country of citizenship or residence (or where an individual has visited or transitted through)?

    Entry into South Africa for foreign nationals is based on where the traveller has spent the previous 10 days.   

    If the passport of a foreign national traveller from a high-risk country indicates that they have spent 10 days or more in a low-risk country before departure to South Arica, they will be considered to be arriving from a low-risk country and subject to the low-risk entry requirements. 

    South African citizens and permanent residents will always be allowed to return home, whether or not they are travelling from or through a high-risk country. 

  • What are the exceptions for travellers from high-risk countries and what is the process for entry?

    Exceptions will be made for individuals from high-risk countries who are business travellers, diplomats, repatriated persons, investors and people with scarce and critical skills or participating in professional sporting or cultural events.  

    Business travellers must apply, in writing, to the Minister of Home Affairs and demonstrate reasons for their request to enter South Africa. This application must be sent to [email protected]  and include: 

    1. a copy of passport and/or temporary residence visa; 
    1. proof of business activities to be undertaken in South Africa; 
    1. proof of travel itinerary; and 
    1. proof of address or accommodation in South Africa. 

    They will likewise be subject to the prescribed screening procedure and isolation or quarantine rules, depending on the circumstances. On arrival, they must present a valid certificate of a negative test obtained not more than 72 hours before the date of travel. Failure to present proof of a negative test will require the traveller to quarantine at their own cost. 

  • What are the requirements to enter South Africa?
    • All arrivals must present a valid certificate of a negative COVID-19 PCR test, obtained not more than 72 hours (3 days) from the time of departure from the country of origin to South Africa. The test must be conducted by a certified medical practitioner and the certificate must have the name and signature of the practitioner who conducted the test. 
    • Failure to present proof of a valid and negative test will require the traveller to quarantine at their own cost.  
    • All arrivals will be screened for any COVID-19 symptoms and/or for contact with people who have been infected with the COVID-19 virus.  
    • Should the traveller display any COVID-19–related symptoms or have been in contact with an infected person, they will be expected to take a mandatory COVID-19 test. This test will be at the traveller’s cost. If the COVID-19 test comes back positive, the traveller will be subjected to a 10-day quarantine at a designated site, at the traveller’s cost.  
    • All arrivals must provide proof of accommodation address should they need to self-quarantine at the time of arrival in the country, subject to the accommodation allowing for self-quarantine. 
    • All arrivals will be asked to download the COVID Alert South Africa mobile app. Information on the app can be found here
    • Foreign national arrivals from low- and medium-risk countries will be subject to the prevailing visa requirements. Our understanding of this is that the visa regime that was previously in place stands (e.g. if a 90-day waiver was in place before, it will be reinstated now if the traveller is coming from a low- or medium-risk country). Foreign national arrivals from high-risk countries may enter with an application in compliance with the exemptions laid out by government and then subject to the prevailing visa requirements. 
    • All foreign national arrivals must have travel insurance that covers the cost of any testing or quarantine. 
  • Which countries have been classified as high-risk? Are there different levels of risk and requirements?

    Which countries are allowed to come to South Africa? Are there different levels of risk and requirements?

    Based on the latest WHO criteria on infection and death rates, South Africa has developed a risk categorisation model for different international travellers. This model classifies international travellers according to a scale of high, medium and low risk.  

    High-risk travellers are those who come from countries with higher numbers of COVID-19 infections and reported deaths compared to South Africa. 

    Medium risk travellers are from countries with a relatively equal number of infections and death toll to South Africa. Low-risk travellers originate from countries with lesser number of infections of COVID-19 and death toll than South Africa.

    The list of countries and categorisation will be reviewed every two weeks and updated based on the latest WHO figures.

    Travellers (leisure, corporate and other) from the African continent as well as from medium- and low-risk countries will be allowed into the country subject to the entry requirements (i.e. screening, visas, testing, quarantine).

    Below is the list of countries currently considered high risk, and from which leisure travellers are not allowed:

    Albania ​​​

    Argentina

    Armenia

    Austria

    Bahrain

    Belgium

    Bolivia

    Bosnia and Herzegovina

    Brazil ​​​ ​​​​

    Chile

    ​​​Columbia

    Costa Rica

    Croatia 

    Czech Republic

    Denmark

    Ecuador

    France​​​

    Georgia ​

    Greece

    Guatemala ​

    Guyana​​​

    Honduras

    Hungary

    Iceland

    India

    Iran

    ​​​Iraq

    Ireland

    Israel

    Jamaica

    Jordan

    Kuwait

    Lebanon

    Luxemburg ​​

    Maldives

    Malta

    Mexico

    Moldova

    Montenegro ​​​

    Nepal ​​

    Netherlands 

    North Macedonia

    Oman

    Palestine

    Panama

    Paraguay

    Peru ​​​

    Portugal

    Puerto Rico

    Qatar

    Romania

    Russia

    Slovakia

    Suriname

    Switzerland

    Ukraine

    ​​​United Emirates

    United Kingdom              ​

    USA

    Venezuela

    Exceptions will be made for individuals from high-risk countries who are business travellers with scarce and critical skills, diplomats, repatriated persons, investors and people participating in professional sporting and cultural events.

    If the passport of the traveller from a high-risk country indicates that they have spent 10 days or more in a low-risk country before departure, they will be considered to be arriving from a low-risk country and subject to the low-risk entry requirements.

  • What test results are accepted? (e.g. antibody, viral)

    All arrivals to South Africa (South Africans and foreign nationals) must present a valid certificate of a negative COVID-19 PCR test, obtained not more than 72 hours (3 days) from the time of departure from the country of origin to South Africa. The test must be conducted by a certified medical practitioner and the certificate must have the name and signature of the practitioner who conducted the test. 

    Failure to present a valid and negative test result will require you to quarantine at your own cost, until which time a repeat test can be conducted. 

  • Outbound Requirements

  • What happens if the country in which I’m travelling suddenly moves from low-risk to high-risk?

    We know that airlines from high-risk countries are not necessarily banned and that South Africans will always be allowed to return home, whether or not they are travelling from or through a high-risk country.  

    ASATA is awaiting confirmation on this point, but transit through a high-risk country, where the traveller has not passed through immigration, is not likely to affect entry (for both South African citizens and foreign nationals). Restriction of travellers from high-risk countries is more likely to be based on where the traveller’s passport shows they have resided over the last 10 days. 

  • Which countries currently accept South African Travellers?

    This information will be constantly in flux as countries update entry requirements based on infection rates and reciprocity. The most reliable and up-to-date information will be found from the source (i.e. official government and consular websites). 

    • European Union 
    • United Kingdom 
    • United States 
    • Brazil: entry regulations lift on 29 July. All foreign national arrivals must have travel insurance with a minimum cover of BRL 30 000 (approximately ZAR 90 000). (IATA

    IATA’s COVID-19 Travel Regulations Map is also regularly updated with restrictions per country. However, it is still best to double check this information against what is available from official government sources as IATA cannot guarantee total accuracy given the ever-changing nature of the international response to COVID-19. 

    On borderdata.io you can check countries’ border status based on the borderdata.io method

    borderdata.io manually checks every country’s border status, and define if the border is open, closed or partially closed.

    Search if your preferred airport is open for citizens, tourist or only cargo. If your searched border is closed. Enable the push notifications to be notified of any changes.

  • Are South Africans allowed to travel to and from high-risk countries?

    The regulations allow for South Africans to travel to any country for leisure or corporate.  

    The caveat to this is that they can only travel to countries that accept South Africans.  

    In travel, both source and destination have to give the green light. In this case, South Africa has given the green light, but you would need to look at each destination to see whether they will accept South Africans and under which conditions.  

  • Do South African residents require a 72-hour COVID-19 test prior to departing South Africa?

    South African residents do not require a 72-hour COVID-19 test prior to departing South Africa. At the airport, they will be screened at the airport and anyone exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms will be prohibited from boarding. Departing South Africans should also bring with them a completed exit screening questionnaire

    Any additional requirements will be stipulated by the airline and/or country of destination. This information will be constantly in flux as countries update entry requirements based on infection rates and reciprocity. The most reliable and up-to-date information will be found from the source (i.e. official government and consular websites). 

    IATA’s COVID-19 Travel Regulations Map is also regularly updated with restrictions per country. However, it is still best to double-check this information against what is available from official government sources as IATA cannot guarantee total accuracy given the ever-changing nature of the international response to COVID-19. 

    Travellers should also be aware that testing may be conducted at some international airports.  

  • Where can I get tested in South Africa before I travel? How much does it cost and how quickly will I get the results?

    There are over 200 testing sites across South Africa. Pathcare, Lancet and Ampath all list their testing sites per province along with address, contact information and operating hours. The cost for a Covid-19 test in South Africa is R850 and results take 48-72 hours to process depending on patient priority.

  • Aviation

  • Will airlines be permitted to land in South Africa from high-risk countries?

    Airlines from high-risk countries are not necessarily banned, but their crew will be required to isolate in facilities at designated accommodation at the cost of their employer. 

    Passengers disembarking from flights originating from high-risk countries must be South Africans or in possession of a valid visa. And all arrivals must meet the entry requirements including a valid certificate of a negative COVID-19 PCR test. 

  • Are domestic airlines operating in South Africa?
    • Bram Fischer International Airport
    • Cape Town International Airport**
    • East London Airport
    • George Airport
    • Hoedspruit Airport
    • Kimberly Airport
    • King Shaka International Airport**
    • Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport
    • Lanseria International Airport
    • Margate Airport
    • Mthatha Airport
    • OR Tambo International Airport**
    • Phalaborwa Airport
    • Pietermaritzburg Airport
    • Plettenberg Bay Airport
    • Polokwane Airport
    • Port Elizabeth International Airport
    • Richards Bay Airport
    • Sishen Airport
    • Skukuza Airport
    • Upington International Airport

    Passengers should arrive at the airport at least two hours before a domestic flight to ensure enough time is allocated for screening and operational procedures. Until it is otherwise announced, only passengers are permitted inside the terminal buildings. Passengers with a temperature higher than 38 degrees will not be permitted to enter the airport. Masks must be worn and social distancing of 1,5 metres must be adhered to at all times in the airport.  

    **Additionally open to international air travel  

    Travellers should complete the following screening questionnaires from the Department of Health, to be submitted before all flights:  

  • Which airlines are operating flights to/from South Africa?

    Each airline will have its own threshold for flying to and from South Africa based on demand for seats—which need to be filled on both inbound and outbound legs. For this reason, we may see that not all airlines immediately begin flying to South Africa. Schedules may remain in flux for some time to come as countries, including South Africa, continuously update their list of permitted countries and entry requirements based on infection rates, which will have an impact demand.

    ASATA will update its website with airline information as and when it becomes available. 

    Specific ticket enquiries will need to be taken up with the respective airline.

  • Inbound

  • Is entry based on country of citizenship or residence (or where an individual has visited or transitted through)?

    Entry into South Africa for foreign nationals is based on where the traveller has spent the previous 10 days.   

    If the passport of a foreign national traveller from a high-risk country indicates that they have spent 10 days or more in a low-risk country before departure to South Arica, they will be considered to be arriving from a low-risk country and subject to the low-risk entry requirements. 

    South African citizens and permanent residents will always be allowed to return home, whether or not they are travelling from or through a high-risk country. 

  • What are the exceptions for travellers from high-risk countries and what is the process for entry?

    Exceptions will be made for individuals from high-risk countries who are business travellers, diplomats, repatriated persons, investors and people with scarce and critical skills or participating in professional sporting or cultural events.  

    Business travellers must apply, in writing, to the Minister of Home Affairs and demonstrate reasons for their request to enter South Africa. This application must be sent to [email protected]  and include: 

    1. a copy of passport and/or temporary residence visa; 
    1. proof of business activities to be undertaken in South Africa; 
    1. proof of travel itinerary; and 
    1. proof of address or accommodation in South Africa. 

    They will likewise be subject to the prescribed screening procedure and isolation or quarantine rules, depending on the circumstances. On arrival, they must present a valid certificate of a negative test obtained not more than 72 hours before the date of travel. Failure to present proof of a negative test will require the traveller to quarantine at their own cost. 

  • Are South Africans allowed to travel to and from high-risk countries?

    The regulations allow for South Africans to travel to any country for leisure or corporate.  

    The caveat to this is that they can only travel to countries that accept South Africans.  

    In travel, both source and destination have to give the green light. In this case, South Africa has given the green light, but you would need to look at each destination to see whether they will accept South Africans and under which conditions.  

  • What happens if travelling South Africans transit through a high-risk country on their return to South Africa?

    We know that airlines from high-risk countries are not necessarily banned and that South Africans will always be allowed to return home, whether or not they are travelling from or through a high-risk country.  

    ASATA is awaiting confirmation on this point, but transit through a high-risk country, where the traveller has not passed through immigration, is not likely to affect entry (for both South African citizens and foreign nationals). Restriction of travellers from high-risk countries is more likely to be based on where the traveller’s passport shows they have resided over the last 10 days.  

  • Do returning South Africans require travel insurance to re-enter South Africa from abroad?

    The government announcement on 30 September indicated that all travellers to South Africa are required to have travel insurance to cover the cost of COVID-19 testing and 10-day quarantine so that this burden does not fall on South African taxpayers.  

    The requirement applies to foreign national travellers and South Africans who do not have travel insurance with these covers will not be prohibited from entering the country. However, it is, of course, advisable for South Africans to take out comprehensive travel insurance when travelling abroad during these times. 

  • Terms& Conditions

  • Are suppliers changing their cancellation and booking policies?

    Each supplier (airline, tour operator, etc.) will have its own change and cancellation policies, and many are being more lenient when it comes to deposits or postponements. As a consumer, if you are in a position to postpone rather than cancel, you not only help the supplier and several players along the value chain, but you also keep something to look forward to and don’t have to compromise on your expectations.

    Be sure to read and understand all the terms and conditions of your ticket or booking upfront so that there are no surprises down the line.

  • Insurance

  • How do I pick a travel insurance policy?

    Be sure to check the requirements of your travel destinations as some, like South Africa and Brazil, are requiring that foreign national arrivals have COVID-19 travel insurance. For South African arrivals, it must cover the cost of any testing or quarantine. 

    Travel insurance policies will differ based on factors such as your age, the length of your trip, and what you want to be covered. A standard insurance policy may cover cancellation for events such as the sudden bankruptcy of a travel company, unexpected illness, or a natural disaster or unrest in the destination.  

    When looking for travel insurance that covers COVID-19-related events, consider the following: 

    • Travel medical: cover your expenses if you or a travel companion, such as your spouse or child, contract COVID-19 while travelling and require medical care or evacuation. 
    • Trip cancellation: cover any expenses incurred as a result of cancelling your trip prior to departure because you, or someone you care for, contracted COVID-19. 
    • Trip delay: cover any expenses incurred as a result of changing COVID-19 regulations e.g. travel bans. 

    Most travel insurances will not cover disinclination or fear to travel. The exception is ‘cancel for any reason’ (CFAR) insurance. This is usually available as an optional upgrade to a standard travel insurance plan and may cost up to 50% more than a standard plan. It typically needs to be purchased within one to three weeks from the time you booked your trip or made the initial deposit, and you must cancel your travel 48 hours prior to departure. Often available in two tiers, CFAR insurance can cover you for 50-75% of your total travel costs. However, CFAR is not yet a common insurance product in South Africa.  

    Know that there is no-size-fits-all travel insurance plan and each additional cover comes at a cost. Whichever you choose, be sure to read the full insurance contract before buying to check whether it covers specifics like quarantine, testing, and flight disruptions.  

  • Do South African residents require a 72-hour COVID-19 test prior to departing South Africa?

    Level 1 FAQs

    General

  • Which international ports are open?

    Johannesburg’s OR Tambo, Durban’s King Shaka and Cape Town International Airports are the only airports that will allow international air travel to arrive or depart.

    All commercial seaports will be opened.

    The 35 land borders that were closed during the previous lockdown levels will remain closed.

    The 18 land borders which were partially operational during the previous lockdown levels will be fully operational (i.e. allow passage of South Africans and permitted foreign nationals). These include:

    COUNTRY PORT HOURS CONTACT
    Zimbabwe Beitbridge Bridge 24 hours Tel & Fax: (015) 530 0070
    Eswatini Oshoek 07:00 – 22:00 Tel: (017) 882 0138/9
    Fax: (017) 819 3481
    Eswatini Mahamba 07:00 – 22:00 Tel: (017) 826 0076
    Fax: 017) 826 0077
    Eswatini Mananga 07:00 – 18:00 Tel: (013) 790 7075
    Fax: (013) 790 0077
    Eswatini Golela 07:00 – 22:00 Tel: (034) 435 1070
    Fax: (034) 435 1048
    Eswatini Jeppes Reef 07:00 – 20:00 Tel: (013) 781 0382
    Fax: (013) 781 0383
    Namibia Nakop 24 hours Tel: (054) 571 0008 / 0077
    Fax: (054) 571 0009
    Namibia Vioolsdrift 24 hours Tel: (027) 761 8760
    Fax: (027) 761 8931
    Mozambique Lebombo 06:00 – 00:00 Tel: (013) 793 7311
    Fax: (013) 793 7091
    Lesotho Caledonspoort 06:00 – 22:00 Tel: (058) 223 8400
    Fax:( 058) 223 1012
    Lesotho Ficksburg Bridge 24 hours Tel:( 051) 933 2760
    Fax: (051) 933 4540
    Lesotho Maseru Bridge 24 hours Tel: (051) 924 4300
    Fax: (051) 924 4000
    Lesotho Quacha’s Nek 06:00 – 22:00 Tel: (039) 256 4391
    Fax: (051) 633 1099
    Lesotho Van Rooyens Gate 06:00 – 22:00 Tel: (051) 583 1525
    Fax: (051) 583 1530
    Botswana Groblersbrug 08:00 – 22:00 Tel: (014) 767 1019
    Fax: (014) 767 1264
    Botswana Kopfontein 06:00 – 24:00 Tel: (018) 365 9055
    Fax: (018) 365 9026
    Botswana Ramatlabama 06:00 – 22:00 Tel: (018) 390 2533
    Fax: (018) 393 0334
    Botswana Skilpadshek 06:00 – 24:00 Tel: (018) 366 0011
    Fax: (018) 366 0012

    Compiled from cross-referencing the list of all ports of entry with the list of closed ports

  • Where can I find a list of international embassies and consulates in South Africa?

    Should a foreign national require assistance in South Africa, a list of all foreign representation in South Africa is available on the Department of International Relations and Cooperation’s website. Diplomatic missions are listed alphabetically by country name.

  • Where can I find a list of South African embassies and consulates abroad?

    Should a South African or foreign national require assistance abroad (e.g. returning home, visa purposes, etc.), a list of all South African representation abroad is available on the Department of International Relations and Cooperation’s website. South African missions abroad are listed alphabetically by the country in which they are located. The individual websites for these embassies, high commissions and consulates abroad are also listed here.

  • Entry Requirements

  • Can an arrival self-quarantine upon entry rather than go to a quarantine facility?

    Returning South Africans who are unable to present a negative test result, or who display symptoms should be able to self-quarantine at home, provided they have access to: 

    • Separate bedroom with an on-suite bathroom and toilet that is not shared with another person. 
    • Prepared meals to be served in the room preferably in disposable utensils alternatively separated and washed properly. 
    • Support from friends or family that can facilitate the drop off of food and medicine at the gate if they are not able to make use of online shopping facilities and contactless deliveries. 
    • Access to a thermometer that will allow for the monitoring of temperature daily. 
    • Access to the internet either through my phone or computer to allow reporting symptoms daily. 
    • Access to a private physician that he or she can contact should he or she be in need of medical advice or care. 
    • No visitors are permitted to visit the quarantined person. 

    Foreign national arrivals may be permitted to self-quarantine at their accommodation, provided it meets the conditions above, but we are awaiting further clarification and confirmation on this point.  

    TBC IF THE APPLICATION FOR SELF-QUARANTINE IS STILL REQUIRED AND IF A FOREIGN NATIONAL CAN SELF-QUARANTINE

  • Is entry based on country of citizenship or residence (or where an individual has visited or transitted through)?

    Entry into South Africa for foreign nationals is based on where the traveller has spent the previous 10 days.   

    If the passport of a foreign national traveller from a high-risk country indicates that they have spent 10 days or more in a low-risk country before departure to South Arica, they will be considered to be arriving from a low-risk country and subject to the low-risk entry requirements. 

    South African citizens and permanent residents will always be allowed to return home, whether or not they are travelling from or through a high-risk country. 

  • What are the exceptions for travellers from high-risk countries and what is the process for entry?

    Exceptions will be made for individuals from high-risk countries who are business travellers, diplomats, repatriated persons, investors and people with scarce and critical skills or participating in professional sporting or cultural events.  

    Business travellers must apply, in writing, to the Minister of Home Affairs and demonstrate reasons for their request to enter South Africa. This application must be sent to [email protected]  and include: 

    1. a copy of passport and/or temporary residence visa; 
    1. proof of business activities to be undertaken in South Africa; 
    1. proof of travel itinerary; and 
    1. proof of address or accommodation in South Africa. 

    They will likewise be subject to the prescribed screening procedure and isolation or quarantine rules, depending on the circumstances. On arrival, they must present a valid certificate of a negative test obtained not more than 72 hours before the date of travel. Failure to present proof of a negative test will require the traveller to quarantine at their own cost. 

  • What are the requirements to enter South Africa?
    • All arrivals must present a valid certificate of a negative COVID-19 PCR test, obtained not more than 72 hours (3 days) from the time of departure from the country of origin to South Africa. The test must be conducted by a certified medical practitioner and the certificate must have the name and signature of the practitioner who conducted the test. 
    • Failure to present proof of a valid and negative test will require the traveller to quarantine at their own cost.  
    • All arrivals will be screened for any COVID-19 symptoms and/or for contact with people who have been infected with the COVID-19 virus.  
    • Should the traveller display any COVID-19–related symptoms or have been in contact with an infected person, they will be expected to take a mandatory COVID-19 test. This test will be at the traveller’s cost. If the COVID-19 test comes back positive, the traveller will be subjected to a 10-day quarantine at a designated site, at the traveller’s cost.  
    • All arrivals must provide proof of accommodation address should they need to self-quarantine at the time of arrival in the country, subject to the accommodation allowing for self-quarantine. 
    • All arrivals will be asked to download the COVID Alert South Africa mobile app. Information on the app can be found here
    • Foreign national arrivals from low- and medium-risk countries will be subject to the prevailing visa requirements. Our understanding of this is that the visa regime that was previously in place stands (e.g. if a 90-day waiver was in place before, it will be reinstated now if the traveller is coming from a low- or medium-risk country). Foreign national arrivals from high-risk countries may enter with an application in compliance with the exemptions laid out by government and then subject to the prevailing visa requirements. 
    • All foreign national arrivals must have travel insurance that covers the cost of any testing or quarantine. 
  • Which countries have been classified as high-risk? Are there different levels of risk and requirements?

    Which countries are allowed to come to South Africa? Are there different levels of risk and requirements?

    Based on the latest WHO criteria on infection and death rates, South Africa has developed a risk categorisation model for different international travellers. This model classifies international travellers according to a scale of high, medium and low risk.  

    High-risk travellers are those who come from countries with higher numbers of COVID-19 infections and reported deaths compared to South Africa. 

    Medium risk travellers are from countries with a relatively equal number of infections and death toll to South Africa. Low-risk travellers originate from countries with lesser number of infections of COVID-19 and death toll than South Africa.

    The list of countries and categorisation will be reviewed every two weeks and updated based on the latest WHO figures.

    Travellers (leisure, corporate and other) from the African continent as well as from medium- and low-risk countries will be allowed into the country subject to the entry requirements (i.e. screening, visas, testing, quarantine).

    Below is the list of countries currently considered high risk, and from which leisure travellers are not allowed:

    Albania ​​​

    Argentina

    Armenia

    Austria

    Bahrain

    Belgium

    Bolivia

    Bosnia and Herzegovina

    Brazil ​​​ ​​​​

    Chile

    ​​​Columbia

    Costa Rica

    Croatia 

    Czech Republic

    Denmark

    Ecuador

    France​​​

    Georgia ​

    Greece

    Guatemala ​

    Guyana​​​

    Honduras

    Hungary

    Iceland

    India

    Iran

    ​​​Iraq

    Ireland

    Israel

    Jamaica

    Jordan

    Kuwait

    Lebanon

    Luxemburg ​​

    Maldives

    Malta

    Mexico

    Moldova

    Montenegro ​​​

    Nepal ​​

    Netherlands 

    North Macedonia

    Oman

    Palestine

    Panama

    Paraguay

    Peru ​​​

    Portugal

    Puerto Rico

    Qatar

    Romania

    Russia

    Slovakia

    Suriname

    Switzerland

    Ukraine

    ​​​United Emirates

    United Kingdom              ​

    USA

    Venezuela

    Exceptions will be made for individuals from high-risk countries who are business travellers with scarce and critical skills, diplomats, repatriated persons, investors and people participating in professional sporting and cultural events.

    If the passport of the traveller from a high-risk country indicates that they have spent 10 days or more in a low-risk country before departure, they will be considered to be arriving from a low-risk country and subject to the low-risk entry requirements.

  • What test results are accepted? (e.g. antibody, viral)

    All arrivals to South Africa (South Africans and foreign nationals) must present a valid certificate of a negative COVID-19 PCR test, obtained not more than 72 hours (3 days) from the time of departure from the country of origin to South Africa. The test must be conducted by a certified medical practitioner and the certificate must have the name and signature of the practitioner who conducted the test. 

    Failure to present a valid and negative test result will require you to quarantine at your own cost, until which time a repeat test can be conducted. 

  • Outbound Requirements

  • What happens if the country in which I’m travelling suddenly moves from low-risk to high-risk?

    We know that airlines from high-risk countries are not necessarily banned and that South Africans will always be allowed to return home, whether or not they are travelling from or through a high-risk country.  

    ASATA is awaiting confirmation on this point, but transit through a high-risk country, where the traveller has not passed through immigration, is not likely to affect entry (for both South African citizens and foreign nationals). Restriction of travellers from high-risk countries is more likely to be based on where the traveller’s passport shows they have resided over the last 10 days. 

  • Which countries currently accept South African Travellers?

    This information will be constantly in flux as countries update entry requirements based on infection rates and reciprocity. The most reliable and up-to-date information will be found from the source (i.e. official government and consular websites). 

    • European Union 
    • United Kingdom 
    • United States 
    • Brazil: entry regulations lift on 29 July. All foreign national arrivals must have travel insurance with a minimum cover of BRL 30 000 (approximately ZAR 90 000). (IATA

    IATA’s COVID-19 Travel Regulations Map is also regularly updated with restrictions per country. However, it is still best to double check this information against what is available from official government sources as IATA cannot guarantee total accuracy given the ever-changing nature of the international response to COVID-19. 

    On borderdata.io you can check countries’ border status based on the borderdata.io method

    borderdata.io manually checks every country’s border status, and define if the border is open, closed or partially closed.

    Search if your preferred airport is open for citizens, tourist or only cargo. If your searched border is closed. Enable the push notifications to be notified of any changes.

  • Are South Africans allowed to travel to and from high-risk countries?

    The regulations allow for South Africans to travel to any country for leisure or corporate.  

    The caveat to this is that they can only travel to countries that accept South Africans.  

    In travel, both source and destination have to give the green light. In this case, South Africa has given the green light, but you would need to look at each destination to see whether they will accept South Africans and under which conditions.  

  • Do South African residents require a 72-hour COVID-19 test prior to departing South Africa?

    South African residents do not require a 72-hour COVID-19 test prior to departing South Africa. At the airport, they will be screened at the airport and anyone exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms will be prohibited from boarding. Departing South Africans should also bring with them a completed exit screening questionnaire

    Any additional requirements will be stipulated by the airline and/or country of destination. This information will be constantly in flux as countries update entry requirements based on infection rates and reciprocity. The most reliable and up-to-date information will be found from the source (i.e. official government and consular websites). 

    IATA’s COVID-19 Travel Regulations Map is also regularly updated with restrictions per country. However, it is still best to double-check this information against what is available from official government sources as IATA cannot guarantee total accuracy given the ever-changing nature of the international response to COVID-19. 

    Travellers should also be aware that testing may be conducted at some international airports.  

  • Where can I get tested in South Africa before I travel? How much does it cost and how quickly will I get the results?

    There are over 200 testing sites across South Africa. Pathcare, Lancet and Ampath all list their testing sites per province along with address, contact information and operating hours. The cost for a Covid-19 test in South Africa is R850 and results take 48-72 hours to process depending on patient priority.

  • Aviation

  • Will airlines be permitted to land in South Africa from high-risk countries?

    Airlines from high-risk countries are not necessarily banned, but their crew will be required to isolate in facilities at designated accommodation at the cost of their employer. 

    Passengers disembarking from flights originating from high-risk countries must be South Africans or in possession of a valid visa. And all arrivals must meet the entry requirements including a valid certificate of a negative COVID-19 PCR test. 

  • Are domestic airlines operating in South Africa?
    • Bram Fischer International Airport
    • Cape Town International Airport**
    • East London Airport
    • George Airport
    • Hoedspruit Airport
    • Kimberly Airport
    • King Shaka International Airport**
    • Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport
    • Lanseria International Airport
    • Margate Airport
    • Mthatha Airport
    • OR Tambo International Airport**
    • Phalaborwa Airport
    • Pietermaritzburg Airport
    • Plettenberg Bay Airport
    • Polokwane Airport
    • Port Elizabeth International Airport
    • Richards Bay Airport
    • Sishen Airport
    • Skukuza Airport
    • Upington International Airport

    Passengers should arrive at the airport at least two hours before a domestic flight to ensure enough time is allocated for screening and operational procedures. Until it is otherwise announced, only passengers are permitted inside the terminal buildings. Passengers with a temperature higher than 38 degrees will not be permitted to enter the airport. Masks must be worn and social distancing of 1,5 metres must be adhered to at all times in the airport.  

    **Additionally open to international air travel  

    Travellers should complete the following screening questionnaires from the Department of Health, to be submitted before all flights:  

  • Which airlines are operating flights to/from South Africa?

    Each airline will have its own threshold for flying to and from South Africa based on demand for seats—which need to be filled on both inbound and outbound legs. For this reason, we may see that not all airlines immediately begin flying to South Africa. Schedules may remain in flux for some time to come as countries, including South Africa, continuously update their list of permitted countries and entry requirements based on infection rates, which will have an impact demand.

    ASATA will update its website with airline information as and when it becomes available. 

    Specific ticket enquiries will need to be taken up with the respective airline.

  • Inbound

  • Is entry based on country of citizenship or residence (or where an individual has visited or transitted through)?

    Entry into South Africa for foreign nationals is based on where the traveller has spent the previous 10 days.   

    If the passport of a foreign national traveller from a high-risk country indicates that they have spent 10 days or more in a low-risk country before departure to South Arica, they will be considered to be arriving from a low-risk country and subject to the low-risk entry requirements. 

    South African citizens and permanent residents will always be allowed to return home, whether or not they are travelling from or through a high-risk country. 

  • What are the exceptions for travellers from high-risk countries and what is the process for entry?

    Exceptions will be made for individuals from high-risk countries who are business travellers, diplomats, repatriated persons, investors and people with scarce and critical skills or participating in professional sporting or cultural events.  

    Business travellers must apply, in writing, to the Minister of Home Affairs and demonstrate reasons for their request to enter South Africa. This application must be sent to [email protected]  and include: 

    1. a copy of passport and/or temporary residence visa; 
    1. proof of business activities to be undertaken in South Africa; 
    1. proof of travel itinerary; and 
    1. proof of address or accommodation in South Africa. 

    They will likewise be subject to the prescribed screening procedure and isolation or quarantine rules, depending on the circumstances. On arrival, they must present a valid certificate of a negative test obtained not more than 72 hours before the date of travel. Failure to present proof of a negative test will require the traveller to quarantine at their own cost. 

  • Are South Africans allowed to travel to and from high-risk countries?

    The regulations allow for South Africans to travel to any country for leisure or corporate.  

    The caveat to this is that they can only travel to countries that accept South Africans.  

    In travel, both source and destination have to give the green light. In this case, South Africa has given the green light, but you would need to look at each destination to see whether they will accept South Africans and under which conditions.  

  • What happens if travelling South Africans transit through a high-risk country on their return to South Africa?

    We know that airlines from high-risk countries are not necessarily banned and that South Africans will always be allowed to return home, whether or not they are travelling from or through a high-risk country.  

    ASATA is awaiting confirmation on this point, but transit through a high-risk country, where the traveller has not passed through immigration, is not likely to affect entry (for both South African citizens and foreign nationals). Restriction of travellers from high-risk countries is more likely to be based on where the traveller’s passport shows they have resided over the last 10 days.  

  • Do returning South Africans require travel insurance to re-enter South Africa from abroad?

    The government announcement on 30 September indicated that all travellers to South Africa are required to have travel insurance to cover the cost of COVID-19 testing and 10-day quarantine so that this burden does not fall on South African taxpayers.  

    The requirement applies to foreign national travellers and South Africans who do not have travel insurance with these covers will not be prohibited from entering the country. However, it is, of course, advisable for South Africans to take out comprehensive travel insurance when travelling abroad during these times. 

  • Terms& Conditions

  • Are suppliers changing their cancellation and booking policies?

    Each supplier (airline, tour operator, etc.) will have its own change and cancellation policies, and many are being more lenient when it comes to deposits or postponements. As a consumer, if you are in a position to postpone rather than cancel, you not only help the supplier and several players along the value chain, but you also keep something to look forward to and don’t have to compromise on your expectations.

    Be sure to read and understand all the terms and conditions of your ticket or booking upfront so that there are no surprises down the line.

  • Insurance

  • How do I pick a travel insurance policy?

    Be sure to check the requirements of your travel destinations as some, like South Africa and Brazil, are requiring that foreign national arrivals have COVID-19 travel insurance. For South African arrivals, it must cover the cost of any testing or quarantine. 

    Travel insurance policies will differ based on factors such as your age, the length of your trip, and what you want to be covered. A standard insurance policy may cover cancellation for events such as the sudden bankruptcy of a travel company, unexpected illness, or a natural disaster or unrest in the destination.  

    When looking for travel insurance that covers COVID-19-related events, consider the following: 

    • Travel medical: cover your expenses if you or a travel companion, such as your spouse or child, contract COVID-19 while travelling and require medical care or evacuation. 
    • Trip cancellation: cover any expenses incurred as a result of cancelling your trip prior to departure because you, or someone you care for, contracted COVID-19. 
    • Trip delay: cover any expenses incurred as a result of changing COVID-19 regulations e.g. travel bans. 

    Most travel insurances will not cover disinclination or fear to travel. The exception is ‘cancel for any reason’ (CFAR) insurance. This is usually available as an optional upgrade to a standard travel insurance plan and may cost up to 50% more than a standard plan. It typically needs to be purchased within one to three weeks from the time you booked your trip or made the initial deposit, and you must cancel your travel 48 hours prior to departure. Often available in two tiers, CFAR insurance can cover you for 50-75% of your total travel costs. However, CFAR is not yet a common insurance product in South Africa.  

    Know that there is no-size-fits-all travel insurance plan and each additional cover comes at a cost. Whichever you choose, be sure to read the full insurance contract before buying to check whether it covers specifics like quarantine, testing, and flight disruptions.  

  • Where can I get tested in South Africa before I travel? How much does it cost and how quickly will I get the results?

    Level 1 FAQs

    General

  • Which international ports are open?

    Johannesburg’s OR Tambo, Durban’s King Shaka and Cape Town International Airports are the only airports that will allow international air travel to arrive or depart.

    All commercial seaports will be opened.

    The 35 land borders that were closed during the previous lockdown levels will remain closed.

    The 18 land borders which were partially operational during the previous lockdown levels will be fully operational (i.e. allow passage of South Africans and permitted foreign nationals). These include:

    COUNTRY PORT HOURS CONTACT
    Zimbabwe Beitbridge Bridge 24 hours Tel & Fax: (015) 530 0070
    Eswatini Oshoek 07:00 – 22:00 Tel: (017) 882 0138/9
    Fax: (017) 819 3481
    Eswatini Mahamba 07:00 – 22:00 Tel: (017) 826 0076
    Fax: 017) 826 0077
    Eswatini Mananga 07:00 – 18:00 Tel: (013) 790 7075
    Fax: (013) 790 0077
    Eswatini Golela 07:00 – 22:00 Tel: (034) 435 1070
    Fax: (034) 435 1048
    Eswatini Jeppes Reef 07:00 – 20:00 Tel: (013) 781 0382
    Fax: (013) 781 0383
    Namibia Nakop 24 hours Tel: (054) 571 0008 / 0077
    Fax: (054) 571 0009
    Namibia Vioolsdrift 24 hours Tel: (027) 761 8760
    Fax: (027) 761 8931
    Mozambique Lebombo 06:00 – 00:00 Tel: (013) 793 7311
    Fax: (013) 793 7091
    Lesotho Caledonspoort 06:00 – 22:00 Tel: (058) 223 8400
    Fax:( 058) 223 1012
    Lesotho Ficksburg Bridge 24 hours Tel:( 051) 933 2760
    Fax: (051) 933 4540
    Lesotho Maseru Bridge 24 hours Tel: (051) 924 4300
    Fax: (051) 924 4000
    Lesotho Quacha’s Nek 06:00 – 22:00 Tel: (039) 256 4391
    Fax: (051) 633 1099
    Lesotho Van Rooyens Gate 06:00 – 22:00 Tel: (051) 583 1525
    Fax: (051) 583 1530
    Botswana Groblersbrug 08:00 – 22:00 Tel: (014) 767 1019
    Fax: (014) 767 1264
    Botswana Kopfontein 06:00 – 24:00 Tel: (018) 365 9055
    Fax: (018) 365 9026
    Botswana Ramatlabama 06:00 – 22:00 Tel: (018) 390 2533
    Fax: (018) 393 0334
    Botswana Skilpadshek 06:00 – 24:00 Tel: (018) 366 0011
    Fax: (018) 366 0012

    Compiled from cross-referencing the list of all ports of entry with the list of closed ports

  • Where can I find a list of international embassies and consulates in South Africa?

    Should a foreign national require assistance in South Africa, a list of all foreign representation in South Africa is available on the Department of International Relations and Cooperation’s website. Diplomatic missions are listed alphabetically by country name.

  • Where can I find a list of South African embassies and consulates abroad?

    Should a South African or foreign national require assistance abroad (e.g. returning home, visa purposes, etc.), a list of all South African representation abroad is available on the Department of International Relations and Cooperation’s website. South African missions abroad are listed alphabetically by the country in which they are located. The individual websites for these embassies, high commissions and consulates abroad are also listed here.

  • Entry Requirements

  • Can an arrival self-quarantine upon entry rather than go to a quarantine facility?

    Returning South Africans who are unable to present a negative test result, or who display symptoms should be able to self-quarantine at home, provided they have access to: 

    • Separate bedroom with an on-suite bathroom and toilet that is not shared with another person. 
    • Prepared meals to be served in the room preferably in disposable utensils alternatively separated and washed properly. 
    • Support from friends or family that can facilitate the drop off of food and medicine at the gate if they are not able to make use of online shopping facilities and contactless deliveries. 
    • Access to a thermometer that will allow for the monitoring of temperature daily. 
    • Access to the internet either through my phone or computer to allow reporting symptoms daily. 
    • Access to a private physician that he or she can contact should he or she be in need of medical advice or care. 
    • No visitors are permitted to visit the quarantined person. 

    Foreign national arrivals may be permitted to self-quarantine at their accommodation, provided it meets the conditions above, but we are awaiting further clarification and confirmation on this point.  

    TBC IF THE APPLICATION FOR SELF-QUARANTINE IS STILL REQUIRED AND IF A FOREIGN NATIONAL CAN SELF-QUARANTINE

  • Is entry based on country of citizenship or residence (or where an individual has visited or transitted through)?

    Entry into South Africa for foreign nationals is based on where the traveller has spent the previous 10 days.   

    If the passport of a foreign national traveller from a high-risk country indicates that they have spent 10 days or more in a low-risk country before departure to South Arica, they will be considered to be arriving from a low-risk country and subject to the low-risk entry requirements. 

    South African citizens and permanent residents will always be allowed to return home, whether or not they are travelling from or through a high-risk country. 

  • What are the exceptions for travellers from high-risk countries and what is the process for entry?

    Exceptions will be made for individuals from high-risk countries who are business travellers, diplomats, repatriated persons, investors and people with scarce and critical skills or participating in professional sporting or cultural events.  

    Business travellers must apply, in writing, to the Minister of Home Affairs and demonstrate reasons for their request to enter South Africa. This application must be sent to [email protected]  and include: 

    1. a copy of passport and/or temporary residence visa; 
    1. proof of business activities to be undertaken in South Africa; 
    1. proof of travel itinerary; and 
    1. proof of address or accommodation in South Africa. 

    They will likewise be subject to the prescribed screening procedure and isolation or quarantine rules, depending on the circumstances. On arrival, they must present a valid certificate of a negative test obtained not more than 72 hours before the date of travel. Failure to present proof of a negative test will require the traveller to quarantine at their own cost. 

  • What are the requirements to enter South Africa?
    • All arrivals must present a valid certificate of a negative COVID-19 PCR test, obtained not more than 72 hours (3 days) from the time of departure from the country of origin to South Africa. The test must be conducted by a certified medical practitioner and the certificate must have the name and signature of the practitioner who conducted the test. 
    • Failure to present proof of a valid and negative test will require the traveller to quarantine at their own cost.  
    • All arrivals will be screened for any COVID-19 symptoms and/or for contact with people who have been infected with the COVID-19 virus.  
    • Should the traveller display any COVID-19–related symptoms or have been in contact with an infected person, they will be expected to take a mandatory COVID-19 test. This test will be at the traveller’s cost. If the COVID-19 test comes back positive, the traveller will be subjected to a 10-day quarantine at a designated site, at the traveller’s cost.  
    • All arrivals must provide proof of accommodation address should they need to self-quarantine at the time of arrival in the country, subject to the accommodation allowing for self-quarantine. 
    • All arrivals will be asked to download the COVID Alert South Africa mobile app. Information on the app can be found here
    • Foreign national arrivals from low- and medium-risk countries will be subject to the prevailing visa requirements. Our understanding of this is that the visa regime that was previously in place stands (e.g. if a 90-day waiver was in place before, it will be reinstated now if the traveller is coming from a low- or medium-risk country). Foreign national arrivals from high-risk countries may enter with an application in compliance with the exemptions laid out by government and then subject to the prevailing visa requirements. 
    • All foreign national arrivals must have travel insurance that covers the cost of any testing or quarantine. 
  • Which countries have been classified as high-risk? Are there different levels of risk and requirements?

    Which countries are allowed to come to South Africa? Are there different levels of risk and requirements?

    Based on the latest WHO criteria on infection and death rates, South Africa has developed a risk categorisation model for different international travellers. This model classifies international travellers according to a scale of high, medium and low risk.  

    High-risk travellers are those who come from countries with higher numbers of COVID-19 infections and reported deaths compared to South Africa. 

    Medium risk travellers are from countries with a relatively equal number of infections and death toll to South Africa. Low-risk travellers originate from countries with lesser number of infections of COVID-19 and death toll than South Africa.

    The list of countries and categorisation will be reviewed every two weeks and updated based on the latest WHO figures.

    Travellers (leisure, corporate and other) from the African continent as well as from medium- and low-risk countries will be allowed into the country subject to the entry requirements (i.e. screening, visas, testing, quarantine).

    Below is the list of countries currently considered high risk, and from which leisure travellers are not allowed:

    Albania ​​​

    Argentina

    Armenia

    Austria

    Bahrain

    Belgium

    Bolivia

    Bosnia and Herzegovina

    Brazil ​​​ ​​​​

    Chile

    ​​​Columbia

    Costa Rica

    Croatia 

    Czech Republic

    Denmark

    Ecuador

    France​​​

    Georgia ​

    Greece

    Guatemala ​

    Guyana​​​

    Honduras

    Hungary

    Iceland

    India

    Iran

    ​​​Iraq

    Ireland

    Israel

    Jamaica

    Jordan

    Kuwait

    Lebanon

    Luxemburg ​​

    Maldives

    Malta

    Mexico

    Moldova

    Montenegro ​​​

    Nepal ​​

    Netherlands 

    North Macedonia

    Oman

    Palestine

    Panama

    Paraguay

    Peru ​​​

    Portugal

    Puerto Rico

    Qatar

    Romania

    Russia

    Slovakia

    Suriname

    Switzerland

    Ukraine

    ​​​United Emirates

    United Kingdom              ​

    USA

    Venezuela

    Exceptions will be made for individuals from high-risk countries who are business travellers with scarce and critical skills, diplomats, repatriated persons, investors and people participating in professional sporting and cultural events.

    If the passport of the traveller from a high-risk country indicates that they have spent 10 days or more in a low-risk country before departure, they will be considered to be arriving from a low-risk country and subject to the low-risk entry requirements.

  • What test results are accepted? (e.g. antibody, viral)

    All arrivals to South Africa (South Africans and foreign nationals) must present a valid certificate of a negative COVID-19 PCR test, obtained not more than 72 hours (3 days) from the time of departure from the country of origin to South Africa. The test must be conducted by a certified medical practitioner and the certificate must have the name and signature of the practitioner who conducted the test. 

    Failure to present a valid and negative test result will require you to quarantine at your own cost, until which time a repeat test can be conducted. 

  • Outbound Requirements

  • What happens if the country in which I’m travelling suddenly moves from low-risk to high-risk?

    We know that airlines from high-risk countries are not necessarily banned and that South Africans will always be allowed to return home, whether or not they are travelling from or through a high-risk country.  

    ASATA is awaiting confirmation on this point, but transit through a high-risk country, where the traveller has not passed through immigration, is not likely to affect entry (for both South African citizens and foreign nationals). Restriction of travellers from high-risk countries is more likely to be based on where the traveller’s passport shows they have resided over the last 10 days. 

  • Which countries currently accept South African Travellers?

    This information will be constantly in flux as countries update entry requirements based on infection rates and reciprocity. The most reliable and up-to-date information will be found from the source (i.e. official government and consular websites). 

    • European Union 
    • United Kingdom 
    • United States 
    • Brazil: entry regulations lift on 29 July. All foreign national arrivals must have travel insurance with a minimum cover of BRL 30 000 (approximately ZAR 90 000). (IATA

    IATA’s COVID-19 Travel Regulations Map is also regularly updated with restrictions per country. However, it is still best to double check this information against what is available from official government sources as IATA cannot guarantee total accuracy given the ever-changing nature of the international response to COVID-19. 

    On borderdata.io you can check countries’ border status based on the borderdata.io method

    borderdata.io manually checks every country’s border status, and define if the border is open, closed or partially closed.

    Search if your preferred airport is open for citizens, tourist or only cargo. If your searched border is closed. Enable the push notifications to be notified of any changes.

  • Are South Africans allowed to travel to and from high-risk countries?

    The regulations allow for South Africans to travel to any country for leisure or corporate.  

    The caveat to this is that they can only travel to countries that accept South Africans.  

    In travel, both source and destination have to give the green light. In this case, South Africa has given the green light, but you would need to look at each destination to see whether they will accept South Africans and under which conditions.  

  • Do South African residents require a 72-hour COVID-19 test prior to departing South Africa?

    South African residents do not require a 72-hour COVID-19 test prior to departing South Africa. At the airport, they will be screened at the airport and anyone exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms will be prohibited from boarding. Departing South Africans should also bring with them a completed exit screening questionnaire

    Any additional requirements will be stipulated by the airline and/or country of destination. This information will be constantly in flux as countries update entry requirements based on infection rates and reciprocity. The most reliable and up-to-date information will be found from the source (i.e. official government and consular websites). 

    IATA’s COVID-19 Travel Regulations Map is also regularly updated with restrictions per country. However, it is still best to double-check this information against what is available from official government sources as IATA cannot guarantee total accuracy given the ever-changing nature of the international response to COVID-19. 

    Travellers should also be aware that testing may be conducted at some international airports.  

  • Where can I get tested in South Africa before I travel? How much does it cost and how quickly will I get the results?

    There are over 200 testing sites across South Africa. Pathcare, Lancet and Ampath all list their testing sites per province along with address, contact information and operating hours. The cost for a Covid-19 test in South Africa is R850 and results take 48-72 hours to process depending on patient priority.

  • Aviation

  • Will airlines be permitted to land in South Africa from high-risk countries?

    Airlines from high-risk countries are not necessarily banned, but their crew will be required to isolate in facilities at designated accommodation at the cost of their employer. 

    Passengers disembarking from flights originating from high-risk countries must be South Africans or in possession of a valid visa. And all arrivals must meet the entry requirements including a valid certificate of a negative COVID-19 PCR test. 

  • Are domestic airlines operating in South Africa?
    • Bram Fischer International Airport
    • Cape Town International Airport**
    • East London Airport
    • George Airport
    • Hoedspruit Airport
    • Kimberly Airport
    • King Shaka International Airport**
    • Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport
    • Lanseria International Airport
    • Margate Airport
    • Mthatha Airport
    • OR Tambo International Airport**
    • Phalaborwa Airport
    • Pietermaritzburg Airport
    • Plettenberg Bay Airport
    • Polokwane Airport
    • Port Elizabeth International Airport
    • Richards Bay Airport
    • Sishen Airport
    • Skukuza Airport
    • Upington International Airport

    Passengers should arrive at the airport at least two hours before a domestic flight to ensure enough time is allocated for screening and operational procedures. Until it is otherwise announced, only passengers are permitted inside the terminal buildings. Passengers with a temperature higher than 38 degrees will not be permitted to enter the airport. Masks must be worn and social distancing of 1,5 metres must be adhered to at all times in the airport.  

    **Additionally open to international air travel  

    Travellers should complete the following screening questionnaires from the Department of Health, to be submitted before all flights:  

  • Which airlines are operating flights to/from South Africa?

    Each airline will have its own threshold for flying to and from South Africa based on demand for seats—which need to be filled on both inbound and outbound legs. For this reason, we may see that not all airlines immediately begin flying to South Africa. Schedules may remain in flux for some time to come as countries, including South Africa, continuously update their list of permitted countries and entry requirements based on infection rates, which will have an impact demand.

    ASATA will update its website with airline information as and when it becomes available. 

    Specific ticket enquiries will need to be taken up with the respective airline.

  • Inbound

  • Is entry based on country of citizenship or residence (or where an individual has visited or transitted through)?

    Entry into South Africa for foreign nationals is based on where the traveller has spent the previous 10 days.   

    If the passport of a foreign national traveller from a high-risk country indicates that they have spent 10 days or more in a low-risk country before departure to South Arica, they will be considered to be arriving from a low-risk country and subject to the low-risk entry requirements. 

    South African citizens and permanent residents will always be allowed to return home, whether or not they are travelling from or through a high-risk country. 

  • What are the exceptions for travellers from high-risk countries and what is the process for entry?

    Exceptions will be made for individuals from high-risk countries who are business travellers, diplomats, repatriated persons, investors and people with scarce and critical skills or participating in professional sporting or cultural events.  

    Business travellers must apply, in writing, to the Minister of Home Affairs and demonstrate reasons for their request to enter South Africa. This application must be sent to [email protected]  and include: 

    1. a copy of passport and/or temporary residence visa; 
    1. proof of business activities to be undertaken in South Africa; 
    1. proof of travel itinerary; and 
    1. proof of address or accommodation in South Africa. 

    They will likewise be subject to the prescribed screening procedure and isolation or quarantine rules, depending on the circumstances. On arrival, they must present a valid certificate of a negative test obtained not more than 72 hours before the date of travel. Failure to present proof of a negative test will require the traveller to quarantine at their own cost. 

  • Are South Africans allowed to travel to and from high-risk countries?

    The regulations allow for South Africans to travel to any country for leisure or corporate.  

    The caveat to this is that they can only travel to countries that accept South Africans.  

    In travel, both source and destination have to give the green light. In this case, South Africa has given the green light, but you would need to look at each destination to see whether they will accept South Africans and under which conditions.  

  • What happens if travelling South Africans transit through a high-risk country on their return to South Africa?

    We know that airlines from high-risk countries are not necessarily banned and that South Africans will always be allowed to return home, whether or not they are travelling from or through a high-risk country.  

    ASATA is awaiting confirmation on this point, but transit through a high-risk country, where the traveller has not passed through immigration, is not likely to affect entry (for both South African citizens and foreign nationals). Restriction of travellers from high-risk countries is more likely to be based on where the traveller’s passport shows they have resided over the last 10 days.  

  • Do returning South Africans require travel insurance to re-enter South Africa from abroad?

    The government announcement on 30 September indicated that all travellers to South Africa are required to have travel insurance to cover the cost of COVID-19 testing and 10-day quarantine so that this burden does not fall on South African taxpayers.  

    The requirement applies to foreign national travellers and South Africans who do not have travel insurance with these covers will not be prohibited from entering the country. However, it is, of course, advisable for South Africans to take out comprehensive travel insurance when travelling abroad during these times. 

  • Terms& Conditions

  • Are suppliers changing their cancellation and booking policies?

    Each supplier (airline, tour operator, etc.) will have its own change and cancellation policies, and many are being more lenient when it comes to deposits or postponements. As a consumer, if you are in a position to postpone rather than cancel, you not only help the supplier and several players along the value chain, but you also keep something to look forward to and don’t have to compromise on your expectations.

    Be sure to read and understand all the terms and conditions of your ticket or booking upfront so that there are no surprises down the line.

  • Insurance

  • How do I pick a travel insurance policy?

    Be sure to check the requirements of your travel destinations as some, like South Africa and Brazil, are requiring that foreign national arrivals have COVID-19 travel insurance. For South African arrivals, it must cover the cost of any testing or quarantine. 

    Travel insurance policies will differ based on factors such as your age, the length of your trip, and what you want to be covered. A standard insurance policy may cover cancellation for events such as the sudden bankruptcy of a travel company, unexpected illness, or a natural disaster or unrest in the destination.  

    When looking for travel insurance that covers COVID-19-related events, consider the following: 

    • Travel medical: cover your expenses if you or a travel companion, such as your spouse or child, contract COVID-19 while travelling and require medical care or evacuation. 
    • Trip cancellation: cover any expenses incurred as a result of cancelling your trip prior to departure because you, or someone you care for, contracted COVID-19. 
    • Trip delay: cover any expenses incurred as a result of changing COVID-19 regulations e.g. travel bans. 

    Most travel insurances will not cover disinclination or fear to travel. The exception is ‘cancel for any reason’ (CFAR) insurance. This is usually available as an optional upgrade to a standard travel insurance plan and may cost up to 50% more than a standard plan. It typically needs to be purchased within one to three weeks from the time you booked your trip or made the initial deposit, and you must cancel your travel 48 hours prior to departure. Often available in two tiers, CFAR insurance can cover you for 50-75% of your total travel costs. However, CFAR is not yet a common insurance product in South Africa.  

    Know that there is no-size-fits-all travel insurance plan and each additional cover comes at a cost. Whichever you choose, be sure to read the full insurance contract before buying to check whether it covers specifics like quarantine, testing, and flight disruptions.  

  • Aviation

  • Will airlines be permitted to land in South Africa from high-risk countries?

    Level 1 FAQs

    General

  • Which international ports are open?

    Johannesburg’s OR Tambo, Durban’s King Shaka and Cape Town International Airports are the only airports that will allow international air travel to arrive or depart.

    All commercial seaports will be opened.

    The 35 land borders that were closed during the previous lockdown levels will remain closed.

    The 18 land borders which were partially operational during the previous lockdown levels will be fully operational (i.e. allow passage of South Africans and permitted foreign nationals). These include:

    COUNTRY PORT HOURS CONTACT
    Zimbabwe Beitbridge Bridge 24 hours Tel & Fax: (015) 530 0070
    Eswatini Oshoek 07:00 – 22:00 Tel: (017) 882 0138/9
    Fax: (017) 819 3481
    Eswatini Mahamba 07:00 – 22:00 Tel: (017) 826 0076
    Fax: 017) 826 0077
    Eswatini Mananga 07:00 – 18:00 Tel: (013) 790 7075
    Fax: (013) 790 0077
    Eswatini Golela 07:00 – 22:00 Tel: (034) 435 1070
    Fax: (034) 435 1048
    Eswatini Jeppes Reef 07:00 – 20:00 Tel: (013) 781 0382
    Fax: (013) 781 0383
    Namibia Nakop 24 hours Tel: (054) 571 0008 / 0077
    Fax: (054) 571 0009
    Namibia Vioolsdrift 24 hours Tel: (027) 761 8760
    Fax: (027) 761 8931
    Mozambique Lebombo 06:00 – 00:00 Tel: (013) 793 7311
    Fax: (013) 793 7091
    Lesotho Caledonspoort 06:00 – 22:00 Tel: (058) 223 8400
    Fax:( 058) 223 1012
    Lesotho Ficksburg Bridge 24 hours Tel:( 051) 933 2760
    Fax: (051) 933 4540
    Lesotho Maseru Bridge 24 hours Tel: (051) 924 4300
    Fax: (051) 924 4000
    Lesotho Quacha’s Nek 06:00 – 22:00 Tel: (039) 256 4391
    Fax: (051) 633 1099
    Lesotho Van Rooyens Gate 06:00 – 22:00 Tel: (051) 583 1525
    Fax: (051) 583 1530
    Botswana Groblersbrug 08:00 – 22:00 Tel: (014) 767 1019
    Fax: (014) 767 1264
    Botswana Kopfontein 06:00 – 24:00 Tel: (018) 365 9055
    Fax: (018) 365 9026
    Botswana Ramatlabama 06:00 – 22:00 Tel: (018) 390 2533
    Fax: (018) 393 0334
    Botswana Skilpadshek 06:00 – 24:00 Tel: (018) 366 0011
    Fax: (018) 366 0012

    Compiled from cross-referencing the list of all ports of entry with the list of closed ports

  • Where can I find a list of international embassies and consulates in South Africa?

    Should a foreign national require assistance in South Africa, a list of all foreign representation in South Africa is available on the Department of International Relations and Cooperation’s website. Diplomatic missions are listed alphabetically by country name.

  • Where can I find a list of South African embassies and consulates abroad?

    Should a South African or foreign national require assistance abroad (e.g. returning home, visa purposes, etc.), a list of all South African representation abroad is available on the Department of International Relations and Cooperation’s website. South African missions abroad are listed alphabetically by the country in which they are located. The individual websites for these embassies, high commissions and consulates abroad are also listed here.

  • Entry Requirements

  • Can an arrival self-quarantine upon entry rather than go to a quarantine facility?

    Returning South Africans who are unable to present a negative test result, or who display symptoms should be able to self-quarantine at home, provided they have access to: 

    • Separate bedroom with an on-suite bathroom and toilet that is not shared with another person. 
    • Prepared meals to be served in the room preferably in disposable utensils alternatively separated and washed properly. 
    • Support from friends or family that can facilitate the drop off of food and medicine at the gate if they are not able to make use of online shopping facilities and contactless deliveries. 
    • Access to a thermometer that will allow for the monitoring of temperature daily. 
    • Access to the internet either through my phone or computer to allow reporting symptoms daily. 
    • Access to a private physician that he or she can contact should he or she be in need of medical advice or care. 
    • No visitors are permitted to visit the quarantined person. 

    Foreign national arrivals may be permitted to self-quarantine at their accommodation, provided it meets the conditions above, but we are awaiting further clarification and confirmation on this point.  

    TBC IF THE APPLICATION FOR SELF-QUARANTINE IS STILL REQUIRED AND IF A FOREIGN NATIONAL CAN SELF-QUARANTINE

  • Is entry based on country of citizenship or residence (or where an individual has visited or transitted through)?

    Entry into South Africa for foreign nationals is based on where the traveller has spent the previous 10 days.   

    If the passport of a foreign national traveller from a high-risk country indicates that they have spent 10 days or more in a low-risk country before departure to South Arica, they will be considered to be arriving from a low-risk country and subject to the low-risk entry requirements. 

    South African citizens and permanent residents will always be allowed to return home, whether or not they are travelling from or through a high-risk country. 

  • What are the exceptions for travellers from high-risk countries and what is the process for entry?

    Exceptions will be made for individuals from high-risk countries who are business travellers, diplomats, repatriated persons, investors and people with scarce and critical skills or participating in professional sporting or cultural events.  

    Business travellers must apply, in writing, to the Minister of Home Affairs and demonstrate reasons for their request to enter South Africa. This application must be sent to [email protected]  and include: 

    1. a copy of passport and/or temporary residence visa; 
    1. proof of business activities to be undertaken in South Africa; 
    1. proof of travel itinerary; and 
    1. proof of address or accommodation in South Africa. 

    They will likewise be subject to the prescribed screening procedure and isolation or quarantine rules, depending on the circumstances. On arrival, they must present a valid certificate of a negative test obtained not more than 72 hours before the date of travel. Failure to present proof of a negative test will require the traveller to quarantine at their own cost. 

  • What are the requirements to enter South Africa?
    • All arrivals must present a valid certificate of a negative COVID-19 PCR test, obtained not more than 72 hours (3 days) from the time of departure from the country of origin to South Africa. The test must be conducted by a certified medical practitioner and the certificate must have the name and signature of the practitioner who conducted the test. 
    • Failure to present proof of a valid and negative test will require the traveller to quarantine at their own cost.  
    • All arrivals will be screened for any COVID-19 symptoms and/or for contact with people who have been infected with the COVID-19 virus.  
    • Should the traveller display any COVID-19–related symptoms or have been in contact with an infected person, they will be expected to take a mandatory COVID-19 test. This test will be at the traveller’s cost. If the COVID-19 test comes back positive, the traveller will be subjected to a 10-day quarantine at a designated site, at the traveller’s cost.  
    • All arrivals must provide proof of accommodation address should they need to self-quarantine at the time of arrival in the country, subject to the accommodation allowing for self-quarantine. 
    • All arrivals will be asked to download the COVID Alert South Africa mobile app. Information on the app can be found here
    • Foreign national arrivals from low- and medium-risk countries will be subject to the prevailing visa requirements. Our understanding of this is that the visa regime that was previously in place stands (e.g. if a 90-day waiver was in place before, it will be reinstated now if the traveller is coming from a low- or medium-risk country). Foreign national arrivals from high-risk countries may enter with an application in compliance with the exemptions laid out by government and then subject to the prevailing visa requirements. 
    • All foreign national arrivals must have travel insurance that covers the cost of any testing or quarantine. 
  • Which countries have been classified as high-risk? Are there different levels of risk and requirements?

    Which countries are allowed to come to South Africa? Are there different levels of risk and requirements?

    Based on the latest WHO criteria on infection and death rates, South Africa has developed a risk categorisation model for different international travellers. This model classifies international travellers according to a scale of high, medium and low risk.  

    High-risk travellers are those who come from countries with higher numbers of COVID-19 infections and reported deaths compared to South Africa. 

    Medium risk travellers are from countries with a relatively equal number of infections and death toll to South Africa. Low-risk travellers originate from countries with lesser number of infections of COVID-19 and death toll than South Africa.

    The list of countries and categorisation will be reviewed every two weeks and updated based on the latest WHO figures.

    Travellers (leisure, corporate and other) from the African continent as well as from medium- and low-risk countries will be allowed into the country subject to the entry requirements (i.e. screening, visas, testing, quarantine).

    Below is the list of countries currently considered high risk, and from which leisure travellers are not allowed:

    Albania ​​​

    Argentina

    Armenia

    Austria

    Bahrain

    Belgium

    Bolivia

    Bosnia and Herzegovina

    Brazil ​​​ ​​​​

    Chile

    ​​​Columbia

    Costa Rica

    Croatia 

    Czech Republic

    Denmark

    Ecuador

    France​​​

    Georgia ​

    Greece

    Guatemala ​

    Guyana​​​

    Honduras

    Hungary

    Iceland

    India

    Iran

    ​​​Iraq

    Ireland

    Israel

    Jamaica

    Jordan

    Kuwait

    Lebanon

    Luxemburg ​​

    Maldives

    Malta

    Mexico

    Moldova

    Montenegro ​​​

    Nepal ​​

    Netherlands 

    North Macedonia

    Oman

    Palestine

    Panama

    Paraguay

    Peru ​​​

    Portugal

    Puerto Rico

    Qatar

    Romania

    Russia

    Slovakia

    Suriname

    Switzerland

    Ukraine

    ​​​United Emirates

    United Kingdom              ​

    USA

    Venezuela

    Exceptions will be made for individuals from high-risk countries who are business travellers with scarce and critical skills, diplomats, repatriated persons, investors and people participating in professional sporting and cultural events.

    If the passport of the traveller from a high-risk country indicates that they have spent 10 days or more in a low-risk country before departure, they will be considered to be arriving from a low-risk country and subject to the low-risk entry requirements.

  • What test results are accepted? (e.g. antibody, viral)

    All arrivals to South Africa (South Africans and foreign nationals) must present a valid certificate of a negative COVID-19 PCR test, obtained not more than 72 hours (3 days) from the time of departure from the country of origin to South Africa. The test must be conducted by a certified medical practitioner and the certificate must have the name and signature of the practitioner who conducted the test. 

    Failure to present a valid and negative test result will require you to quarantine at your own cost, until which time a repeat test can be conducted. 

  • Outbound Requirements

  • What happens if the country in which I’m travelling suddenly moves from low-risk to high-risk?

    We know that airlines from high-risk countries are not necessarily banned and that South Africans will always be allowed to return home, whether or not they are travelling from or through a high-risk country.  

    ASATA is awaiting confirmation on this point, but transit through a high-risk country, where the traveller has not passed through immigration, is not likely to affect entry (for both South African citizens and foreign nationals). Restriction of travellers from high-risk countries is more likely to be based on where the traveller’s passport shows they have resided over the last 10 days. 

  • Which countries currently accept South African Travellers?

    This information will be constantly in flux as countries update entry requirements based on infection rates and reciprocity. The most reliable and up-to-date information will be found from the source (i.e. official government and consular websites). 

    • European Union 
    • United Kingdom 
    • United States 
    • Brazil: entry regulations lift on 29 July. All foreign national arrivals must have travel insurance with a minimum cover of BRL 30 000 (approximately ZAR 90 000). (IATA

    IATA’s COVID-19 Travel Regulations Map is also regularly updated with restrictions per country. However, it is still best to double check this information against what is available from official government sources as IATA cannot guarantee total accuracy given the ever-changing nature of the international response to COVID-19. 

    On borderdata.io you can check countries’ border status based on the borderdata.io method

    borderdata.io manually checks every country’s border status, and define if the border is open, closed or partially closed.

    Search if your preferred airport is open for citizens, tourist or only cargo. If your searched border is closed. Enable the push notifications to be notified of any changes.

  • Are South Africans allowed to travel to and from high-risk countries?

    The regulations allow for South Africans to travel to any country for leisure or corporate.  

    The caveat to this is that they can only travel to countries that accept South Africans.  

    In travel, both source and destination have to give the green light. In this case, South Africa has given the green light, but you would need to look at each destination to see whether they will accept South Africans and under which conditions.  

  • Do South African residents require a 72-hour COVID-19 test prior to departing South Africa?

    South African residents do not require a 72-hour COVID-19 test prior to departing South Africa. At the airport, they will be screened at the airport and anyone exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms will be prohibited from boarding. Departing South Africans should also bring with them a completed exit screening questionnaire

    Any additional requirements will be stipulated by the airline and/or country of destination. This information will be constantly in flux as countries update entry requirements based on infection rates and reciprocity. The most reliable and up-to-date information will be found from the source (i.e. official government and consular websites). 

    IATA’s COVID-19 Travel Regulations Map is also regularly updated with restrictions per country. However, it is still best to double-check this information against what is available from official government sources as IATA cannot guarantee total accuracy given the ever-changing nature of the international response to COVID-19. 

    Travellers should also be aware that testing may be conducted at some international airports.  

  • Where can I get tested in South Africa before I travel? How much does it cost and how quickly will I get the results?

    There are over 200 testing sites across South Africa. Pathcare, Lancet and Ampath all list their testing sites per province along with address, contact information and operating hours. The cost for a Covid-19 test in South Africa is R850 and results take 48-72 hours to process depending on patient priority.

  • Aviation

  • Will airlines be permitted to land in South Africa from high-risk countries?

    Airlines from high-risk countries are not necessarily banned, but their crew will be required to isolate in facilities at designated accommodation at the cost of their employer. 

    Passengers disembarking from flights originating from high-risk countries must be South Africans or in possession of a valid visa. And all arrivals must meet the entry requirements including a valid certificate of a negative COVID-19 PCR test. 

  • Are domestic airlines operating in South Africa?
    • Bram Fischer International Airport
    • Cape Town International Airport**
    • East London Airport
    • George Airport
    • Hoedspruit Airport
    • Kimberly Airport
    • King Shaka International Airport**
    • Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport
    • Lanseria International Airport
    • Margate Airport
    • Mthatha Airport
    • OR Tambo International Airport**
    • Phalaborwa Airport
    • Pietermaritzburg Airport
    • Plettenberg Bay Airport
    • Polokwane Airport
    • Port Elizabeth International Airport
    • Richards Bay Airport
    • Sishen Airport
    • Skukuza Airport
    • Upington International Airport

    Passengers should arrive at the airport at least two hours before a domestic flight to ensure enough time is allocated for screening and operational procedures. Until it is otherwise announced, only passengers are permitted inside the terminal buildings. Passengers with a temperature higher than 38 degrees will not be permitted to enter the airport. Masks must be worn and social distancing of 1,5 metres must be adhered to at all times in the airport.  

    **Additionally open to international air travel  

    Travellers should complete the following screening questionnaires from the Department of Health, to be submitted before all flights:  

  • Which airlines are operating flights to/from South Africa?

    Each airline will have its own threshold for flying to and from South Africa based on demand for seats—which need to be filled on both inbound and outbound legs. For this reason, we may see that not all airlines immediately begin flying to South Africa. Schedules may remain in flux for some time to come as countries, including South Africa, continuously update their list of permitted countries and entry requirements based on infection rates, which will have an impact demand.

    ASATA will update its website with airline information as and when it becomes available. 

    Specific ticket enquiries will need to be taken up with the respective airline.

  • Inbound

  • Is entry based on country of citizenship or residence (or where an individual has visited or transitted through)?

    Entry into South Africa for foreign nationals is based on where the traveller has spent the previous 10 days.   

    If the passport of a foreign national traveller from a high-risk country indicates that they have spent 10 days or more in a low-risk country before departure to South Arica, they will be considered to be arriving from a low-risk country and subject to the low-risk entry requirements. 

    South African citizens and permanent residents will always be allowed to return home, whether or not they are travelling from or through a high-risk country. 

  • What are the exceptions for travellers from high-risk countries and what is the process for entry?

    Exceptions will be made for individuals from high-risk countries who are business travellers, diplomats, repatriated persons, investors and people with scarce and critical skills or participating in professional sporting or cultural events.  

    Business travellers must apply, in writing, to the Minister of Home Affairs and demonstrate reasons for their request to enter South Africa. This application must be sent to [email protected]  and include: 

    1. a copy of passport and/or temporary residence visa; 
    1. proof of business activities to be undertaken in South Africa; 
    1. proof of travel itinerary; and 
    1. proof of address or accommodation in South Africa. 

    They will likewise be subject to the prescribed screening procedure and isolation or quarantine rules, depending on the circumstances. On arrival, they must present a valid certificate of a negative test obtained not more than 72 hours before the date of travel. Failure to present proof of a negative test will require the traveller to quarantine at their own cost. 

  • Are South Africans allowed to travel to and from high-risk countries?

    The regulations allow for South Africans to travel to any country for leisure or corporate.  

    The caveat to this is that they can only travel to countries that accept South Africans.  

    In travel, both source and destination have to give the green light. In this case, South Africa has given the green light, but you would need to look at each destination to see whether they will accept South Africans and under which conditions.  

  • What happens if travelling South Africans transit through a high-risk country on their return to South Africa?

    We know that airlines from high-risk countries are not necessarily banned and that South Africans will always be allowed to return home, whether or not they are travelling from or through a high-risk country.  

    ASATA is awaiting confirmation on this point, but transit through a high-risk country, where the traveller has not passed through immigration, is not likely to affect entry (for both South African citizens and foreign nationals). Restriction of travellers from high-risk countries is more likely to be based on where the traveller’s passport shows they have resided over the last 10 days.  

  • Do returning South Africans require travel insurance to re-enter South Africa from abroad?

    The government announcement on 30 September indicated that all travellers to South Africa are required to have travel insurance to cover the cost of COVID-19 testing and 10-day quarantine so that this burden does not fall on South African taxpayers.  

    The requirement applies to foreign national travellers and South Africans who do not have travel insurance with these covers will not be prohibited from entering the country. However, it is, of course, advisable for South Africans to take out comprehensive travel insurance when travelling abroad during these times. 

  • Terms& Conditions

  • Are suppliers changing their cancellation and booking policies?

    Each supplier (airline, tour operator, etc.) will have its own change and cancellation policies, and many are being more lenient when it comes to deposits or postponements. As a consumer, if you are in a position to postpone rather than cancel, you not only help the supplier and several players along the value chain, but you also keep something to look forward to and don’t have to compromise on your expectations.

    Be sure to read and understand all the terms and conditions of your ticket or booking upfront so that there are no surprises down the line.

  • Insurance

  • How do I pick a travel insurance policy?

    Be sure to check the requirements of your travel destinations as some, like South Africa and Brazil, are requiring that foreign national arrivals have COVID-19 travel insurance. For South African arrivals, it must cover the cost of any testing or quarantine. 

    Travel insurance policies will differ based on factors such as your age, the length of your trip, and what you want to be covered. A standard insurance policy may cover cancellation for events such as the sudden bankruptcy of a travel company, unexpected illness, or a natural disaster or unrest in the destination.  

    When looking for travel insurance that covers COVID-19-related events, consider the following: 

    • Travel medical: cover your expenses if you or a travel companion, such as your spouse or child, contract COVID-19 while travelling and require medical care or evacuation. 
    • Trip cancellation: cover any expenses incurred as a result of cancelling your trip prior to departure because you, or someone you care for, contracted COVID-19. 
    • Trip delay: cover any expenses incurred as a result of changing COVID-19 regulations e.g. travel bans. 

    Most travel insurances will not cover disinclination or fear to travel. The exception is ‘cancel for any reason’ (CFAR) insurance. This is usually available as an optional upgrade to a standard travel insurance plan and may cost up to 50% more than a standard plan. It typically needs to be purchased within one to three weeks from the time you booked your trip or made the initial deposit, and you must cancel your travel 48 hours prior to departure. Often available in two tiers, CFAR insurance can cover you for 50-75% of your total travel costs. However, CFAR is not yet a common insurance product in South Africa.  

    Know that there is no-size-fits-all travel insurance plan and each additional cover comes at a cost. Whichever you choose, be sure to read the full insurance contract before buying to check whether it covers specifics like quarantine, testing, and flight disruptions.  

  • Are domestic airlines operating in South Africa?

    Level 1 FAQs

    General

  • Which international ports are open?

    Johannesburg’s OR Tambo, Durban’s King Shaka and Cape Town International Airports are the only airports that will allow international air travel to arrive or depart.

    All commercial seaports will be opened.

    The 35 land borders that were closed during the previous lockdown levels will remain closed.

    The 18 land borders which were partially operational during the previous lockdown levels will be fully operational (i.e. allow passage of South Africans and permitted foreign nationals). These include:

    COUNTRY PORT HOURS CONTACT
    Zimbabwe Beitbridge Bridge 24 hours Tel & Fax: (015) 530 0070
    Eswatini Oshoek 07:00 – 22:00 Tel: (017) 882 0138/9
    Fax: (017) 819 3481
    Eswatini Mahamba 07:00 – 22:00 Tel: (017) 826 0076
    Fax: 017) 826 0077
    Eswatini Mananga 07:00 – 18:00 Tel: (013) 790 7075
    Fax: (013) 790 0077
    Eswatini Golela 07:00 – 22:00 Tel: (034) 435 1070
    Fax: (034) 435 1048
    Eswatini Jeppes Reef 07:00 – 20:00 Tel: (013) 781 0382
    Fax: (013) 781 0383
    Namibia Nakop 24 hours Tel: (054) 571 0008 / 0077
    Fax: (054) 571 0009
    Namibia Vioolsdrift 24 hours Tel: (027) 761 8760
    Fax: (027) 761 8931
    Mozambique Lebombo 06:00 – 00:00 Tel: (013) 793 7311
    Fax: (013) 793 7091
    Lesotho Caledonspoort 06:00 – 22:00 Tel: (058) 223 8400
    Fax:( 058) 223 1012
    Lesotho Ficksburg Bridge 24 hours Tel:( 051) 933 2760
    Fax: (051) 933 4540
    Lesotho Maseru Bridge 24 hours Tel: (051) 924 4300
    Fax: (051) 924 4000
    Lesotho Quacha’s Nek 06:00 – 22:00 Tel: (039) 256 4391
    Fax: (051) 633 1099
    Lesotho Van Rooyens Gate 06:00 – 22:00 Tel: (051) 583 1525
    Fax: (051) 583 1530
    Botswana Groblersbrug 08:00 – 22:00 Tel: (014) 767 1019
    Fax: (014) 767 1264
    Botswana Kopfontein 06:00 – 24:00 Tel: (018) 365 9055
    Fax: (018) 365 9026
    Botswana Ramatlabama 06:00 – 22:00 Tel: (018) 390 2533
    Fax: (018) 393 0334
    Botswana Skilpadshek 06:00 – 24:00 Tel: (018) 366 0011
    Fax: (018) 366 0012

    Compiled from cross-referencing the list of all ports of entry with the list of closed ports

  • Where can I find a list of international embassies and consulates in South Africa?

    Should a foreign national require assistance in South Africa, a list of all foreign representation in South Africa is available on the Department of International Relations and Cooperation’s website. Diplomatic missions are listed alphabetically by country name.

  • Where can I find a list of South African embassies and consulates abroad?

    Should a South African or foreign national require assistance abroad (e.g. returning home, visa purposes, etc.), a list of all South African representation abroad is available on the Department of International Relations and Cooperation’s website. South African missions abroad are listed alphabetically by the country in which they are located. The individual websites for these embassies, high commissions and consulates abroad are also listed here.

  • Entry Requirements

  • Can an arrival self-quarantine upon entry rather than go to a quarantine facility?

    Returning South Africans who are unable to present a negative test result, or who display symptoms should be able to self-quarantine at home, provided they have access to: 

    • Separate bedroom with an on-suite bathroom and toilet that is not shared with another person. 
    • Prepared meals to be served in the room preferably in disposable utensils alternatively separated and washed properly. 
    • Support from friends or family that can facilitate the drop off of food and medicine at the gate if they are not able to make use of online shopping facilities and contactless deliveries. 
    • Access to a thermometer that will allow for the monitoring of temperature daily. 
    • Access to the internet either through my phone or computer to allow reporting symptoms daily. 
    • Access to a private physician that he or she can contact should he or she be in need of medical advice or care. 
    • No visitors are permitted to visit the quarantined person. 

    Foreign national arrivals may be permitted to self-quarantine at their accommodation, provided it meets the conditions above, but we are awaiting further clarification and confirmation on this point.  

    TBC IF THE APPLICATION FOR SELF-QUARANTINE IS STILL REQUIRED AND IF A FOREIGN NATIONAL CAN SELF-QUARANTINE

  • Is entry based on country of citizenship or residence (or where an individual has visited or transitted through)?

    Entry into South Africa for foreign nationals is based on where the traveller has spent the previous 10 days.   

    If the passport of a foreign national traveller from a high-risk country indicates that they have spent 10 days or more in a low-risk country before departure to South Arica, they will be considered to be arriving from a low-risk country and subject to the low-risk entry requirements. 

    South African citizens and permanent residents will always be allowed to return home, whether or not they are travelling from or through a high-risk country. 

  • What are the exceptions for travellers from high-risk countries and what is the process for entry?

    Exceptions will be made for individuals from high-risk countries who are business travellers, diplomats, repatriated persons, investors and people with scarce and critical skills or participating in professional sporting or cultural events.  

    Business travellers must apply, in writing, to the Minister of Home Affairs and demonstrate reasons for their request to enter South Africa. This application must be sent to [email protected]  and include: 

    1. a copy of passport and/or temporary residence visa; 
    1. proof of business activities to be undertaken in South Africa; 
    1. proof of travel itinerary; and 
    1. proof of address or accommodation in South Africa. 

    They will likewise be subject to the prescribed screening procedure and isolation or quarantine rules, depending on the circumstances. On arrival, they must present a valid certificate of a negative test obtained not more than 72 hours before the date of travel. Failure to present proof of a negative test will require the traveller to quarantine at their own cost. 

  • What are the requirements to enter South Africa?
    • All arrivals must present a valid certificate of a negative COVID-19 PCR test, obtained not more than 72 hours (3 days) from the time of departure from the country of origin to South Africa. The test must be conducted by a certified medical practitioner and the certificate must have the name and signature of the practitioner who conducted the test. 
    • Failure to present proof of a valid and negative test will require the traveller to quarantine at their own cost.  
    • All arrivals will be screened for any COVID-19 symptoms and/or for contact with people who have been infected with the COVID-19 virus.  
    • Should the traveller display any COVID-19–related symptoms or have been in contact with an infected person, they will be expected to take a mandatory COVID-19 test. This test will be at the traveller’s cost. If the COVID-19 test comes back positive, the traveller will be subjected to a 10-day quarantine at a designated site, at the traveller’s cost.  
    • All arrivals must provide proof of accommodation address should they need to self-quarantine at the time of arrival in the country, subject to the accommodation allowing for self-quarantine. 
    • All arrivals will be asked to download the COVID Alert South Africa mobile app. Information on the app can be found here
    • Foreign national arrivals from low- and medium-risk countries will be subject to the prevailing visa requirements. Our understanding of this is that the visa regime that was previously in place stands (e.g. if a 90-day waiver was in place before, it will be reinstated now if the traveller is coming from a low- or medium-risk country). Foreign national arrivals from high-risk countries may enter with an application in compliance with the exemptions laid out by government and then subject to the prevailing visa requirements. 
    • All foreign national arrivals must have travel insurance that covers the cost of any testing or quarantine. 
  • Which countries have been classified as high-risk? Are there different levels of risk and requirements?

    Which countries are allowed to come to South Africa? Are there different levels of risk and requirements?

    Based on the latest WHO criteria on infection and death rates, South Africa has developed a risk categorisation model for different international travellers. This model classifies international travellers according to a scale of high, medium and low risk.  

    High-risk travellers are those who come from countries with higher numbers of COVID-19 infections and reported deaths compared to South Africa. 

    Medium risk travellers are from countries with a relatively equal number of infections and death toll to South Africa. Low-risk travellers originate from countries with lesser number of infections of COVID-19 and death toll than South Africa.

    The list of countries and categorisation will be reviewed every two weeks and updated based on the latest WHO figures.

    Travellers (leisure, corporate and other) from the African continent as well as from medium- and low-risk countries will be allowed into the country subject to the entry requirements (i.e. screening, visas, testing, quarantine).

    Below is the list of countries currently considered high risk, and from which leisure travellers are not allowed:

    Albania ​​​

    Argentina

    Armenia

    Austria

    Bahrain

    Belgium

    Bolivia

    Bosnia and Herzegovina

    Brazil ​​​ ​​​​

    Chile

    ​​​Columbia

    Costa Rica

    Croatia 

    Czech Republic

    Denmark

    Ecuador

    France​​​

    Georgia ​

    Greece

    Guatemala ​

    Guyana​​​

    Honduras

    Hungary

    Iceland

    India

    Iran

    ​​​Iraq

    Ireland

    Israel

    Jamaica

    Jordan

    Kuwait

    Lebanon

    Luxemburg ​​

    Maldives

    Malta

    Mexico

    Moldova

    Montenegro ​​​

    Nepal ​​

    Netherlands 

    North Macedonia

    Oman

    Palestine

    Panama

    Paraguay

    Peru ​​​

    Portugal

    Puerto Rico

    Qatar

    Romania

    Russia

    Slovakia

    Suriname

    Switzerland

    Ukraine

    ​​​United Emirates

    United Kingdom              ​

    USA

    Venezuela

    Exceptions will be made for individuals from high-risk countries who are business travellers with scarce and critical skills, diplomats, repatriated persons, investors and people participating in professional sporting and cultural events.

    If the passport of the traveller from a high-risk country indicates that they have spent 10 days or more in a low-risk country before departure, they will be considered to be arriving from a low-risk country and subject to the low-risk entry requirements.

  • What test results are accepted? (e.g. antibody, viral)

    All arrivals to South Africa (South Africans and foreign nationals) must present a valid certificate of a negative COVID-19 PCR test, obtained not more than 72 hours (3 days) from the time of departure from the country of origin to South Africa. The test must be conducted by a certified medical practitioner and the certificate must have the name and signature of the practitioner who conducted the test. 

    Failure to present a valid and negative test result will require you to quarantine at your own cost, until which time a repeat test can be conducted. 

  • Outbound Requirements

  • What happens if the country in which I’m travelling suddenly moves from low-risk to high-risk?

    We know that airlines from high-risk countries are not necessarily banned and that South Africans will always be allowed to return home, whether or not they are travelling from or through a high-risk country.  

    ASATA is awaiting confirmation on this point, but transit through a high-risk country, where the traveller has not passed through immigration, is not likely to affect entry (for both South African citizens and foreign nationals). Restriction of travellers from high-risk countries is more likely to be based on where the traveller’s passport shows they have resided over the last 10 days. 

  • Which countries currently accept South African Travellers?

    This information will be constantly in flux as countries update entry requirements based on infection rates and reciprocity. The most reliable and up-to-date information will be found from the source (i.e. official government and consular websites). 

    • European Union 
    • United Kingdom 
    • United States 
    • Brazil: entry regulations lift on 29 July. All foreign national arrivals must have travel insurance with a minimum cover of BRL 30 000 (approximately ZAR 90 000). (IATA

    IATA’s COVID-19 Travel Regulations Map is also regularly updated with restrictions per country. However, it is still best to double check this information against what is available from official government sources as IATA cannot guarantee total accuracy given the ever-changing nature of the international response to COVID-19. 

    On borderdata.io you can check countries’ border status based on the borderdata.io method

    borderdata.io manually checks every country’s border status, and define if the border is open, closed or partially closed.

    Search if your preferred airport is open for citizens, tourist or only cargo. If your searched border is closed. Enable the push notifications to be notified of any changes.

  • Are South Africans allowed to travel to and from high-risk countries?

    The regulations allow for South Africans to travel to any country for leisure or corporate.  

    The caveat to this is that they can only travel to countries that accept South Africans.  

    In travel, both source and destination have to give the green light. In this case, South Africa has given the green light, but you would need to look at each destination to see whether they will accept South Africans and under which conditions.  

  • Do South African residents require a 72-hour COVID-19 test prior to departing South Africa?

    South African residents do not require a 72-hour COVID-19 test prior to departing South Africa. At the airport, they will be screened at the airport and anyone exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms will be prohibited from boarding. Departing South Africans should also bring with them a completed exit screening questionnaire

    Any additional requirements will be stipulated by the airline and/or country of destination. This information will be constantly in flux as countries update entry requirements based on infection rates and reciprocity. The most reliable and up-to-date information will be found from the source (i.e. official government and consular websites). 

    IATA’s COVID-19 Travel Regulations Map is also regularly updated with restrictions per country. However, it is still best to double-check this information against what is available from official government sources as IATA cannot guarantee total accuracy given the ever-changing nature of the international response to COVID-19. 

    Travellers should also be aware that testing may be conducted at some international airports.  

  • Where can I get tested in South Africa before I travel? How much does it cost and how quickly will I get the results?

    There are over 200 testing sites across South Africa. Pathcare, Lancet and Ampath all list their testing sites per province along with address, contact information and operating hours. The cost for a Covid-19 test in South Africa is R850 and results take 48-72 hours to process depending on patient priority.

  • Aviation

  • Will airlines be permitted to land in South Africa from high-risk countries?

    Airlines from high-risk countries are not necessarily banned, but their crew will be required to isolate in facilities at designated accommodation at the cost of their employer. 

    Passengers disembarking from flights originating from high-risk countries must be South Africans or in possession of a valid visa. And all arrivals must meet the entry requirements including a valid certificate of a negative COVID-19 PCR test. 

  • Are domestic airlines operating in South Africa?
    • Bram Fischer International Airport
    • Cape Town International Airport**
    • East London Airport
    • George Airport
    • Hoedspruit Airport
    • Kimberly Airport
    • King Shaka International Airport**
    • Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport
    • Lanseria International Airport
    • Margate Airport
    • Mthatha Airport
    • OR Tambo International Airport**
    • Phalaborwa Airport
    • Pietermaritzburg Airport
    • Plettenberg Bay Airport
    • Polokwane Airport
    • Port Elizabeth International Airport
    • Richards Bay Airport
    • Sishen Airport
    • Skukuza Airport
    • Upington International Airport

    Passengers should arrive at the airport at least two hours before a domestic flight to ensure enough time is allocated for screening and operational procedures. Until it is otherwise announced, only passengers are permitted inside the terminal buildings. Passengers with a temperature higher than 38 degrees will not be permitted to enter the airport. Masks must be worn and social distancing of 1,5 metres must be adhered to at all times in the airport.  

    **Additionally open to international air travel  

    Travellers should complete the following screening questionnaires from the Department of Health, to be submitted before all flights:  

  • Which airlines are operating flights to/from South Africa?

    Each airline will have its own threshold for flying to and from South Africa based on demand for seats—which need to be filled on both inbound and outbound legs. For this reason, we may see that not all airlines immediately begin flying to South Africa. Schedules may remain in flux for some time to come as countries, including South Africa, continuously update their list of permitted countries and entry requirements based on infection rates, which will have an impact demand.

    ASATA will update its website with airline information as and when it becomes available. 

    Specific ticket enquiries will need to be taken up with the respective airline.

  • Inbound

  • Is entry based on country of citizenship or residence (or where an individual has visited or transitted through)?

    Entry into South Africa for foreign nationals is based on where the traveller has spent the previous 10 days.   

    If the passport of a foreign national traveller from a high-risk country indicates that they have spent 10 days or more in a low-risk country before departure to South Arica, they will be considered to be arriving from a low-risk country and subject to the low-risk entry requirements. 

    South African citizens and permanent residents will always be allowed to return home, whether or not they are travelling from or through a high-risk country. 

  • What are the exceptions for travellers from high-risk countries and what is the process for entry?

    Exceptions will be made for individuals from high-risk countries who are business travellers, diplomats, repatriated persons, investors and people with scarce and critical skills or participating in professional sporting or cultural events.  

    Business travellers must apply, in writing, to the Minister of Home Affairs and demonstrate reasons for their request to enter South Africa. This application must be sent to [email protected]  and include: 

    1. a copy of passport and/or temporary residence visa; 
    1. proof of business activities to be undertaken in South Africa; 
    1. proof of travel itinerary; and 
    1. proof of address or accommodation in South Africa. 

    They will likewise be subject to the prescribed screening procedure and isolation or quarantine rules, depending on the circumstances. On arrival, they must present a valid certificate of a negative test obtained not more than 72 hours before the date of travel. Failure to present proof of a negative test will require the traveller to quarantine at their own cost. 

  • Are South Africans allowed to travel to and from high-risk countries?

    The regulations allow for South Africans to travel to any country for leisure or corporate.  

    The caveat to this is that they can only travel to countries that accept South Africans.  

    In travel, both source and destination have to give the green light. In this case, South Africa has given the green light, but you would need to look at each destination to see whether they will accept South Africans and under which conditions.  

  • What happens if travelling South Africans transit through a high-risk country on their return to South Africa?

    We know that airlines from high-risk countries are not necessarily banned and that South Africans will always be allowed to return home, whether or not they are travelling from or through a high-risk country.  

    ASATA is awaiting confirmation on this point, but transit through a high-risk country, where the traveller has not passed through immigration, is not likely to affect entry (for both South African citizens and foreign nationals). Restriction of travellers from high-risk countries is more likely to be based on where the traveller’s passport shows they have resided over the last 10 days.  

  • Do returning South Africans require travel insurance to re-enter South Africa from abroad?

    The government announcement on 30 September indicated that all travellers to South Africa are required to have travel insurance to cover the cost of COVID-19 testing and 10-day quarantine so that this burden does not fall on South African taxpayers.  

    The requirement applies to foreign national travellers and South Africans who do not have travel insurance with these covers will not be prohibited from entering the country. However, it is, of course, advisable for South Africans to take out comprehensive travel insurance when travelling abroad during these times. 

  • Terms& Conditions

  • Are suppliers changing their cancellation and booking policies?

    Each supplier (airline, tour operator, etc.) will have its own change and cancellation policies, and many are being more lenient when it comes to deposits or postponements. As a consumer, if you are in a position to postpone rather than cancel, you not only help the supplier and several players along the value chain, but you also keep something to look forward to and don’t have to compromise on your expectations.

    Be sure to read and understand all the terms and conditions of your ticket or booking upfront so that there are no surprises down the line.

  • Insurance

  • How do I pick a travel insurance policy?

    Be sure to check the requirements of your travel destinations as some, like South Africa and Brazil, are requiring that foreign national arrivals have COVID-19 travel insurance. For South African arrivals, it must cover the cost of any testing or quarantine. 

    Travel insurance policies will differ based on factors such as your age, the length of your trip, and what you want to be covered. A standard insurance policy may cover cancellation for events such as the sudden bankruptcy of a travel company, unexpected illness, or a natural disaster or unrest in the destination.  

    When looking for travel insurance that covers COVID-19-related events, consider the following: 

    • Travel medical: cover your expenses if you or a travel companion, such as your spouse or child, contract COVID-19 while travelling and require medical care or evacuation. 
    • Trip cancellation: cover any expenses incurred as a result of cancelling your trip prior to departure because you, or someone you care for, contracted COVID-19. 
    • Trip delay: cover any expenses incurred as a result of changing COVID-19 regulations e.g. travel bans. 

    Most travel insurances will not cover disinclination or fear to travel. The exception is ‘cancel for any reason’ (CFAR) insurance. This is usually available as an optional upgrade to a standard travel insurance plan and may cost up to 50% more than a standard plan. It typically needs to be purchased within one to three weeks from the time you booked your trip or made the initial deposit, and you must cancel your travel 48 hours prior to departure. Often available in two tiers, CFAR insurance can cover you for 50-75% of your total travel costs. However, CFAR is not yet a common insurance product in South Africa.  

    Know that there is no-size-fits-all travel insurance plan and each additional cover comes at a cost. Whichever you choose, be sure to read the full insurance contract before buying to check whether it covers specifics like quarantine, testing, and flight disruptions.  

  • Which airlines are operating flights to/from South Africa?

    Level 1 FAQs

    General

  • Which international ports are open?

    Johannesburg’s OR Tambo, Durban’s King Shaka and Cape Town International Airports are the only airports that will allow international air travel to arrive or depart.

    All commercial seaports will be opened.

    The 35 land borders that were closed during the previous lockdown levels will remain closed.

    The 18 land borders which were partially operational during the previous lockdown levels will be fully operational (i.e. allow passage of South Africans and permitted foreign nationals). These include:

    COUNTRY PORT HOURS CONTACT
    Zimbabwe Beitbridge Bridge 24 hours Tel & Fax: (015) 530 0070
    Eswatini Oshoek 07:00 – 22:00 Tel: (017) 882 0138/9
    Fax: (017) 819 3481
    Eswatini Mahamba 07:00 – 22:00 Tel: (017) 826 0076
    Fax: 017) 826 0077
    Eswatini Mananga 07:00 – 18:00 Tel: (013) 790 7075
    Fax: (013) 790 0077
    Eswatini Golela 07:00 – 22:00 Tel: (034) 435 1070
    Fax: (034) 435 1048
    Eswatini Jeppes Reef 07:00 – 20:00 Tel: (013) 781 0382
    Fax: (013) 781 0383
    Namibia Nakop 24 hours Tel: (054) 571 0008 / 0077
    Fax: (054) 571 0009
    Namibia Vioolsdrift 24 hours Tel: (027) 761 8760
    Fax: (027) 761 8931
    Mozambique Lebombo 06:00 – 00:00 Tel: (013) 793 7311
    Fax: (013) 793 7091
    Lesotho Caledonspoort 06:00 – 22:00 Tel: (058) 223 8400
    Fax:( 058) 223 1012
    Lesotho Ficksburg Bridge 24 hours Tel:( 051) 933 2760
    Fax: (051) 933 4540
    Lesotho Maseru Bridge 24 hours Tel: (051) 924 4300
    Fax: (051) 924 4000
    Lesotho Quacha’s Nek 06:00 – 22:00 Tel: (039) 256 4391
    Fax: (051) 633 1099
    Lesotho Van Rooyens Gate 06:00 – 22:00 Tel: (051) 583 1525
    Fax: (051) 583 1530
    Botswana Groblersbrug 08:00 – 22:00 Tel: (014) 767 1019
    Fax: (014) 767 1264
    Botswana Kopfontein 06:00 – 24:00 Tel: (018) 365 9055
    Fax: (018) 365 9026
    Botswana Ramatlabama 06:00 – 22:00 Tel: (018) 390 2533
    Fax: (018) 393 0334
    Botswana Skilpadshek 06:00 – 24:00 Tel: (018) 366 0011
    Fax: (018) 366 0012

    Compiled from cross-referencing the list of all ports of entry with the list of closed ports

  • Where can I find a list of international embassies and consulates in South Africa?

    Should a foreign national require assistance in South Africa, a list of all foreign representation in South Africa is available on the Department of International Relations and Cooperation’s website. Diplomatic missions are listed alphabetically by country name.

  • Where can I find a list of South African embassies and consulates abroad?

    Should a South African or foreign national require assistance abroad (e.g. returning home, visa purposes, etc.), a list of all South African representation abroad is available on the Department of International Relations and Cooperation’s website. South African missions abroad are listed alphabetically by the country in which they are located. The individual websites for these embassies, high commissions and consulates abroad are also listed here.

  • Entry Requirements

  • Can an arrival self-quarantine upon entry rather than go to a quarantine facility?

    Returning South Africans who are unable to present a negative test result, or who display symptoms should be able to self-quarantine at home, provided they have access to: 

    • Separate bedroom with an on-suite bathroom and toilet that is not shared with another person. 
    • Prepared meals to be served in the room preferably in disposable utensils alternatively separated and washed properly. 
    • Support from friends or family that can facilitate the drop off of food and medicine at the gate if they are not able to make use of online shopping facilities and contactless deliveries. 
    • Access to a thermometer that will allow for the monitoring of temperature daily. 
    • Access to the internet either through my phone or computer to allow reporting symptoms daily. 
    • Access to a private physician that he or she can contact should he or she be in need of medical advice or care. 
    • No visitors are permitted to visit the quarantined person. 

    Foreign national arrivals may be permitted to self-quarantine at their accommodation, provided it meets the conditions above, but we are awaiting further clarification and confirmation on this point.  

    TBC IF THE APPLICATION FOR SELF-QUARANTINE IS STILL REQUIRED AND IF A FOREIGN NATIONAL CAN SELF-QUARANTINE

  • Is entry based on country of citizenship or residence (or where an individual has visited or transitted through)?

    Entry into South Africa for foreign nationals is based on where the traveller has spent the previous 10 days.   

    If the passport of a foreign national traveller from a high-risk country indicates that they have spent 10 days or more in a low-risk country before departure to South Arica, they will be considered to be arriving from a low-risk country and subject to the low-risk entry requirements. 

    South African citizens and permanent residents will always be allowed to return home, whether or not they are travelling from or through a high-risk country. 

  • What are the exceptions for travellers from high-risk countries and what is the process for entry?

    Exceptions will be made for individuals from high-risk countries who are business travellers, diplomats, repatriated persons, investors and people with scarce and critical skills or participating in professional sporting or cultural events.  

    Business travellers must apply, in writing, to the Minister of Home Affairs and demonstrate reasons for their request to enter South Africa. This application must be sent to [email protected]  and include: 

    1. a copy of passport and/or temporary residence visa; 
    1. proof of business activities to be undertaken in South Africa; 
    1. proof of travel itinerary; and 
    1. proof of address or accommodation in South Africa. 

    They will likewise be subject to the prescribed screening procedure and isolation or quarantine rules, depending on the circumstances. On arrival, they must present a valid certificate of a negative test obtained not more than 72 hours before the date of travel. Failure to present proof of a negative test will require the traveller to quarantine at their own cost. 

  • What are the requirements to enter South Africa?
    • All arrivals must present a valid certificate of a negative COVID-19 PCR test, obtained not more than 72 hours (3 days) from the time of departure from the country of origin to South Africa. The test must be conducted by a certified medical practitioner and the certificate must have the name and signature of the practitioner who conducted the test. 
    • Failure to present proof of a valid and negative test will require the traveller to quarantine at their own cost.  
    • All arrivals will be screened for any COVID-19 symptoms and/or for contact with people who have been infected with the COVID-19 virus.  
    • Should the traveller display any COVID-19–related symptoms or have been in contact with an infected person, they will be expected to take a mandatory COVID-19 test. This test will be at the traveller’s cost. If the COVID-19 test comes back positive, the traveller will be subjected to a 10-day quarantine at a designated site, at the traveller’s cost.  
    • All arrivals must provide proof of accommodation address should they need to self-quarantine at the time of arrival in the country, subject to the accommodation allowing for self-quarantine. 
    • All arrivals will be asked to download the COVID Alert South Africa mobile app. Information on the app can be found here
    • Foreign national arrivals from low- and medium-risk countries will be subject to the prevailing visa requirements. Our understanding of this is that the visa regime that was previously in place stands (e.g. if a 90-day waiver was in place before, it will be reinstated now if the traveller is coming from a low- or medium-risk country). Foreign national arrivals from high-risk countries may enter with an application in compliance with the exemptions laid out by government and then subject to the prevailing visa requirements. 
    • All foreign national arrivals must have travel insurance that covers the cost of any testing or quarantine. 
  • Which countries have been classified as high-risk? Are there different levels of risk and requirements?

    Which countries are allowed to come to South Africa? Are there different levels of risk and requirements?

    Based on the latest WHO criteria on infection and death rates, South Africa has developed a risk categorisation model for different international travellers. This model classifies international travellers according to a scale of high, medium and low risk.  

    High-risk travellers are those who come from countries with higher numbers of COVID-19 infections and reported deaths compared to South Africa. 

    Medium risk travellers are from countries with a relatively equal number of infections and death toll to South Africa. Low-risk travellers originate from countries with lesser number of infections of COVID-19 and death toll than South Africa.

    The list of countries and categorisation will be reviewed every two weeks and updated based on the latest WHO figures.

    Travellers (leisure, corporate and other) from the African continent as well as from medium- and low-risk countries will be allowed into the country subject to the entry requirements (i.e. screening, visas, testing, quarantine).

    Below is the list of countries currently considered high risk, and from which leisure travellers are not allowed:

    Albania ​​​

    Argentina

    Armenia

    Austria

    Bahrain

    Belgium

    Bolivia

    Bosnia and Herzegovina

    Brazil ​​​ ​​​​

    Chile

    ​​​Columbia

    Costa Rica

    Croatia 

    Czech Republic

    Denmark

    Ecuador

    France​​​

    Georgia ​

    Greece

    Guatemala ​

    Guyana​​​

    Honduras

    Hungary

    Iceland

    India

    Iran

    ​​​Iraq

    Ireland

    Israel

    Jamaica

    Jordan

    Kuwait

    Lebanon

    Luxemburg ​​

    Maldives

    Malta

    Mexico

    Moldova

    Montenegro ​​​

    Nepal ​​

    Netherlands 

    North Macedonia

    Oman

    Palestine

    Panama

    Paraguay

    Peru ​​​

    Portugal

    Puerto Rico

    Qatar

    Romania

    Russia

    Slovakia

    Suriname

    Switzerland

    Ukraine

    ​​​United Emirates

    United Kingdom              ​

    USA

    Venezuela

    Exceptions will be made for individuals from high-risk countries who are business travellers with scarce and critical skills, diplomats, repatriated persons, investors and people participating in professional sporting and cultural events.

    If the passport of the traveller from a high-risk country indicates that they have spent 10 days or more in a low-risk country before departure, they will be considered to be arriving from a low-risk country and subject to the low-risk entry requirements.

  • What test results are accepted? (e.g. antibody, viral)

    All arrivals to South Africa (South Africans and foreign nationals) must present a valid certificate of a negative COVID-19 PCR test, obtained not more than 72 hours (3 days) from the time of departure from the country of origin to South Africa. The test must be conducted by a certified medical practitioner and the certificate must have the name and signature of the practitioner who conducted the test. 

    Failure to present a valid and negative test result will require you to quarantine at your own cost, until which time a repeat test can be conducted. 

  • Outbound Requirements

  • What happens if the country in which I’m travelling suddenly moves from low-risk to high-risk?

    We know that airlines from high-risk countries are not necessarily banned and that South Africans will always be allowed to return home, whether or not they are travelling from or through a high-risk country.  

    ASATA is awaiting confirmation on this point, but transit through a high-risk country, where the traveller has not passed through immigration, is not likely to affect entry (for both South African citizens and foreign nationals). Restriction of travellers from high-risk countries is more likely to be based on where the traveller’s passport shows they have resided over the last 10 days. 

  • Which countries currently accept South African Travellers?

    This information will be constantly in flux as countries update entry requirements based on infection rates and reciprocity. The most reliable and up-to-date information will be found from the source (i.e. official government and consular websites). 

    • European Union 
    • United Kingdom 
    • United States 
    • Brazil: entry regulations lift on 29 July. All foreign national arrivals must have travel insurance with a minimum cover of BRL 30 000 (approximately ZAR 90 000). (IATA

    IATA’s COVID-19 Travel Regulations Map is also regularly updated with restrictions per country. However, it is still best to double check this information against what is available from official government sources as IATA cannot guarantee total accuracy given the ever-changing nature of the international response to COVID-19. 

    On borderdata.io you can check countries’ border status based on the borderdata.io method

    borderdata.io manually checks every country’s border status, and define if the border is open, closed or partially closed.

    Search if your preferred airport is open for citizens, tourist or only cargo. If your searched border is closed. Enable the push notifications to be notified of any changes.

  • Are South Africans allowed to travel to and from high-risk countries?

    The regulations allow for South Africans to travel to any country for leisure or corporate.  

    The caveat to this is that they can only travel to countries that accept South Africans.  

    In travel, both source and destination have to give the green light. In this case, South Africa has given the green light, but you would need to look at each destination to see whether they will accept South Africans and under which conditions.  

  • Do South African residents require a 72-hour COVID-19 test prior to departing South Africa?

    South African residents do not require a 72-hour COVID-19 test prior to departing South Africa. At the airport, they will be screened at the airport and anyone exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms will be prohibited from boarding. Departing South Africans should also bring with them a completed exit screening questionnaire

    Any additional requirements will be stipulated by the airline and/or country of destination. This information will be constantly in flux as countries update entry requirements based on infection rates and reciprocity. The most reliable and up-to-date information will be found from the source (i.e. official government and consular websites). 

    IATA’s COVID-19 Travel Regulations Map is also regularly updated with restrictions per country. However, it is still best to double-check this information against what is available from official government sources as IATA cannot guarantee total accuracy given the ever-changing nature of the international response to COVID-19. 

    Travellers should also be aware that testing may be conducted at some international airports.  

  • Where can I get tested in South Africa before I travel? How much does it cost and how quickly will I get the results?

    There are over 200 testing sites across South Africa. Pathcare, Lancet and Ampath all list their testing sites per province along with address, contact information and operating hours. The cost for a Covid-19 test in South Africa is R850 and results take 48-72 hours to process depending on patient priority.

  • Aviation

  • Will airlines be permitted to land in South Africa from high-risk countries?

    Airlines from high-risk countries are not necessarily banned, but their crew will be required to isolate in facilities at designated accommodation at the cost of their employer. 

    Passengers disembarking from flights originating from high-risk countries must be South Africans or in possession of a valid visa. And all arrivals must meet the entry requirements including a valid certificate of a negative COVID-19 PCR test. 

  • Are domestic airlines operating in South Africa?
    • Bram Fischer International Airport
    • Cape Town International Airport**
    • East London Airport
    • George Airport
    • Hoedspruit Airport
    • Kimberly Airport
    • King Shaka International Airport**
    • Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport
    • Lanseria International Airport
    • Margate Airport
    • Mthatha Airport
    • OR Tambo International Airport**
    • Phalaborwa Airport
    • Pietermaritzburg Airport
    • Plettenberg Bay Airport
    • Polokwane Airport
    • Port Elizabeth International Airport
    • Richards Bay Airport
    • Sishen Airport
    • Skukuza Airport
    • Upington International Airport

    Passengers should arrive at the airport at least two hours before a domestic flight to ensure enough time is allocated for screening and operational procedures. Until it is otherwise announced, only passengers are permitted inside the terminal buildings. Passengers with a temperature higher than 38 degrees will not be permitted to enter the airport. Masks must be worn and social distancing of 1,5 metres must be adhered to at all times in the airport.  

    **Additionally open to international air travel  

    Travellers should complete the following screening questionnaires from the Department of Health, to be submitted before all flights:  

  • Which airlines are operating flights to/from South Africa?

    Each airline will have its own threshold for flying to and from South Africa based on demand for seats—which need to be filled on both inbound and outbound legs. For this reason, we may see that not all airlines immediately begin flying to South Africa. Schedules may remain in flux for some time to come as countries, including South Africa, continuously update their list of permitted countries and entry requirements based on infection rates, which will have an impact demand.

    ASATA will update its website with airline information as and when it becomes available. 

    Specific ticket enquiries will need to be taken up with the respective airline.

  • Inbound

  • Is entry based on country of citizenship or residence (or where an individual has visited or transitted through)?

    Entry into South Africa for foreign nationals is based on where the traveller has spent the previous 10 days.   

    If the passport of a foreign national traveller from a high-risk country indicates that they have spent 10 days or more in a low-risk country before departure to South Arica, they will be considered to be arriving from a low-risk country and subject to the low-risk entry requirements. 

    South African citizens and permanent residents will always be allowed to return home, whether or not they are travelling from or through a high-risk country. 

  • What are the exceptions for travellers from high-risk countries and what is the process for entry?

    Exceptions will be made for individuals from high-risk countries who are business travellers, diplomats, repatriated persons, investors and people with scarce and critical skills or participating in professional sporting or cultural events.  

    Business travellers must apply, in writing, to the Minister of Home Affairs and demonstrate reasons for their request to enter South Africa. This application must be sent to [email protected]  and include: 

    1. a copy of passport and/or temporary residence visa; 
    1. proof of business activities to be undertaken in South Africa; 
    1. proof of travel itinerary; and 
    1. proof of address or accommodation in South Africa. 

    They will likewise be subject to the prescribed screening procedure and isolation or quarantine rules, depending on the circumstances. On arrival, they must present a valid certificate of a negative test obtained not more than 72 hours before the date of travel. Failure to present proof of a negative test will require the traveller to quarantine at their own cost. 

  • Are South Africans allowed to travel to and from high-risk countries?

    The regulations allow for South Africans to travel to any country for leisure or corporate.  

    The caveat to this is that they can only travel to countries that accept South Africans.  

    In travel, both source and destination have to give the green light. In this case, South Africa has given the green light, but you would need to look at each destination to see whether they will accept South Africans and under which conditions.  

  • What happens if travelling South Africans transit through a high-risk country on their return to South Africa?

    We know that airlines from high-risk countries are not necessarily banned and that South Africans will always be allowed to return home, whether or not they are travelling from or through a high-risk country.  

    ASATA is awaiting confirmation on this point, but transit through a high-risk country, where the traveller has not passed through immigration, is not likely to affect entry (for both South African citizens and foreign nationals). Restriction of travellers from high-risk countries is more likely to be based on where the traveller’s passport shows they have resided over the last 10 days.  

  • Do returning South Africans require travel insurance to re-enter South Africa from abroad?

    The government announcement on 30 September indicated that all travellers to South Africa are required to have travel insurance to cover the cost of COVID-19 testing and 10-day quarantine so that this burden does not fall on South African taxpayers.  

    The requirement applies to foreign national travellers and South Africans who do not have travel insurance with these covers will not be prohibited from entering the country. However, it is, of course, advisable for South Africans to take out comprehensive travel insurance when travelling abroad during these times. 

  • Terms& Conditions

  • Are suppliers changing their cancellation and booking policies?

    Each supplier (airline, tour operator, etc.) will have its own change and cancellation policies, and many are being more lenient when it comes to deposits or postponements. As a consumer, if you are in a position to postpone rather than cancel, you not only help the supplier and several players along the value chain, but you also keep something to look forward to and don’t have to compromise on your expectations.

    Be sure to read and understand all the terms and conditions of your ticket or booking upfront so that there are no surprises down the line.

  • Insurance

  • How do I pick a travel insurance policy?

    Be sure to check the requirements of your travel destinations as some, like South Africa and Brazil, are requiring that foreign national arrivals have COVID-19 travel insurance. For South African arrivals, it must cover the cost of any testing or quarantine. 

    Travel insurance policies will differ based on factors such as your age, the length of your trip, and what you want to be covered. A standard insurance policy may cover cancellation for events such as the sudden bankruptcy of a travel company, unexpected illness, or a natural disaster or unrest in the destination.  

    When looking for travel insurance that covers COVID-19-related events, consider the following: 

    • Travel medical: cover your expenses if you or a travel companion, such as your spouse or child, contract COVID-19 while travelling and require medical care or evacuation. 
    • Trip cancellation: cover any expenses incurred as a result of cancelling your trip prior to departure because you, or someone you care for, contracted COVID-19. 
    • Trip delay: cover any expenses incurred as a result of changing COVID-19 regulations e.g. travel bans. 

    Most travel insurances will not cover disinclination or fear to travel. The exception is ‘cancel for any reason’ (CFAR) insurance. This is usually available as an optional upgrade to a standard travel insurance plan and may cost up to 50% more than a standard plan. It typically needs to be purchased within one to three weeks from the time you booked your trip or made the initial deposit, and you must cancel your travel 48 hours prior to departure. Often available in two tiers, CFAR insurance can cover you for 50-75% of your total travel costs. However, CFAR is not yet a common insurance product in South Africa.  

    Know that there is no-size-fits-all travel insurance plan and each additional cover comes at a cost. Whichever you choose, be sure to read the full insurance contract before buying to check whether it covers specifics like quarantine, testing, and flight disruptions.  

  • Inbound

  • Is entry based on country of citizenship or residence (or where an individual has visited or transitted through)?

    Level 1 FAQs

    General

  • Which international ports are open?

    Johannesburg’s OR Tambo, Durban’s King Shaka and Cape Town International Airports are the only airports that will allow international air travel to arrive or depart.

    All commercial seaports will be opened.

    The 35 land borders that were closed during the previous lockdown levels will remain closed.

    The 18 land borders which were partially operational during the previous lockdown levels will be fully operational (i.e. allow passage of South Africans and permitted foreign nationals). These include:

    COUNTRY PORT HOURS CONTACT
    Zimbabwe Beitbridge Bridge 24 hours Tel & Fax: (015) 530 0070
    Eswatini Oshoek 07:00 – 22:00 Tel: (017) 882 0138/9
    Fax: (017) 819 3481
    Eswatini Mahamba 07:00 – 22:00 Tel: (017) 826 0076
    Fax: 017) 826 0077
    Eswatini Mananga 07:00 – 18:00 Tel: (013) 790 7075
    Fax: (013) 790 0077
    Eswatini Golela 07:00 – 22:00 Tel: (034) 435 1070
    Fax: (034) 435 1048
    Eswatini Jeppes Reef 07:00 – 20:00 Tel: (013) 781 0382
    Fax: (013) 781 0383
    Namibia Nakop 24 hours Tel: (054) 571 0008 / 0077
    Fax: (054) 571 0009
    Namibia Vioolsdrift 24 hours Tel: (027) 761 8760
    Fax: (027) 761 8931
    Mozambique Lebombo 06:00 – 00:00 Tel: (013) 793 7311
    Fax: (013) 793 7091
    Lesotho Caledonspoort 06:00 – 22:00 Tel: (058) 223 8400
    Fax:( 058) 223 1012
    Lesotho Ficksburg Bridge 24 hours Tel:( 051) 933 2760
    Fax: (051) 933 4540
    Lesotho Maseru Bridge 24 hours Tel: (051) 924 4300
    Fax: (051) 924 4000
    Lesotho Quacha’s Nek 06:00 – 22:00 Tel: (039) 256 4391
    Fax: (051) 633 1099
    Lesotho Van Rooyens Gate 06:00 – 22:00 Tel: (051) 583 1525
    Fax: (051) 583 1530
    Botswana Groblersbrug 08:00 – 22:00 Tel: (014) 767 1019
    Fax: (014) 767 1264
    Botswana Kopfontein 06:00 – 24:00 Tel: (018) 365 9055
    Fax: (018) 365 9026
    Botswana Ramatlabama 06:00 – 22:00 Tel: (018) 390 2533
    Fax: (018) 393 0334
    Botswana Skilpadshek 06:00 – 24:00 Tel: (018) 366 0011
    Fax: (018) 366 0012

    Compiled from cross-referencing the list of all ports of entry with the list of closed ports

  • Where can I find a list of international embassies and consulates in South Africa?

    Should a foreign national require assistance in South Africa, a list of all foreign representation in South Africa is available on the Department of International Relations and Cooperation’s website. Diplomatic missions are listed alphabetically by country name.

  • Where can I find a list of South African embassies and consulates abroad?

    Should a South African or foreign national require assistance abroad (e.g. returning home, visa purposes, etc.), a list of all South African representation abroad is available on the Department of International Relations and Cooperation’s website. South African missions abroad are listed alphabetically by the country in which they are located. The individual websites for these embassies, high commissions and consulates abroad are also listed here.

  • Entry Requirements

  • Can an arrival self-quarantine upon entry rather than go to a quarantine facility?

    Returning South Africans who are unable to present a negative test result, or who display symptoms should be able to self-quarantine at home, provided they have access to: 

    • Separate bedroom with an on-suite bathroom and toilet that is not shared with another person. 
    • Prepared meals to be served in the room preferably in disposable utensils alternatively separated and washed properly. 
    • Support from friends or family that can facilitate the drop off of food and medicine at the gate if they are not able to make use of online shopping facilities and contactless deliveries. 
    • Access to a thermometer that will allow for the monitoring of temperature daily. 
    • Access to the internet either through my phone or computer to allow reporting symptoms daily. 
    • Access to a private physician that he or she can contact should he or she be in need of medical advice or care. 
    • No visitors are permitted to visit the quarantined person. 

    Foreign national arrivals may be permitted to self-quarantine at their accommodation, provided it meets the conditions above, but we are awaiting further clarification and confirmation on this point.  

    TBC IF THE APPLICATION FOR SELF-QUARANTINE IS STILL REQUIRED AND IF A FOREIGN NATIONAL CAN SELF-QUARANTINE

  • Is entry based on country of citizenship or residence (or where an individual has visited or transitted through)?

    Entry into South Africa for foreign nationals is based on where the traveller has spent the previous 10 days.   

    If the passport of a foreign national traveller from a high-risk country indicates that they have spent 10 days or more in a low-risk country before departure to South Arica, they will be considered to be arriving from a low-risk country and subject to the low-risk entry requirements. 

    South African citizens and permanent residents will always be allowed to return home, whether or not they are travelling from or through a high-risk country. 

  • What are the exceptions for travellers from high-risk countries and what is the process for entry?

    Exceptions will be made for individuals from high-risk countries who are business travellers, diplomats, repatriated persons, investors and people with scarce and critical skills or participating in professional sporting or cultural events.  

    Business travellers must apply, in writing, to the Minister of Home Affairs and demonstrate reasons for their request to enter South Africa. This application must be sent to [email protected]  and include: 

    1. a copy of passport and/or temporary residence visa; 
    1. proof of business activities to be undertaken in South Africa; 
    1. proof of travel itinerary; and 
    1. proof of address or accommodation in South Africa. 

    They will likewise be subject to the prescribed screening procedure and isolation or quarantine rules, depending on the circumstances. On arrival, they must present a valid certificate of a negative test obtained not more than 72 hours before the date of travel. Failure to present proof of a negative test will require the traveller to quarantine at their own cost. 

  • What are the requirements to enter South Africa?
    • All arrivals must present a valid certificate of a negative COVID-19 PCR test, obtained not more than 72 hours (3 days) from the time of departure from the country of origin to South Africa. The test must be conducted by a certified medical practitioner and the certificate must have the name and signature of the practitioner who conducted the test. 
    • Failure to present proof of a valid and negative test will require the traveller to quarantine at their own cost.  
    • All arrivals will be screened for any COVID-19 symptoms and/or for contact with people who have been infected with the COVID-19 virus.  
    • Should the traveller display any COVID-19–related symptoms or have been in contact with an infected person, they will be expected to take a mandatory COVID-19 test. This test will be at the traveller’s cost. If the COVID-19 test comes back positive, the traveller will be subjected to a 10-day quarantine at a designated site, at the traveller’s cost.  
    • All arrivals must provide proof of accommodation address should they need to self-quarantine at the time of arrival in the country, subject to the accommodation allowing for self-quarantine. 
    • All arrivals will be asked to download the COVID Alert South Africa mobile app. Information on the app can be found here
    • Foreign national arrivals from low- and medium-risk countries will be subject to the prevailing visa requirements. Our understanding of this is that the visa regime that was previously in place stands (e.g. if a 90-day waiver was in place before, it will be reinstated now if the traveller is coming from a low- or medium-risk country). Foreign national arrivals from high-risk countries may enter with an application in compliance with the exemptions laid out by government and then subject to the prevailing visa requirements. 
    • All foreign national arrivals must have travel insurance that covers the cost of any testing or quarantine. 
  • Which countries have been classified as high-risk? Are there different levels of risk and requirements?

    Which countries are allowed to come to South Africa? Are there different levels of risk and requirements?

    Based on the latest WHO criteria on infection and death rates, South Africa has developed a risk categorisation model for different international travellers. This model classifies international travellers according to a scale of high, medium and low risk.  

    High-risk travellers are those who come from countries with higher numbers of COVID-19 infections and reported deaths compared to South Africa. 

    Medium risk travellers are from countries with a relatively equal number of infections and death toll to South Africa. Low-risk travellers originate from countries with lesser number of infections of COVID-19 and death toll than South Africa.

    The list of countries and categorisation will be reviewed every two weeks and updated based on the latest WHO figures.

    Travellers (leisure, corporate and other) from the African continent as well as from medium- and low-risk countries will be allowed into the country subject to the entry requirements (i.e. screening, visas, testing, quarantine).

    Below is the list of countries currently considered high risk, and from which leisure travellers are not allowed:

    Albania ​​​

    Argentina

    Armenia

    Austria

    Bahrain

    Belgium

    Bolivia

    Bosnia and Herzegovina

    Brazil ​​​ ​​​​

    Chile

    ​​​Columbia

    Costa Rica

    Croatia 

    Czech Republic

    Denmark

    Ecuador

    France​​​

    Georgia ​

    Greece

    Guatemala ​

    Guyana​​​

    Honduras

    Hungary

    Iceland

    India

    Iran

    ​​​Iraq

    Ireland

    Israel

    Jamaica

    Jordan

    Kuwait

    Lebanon

    Luxemburg ​​

    Maldives

    Malta

    Mexico

    Moldova

    Montenegro ​​​

    Nepal ​​

    Netherlands 

    North Macedonia

    Oman

    Palestine

    Panama

    Paraguay

    Peru ​​​

    Portugal

    Puerto Rico

    Qatar

    Romania

    Russia

    Slovakia

    Suriname

    Switzerland

    Ukraine

    ​​​United Emirates

    United Kingdom              ​

    USA

    Venezuela

    Exceptions will be made for individuals from high-risk countries who are business travellers with scarce and critical skills, diplomats, repatriated persons, investors and people participating in professional sporting and cultural events.

    If the passport of the traveller from a high-risk country indicates that they have spent 10 days or more in a low-risk country before departure, they will be considered to be arriving from a low-risk country and subject to the low-risk entry requirements.

  • What test results are accepted? (e.g. antibody, viral)

    All arrivals to South Africa (South Africans and foreign nationals) must present a valid certificate of a negative COVID-19 PCR test, obtained not more than 72 hours (3 days) from the time of departure from the country of origin to South Africa. The test must be conducted by a certified medical practitioner and the certificate must have the name and signature of the practitioner who conducted the test. 

    Failure to present a valid and negative test result will require you to quarantine at your own cost, until which time a repeat test can be conducted. 

  • Outbound Requirements

  • What happens if the country in which I’m travelling suddenly moves from low-risk to high-risk?

    We know that airlines from high-risk countries are not necessarily banned and that South Africans will always be allowed to return home, whether or not they are travelling from or through a high-risk country.  

    ASATA is awaiting confirmation on this point, but transit through a high-risk country, where the traveller has not passed through immigration, is not likely to affect entry (for both South African citizens and foreign nationals). Restriction of travellers from high-risk countries is more likely to be based on where the traveller’s passport shows they have resided over the last 10 days. 

  • Which countries currently accept South African Travellers?

    This information will be constantly in flux as countries update entry requirements based on infection rates and reciprocity. The most reliable and up-to-date information will be found from the source (i.e. official government and consular websites). 

    • European Union 
    • United Kingdom 
    • United States 
    • Brazil: entry regulations lift on 29 July. All foreign national arrivals must have travel insurance with a minimum cover of BRL 30 000 (approximately ZAR 90 000). (IATA

    IATA’s COVID-19 Travel Regulations Map is also regularly updated with restrictions per country. However, it is still best to double check this information against what is available from official government sources as IATA cannot guarantee total accuracy given the ever-changing nature of the international response to COVID-19. 

    On borderdata.io you can check countries’ border status based on the borderdata.io method

    borderdata.io manually checks every country’s border status, and define if the border is open, closed or partially closed.

    Search if your preferred airport is open for citizens, tourist or only cargo. If your searched border is closed. Enable the push notifications to be notified of any changes.

  • Are South Africans allowed to travel to and from high-risk countries?

    The regulations allow for South Africans to travel to any country for leisure or corporate.  

    The caveat to this is that they can only travel to countries that accept South Africans.  

    In travel, both source and destination have to give the green light. In this case, South Africa has given the green light, but you would need to look at each destination to see whether they will accept South Africans and under which conditions.  

  • Do South African residents require a 72-hour COVID-19 test prior to departing South Africa?

    South African residents do not require a 72-hour COVID-19 test prior to departing South Africa. At the airport, they will be screened at the airport and anyone exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms will be prohibited from boarding. Departing South Africans should also bring with them a completed exit screening questionnaire

    Any additional requirements will be stipulated by the airline and/or country of destination. This information will be constantly in flux as countries update entry requirements based on infection rates and reciprocity. The most reliable and up-to-date information will be found from the source (i.e. official government and consular websites). 

    IATA’s COVID-19 Travel Regulations Map is also regularly updated with restrictions per country. However, it is still best to double-check this information against what is available from official government sources as IATA cannot guarantee total accuracy given the ever-changing nature of the international response to COVID-19. 

    Travellers should also be aware that testing may be conducted at some international airports.  

  • Where can I get tested in South Africa before I travel? How much does it cost and how quickly will I get the results?

    There are over 200 testing sites across South Africa. Pathcare, Lancet and Ampath all list their testing sites per province along with address, contact information and operating hours. The cost for a Covid-19 test in South Africa is R850 and results take 48-72 hours to process depending on patient priority.

  • Aviation

  • Will airlines be permitted to land in South Africa from high-risk countries?

    Airlines from high-risk countries are not necessarily banned, but their crew will be required to isolate in facilities at designated accommodation at the cost of their employer. 

    Passengers disembarking from flights originating from high-risk countries must be South Africans or in possession of a valid visa. And all arrivals must meet the entry requirements including a valid certificate of a negative COVID-19 PCR test. 

  • Are domestic airlines operating in South Africa?
    • Bram Fischer International Airport
    • Cape Town International Airport**
    • East London Airport
    • George Airport
    • Hoedspruit Airport
    • Kimberly Airport
    • King Shaka International Airport**
    • Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport
    • Lanseria International Airport
    • Margate Airport
    • Mthatha Airport
    • OR Tambo International Airport**
    • Phalaborwa Airport
    • Pietermaritzburg Airport
    • Plettenberg Bay Airport
    • Polokwane Airport
    • Port Elizabeth International Airport
    • Richards Bay Airport
    • Sishen Airport
    • Skukuza Airport
    • Upington International Airport

    Passengers should arrive at the airport at least two hours before a domestic flight to ensure enough time is allocated for screening and operational procedures. Until it is otherwise announced, only passengers are permitted inside the terminal buildings. Passengers with a temperature higher than 38 degrees will not be permitted to enter the airport. Masks must be worn and social distancing of 1,5 metres must be adhered to at all times in the airport.  

    **Additionally open to international air travel  

    Travellers should complete the following screening questionnaires from the Department of Health, to be submitted before all flights:  

  • Which airlines are operating flights to/from South Africa?

    Each airline will have its own threshold for flying to and from South Africa based on demand for seats—which need to be filled on both inbound and outbound legs. For this reason, we may see that not all airlines immediately begin flying to South Africa. Schedules may remain in flux for some time to come as countries, including South Africa, continuously update their list of permitted countries and entry requirements based on infection rates, which will have an impact demand.

    ASATA will update its website with airline information as and when it becomes available. 

    Specific ticket enquiries will need to be taken up with the respective airline.

  • Inbound

  • Is entry based on country of citizenship or residence (or where an individual has visited or transitted through)?

    Entry into South Africa for foreign nationals is based on where the traveller has spent the previous 10 days.   

    If the passport of a foreign national traveller from a high-risk country indicates that they have spent 10 days or more in a low-risk country before departure to South Arica, they will be considered to be arriving from a low-risk country and subject to the low-risk entry requirements. 

    South African citizens and permanent residents will always be allowed to return home, whether or not they are travelling from or through a high-risk country. 

  • What are the exceptions for travellers from high-risk countries and what is the process for entry?

    Exceptions will be made for individuals from high-risk countries who are business travellers, diplomats, repatriated persons, investors and people with scarce and critical skills or participating in professional sporting or cultural events.  

    Business travellers must apply, in writing, to the Minister of Home Affairs and demonstrate reasons for their request to enter South Africa. This application must be sent to [email protected]  and include: 

    1. a copy of passport and/or temporary residence visa; 
    1. proof of business activities to be undertaken in South Africa; 
    1. proof of travel itinerary; and 
    1. proof of address or accommodation in South Africa. 

    They will likewise be subject to the prescribed screening procedure and isolation or quarantine rules, depending on the circumstances. On arrival, they must present a valid certificate of a negative test obtained not more than 72 hours before the date of travel. Failure to present proof of a negative test will require the traveller to quarantine at their own cost. 

  • Are South Africans allowed to travel to and from high-risk countries?

    The regulations allow for South Africans to travel to any country for leisure or corporate.  

    The caveat to this is that they can only travel to countries that accept South Africans.  

    In travel, both source and destination have to give the green light. In this case, South Africa has given the green light, but you would need to look at each destination to see whether they will accept South Africans and under which conditions.  

  • What happens if travelling South Africans transit through a high-risk country on their return to South Africa?

    We know that airlines from high-risk countries are not necessarily banned and that South Africans will always be allowed to return home, whether or not they are travelling from or through a high-risk country.  

    ASATA is awaiting confirmation on this point, but transit through a high-risk country, where the traveller has not passed through immigration, is not likely to affect entry (for both South African citizens and foreign nationals). Restriction of travellers from high-risk countries is more likely to be based on where the traveller’s passport shows they have resided over the last 10 days.  

  • Do returning South Africans require travel insurance to re-enter South Africa from abroad?

    The government announcement on 30 September indicated that all travellers to South Africa are required to have travel insurance to cover the cost of COVID-19 testing and 10-day quarantine so that this burden does not fall on South African taxpayers.  

    The requirement applies to foreign national travellers and South Africans who do not have travel insurance with these covers will not be prohibited from entering the country. However, it is, of course, advisable for South Africans to take out comprehensive travel insurance when travelling abroad during these times. 

  • Terms& Conditions

  • Are suppliers changing their cancellation and booking policies?

    Each supplier (airline, tour operator, etc.) will have its own change and cancellation policies, and many are being more lenient when it comes to deposits or postponements. As a consumer, if you are in a position to postpone rather than cancel, you not only help the supplier and several players along the value chain, but you also keep something to look forward to and don’t have to compromise on your expectations.

    Be sure to read and understand all the terms and conditions of your ticket or booking upfront so that there are no surprises down the line.

  • Insurance

  • How do I pick a travel insurance policy?

    Be sure to check the requirements of your travel destinations as some, like South Africa and Brazil, are requiring that foreign national arrivals have COVID-19 travel insurance. For South African arrivals, it must cover the cost of any testing or quarantine. 

    Travel insurance policies will differ based on factors such as your age, the length of your trip, and what you want to be covered. A standard insurance policy may cover cancellation for events such as the sudden bankruptcy of a travel company, unexpected illness, or a natural disaster or unrest in the destination.  

    When looking for travel insurance that covers COVID-19-related events, consider the following: 

    • Travel medical: cover your expenses if you or a travel companion, such as your spouse or child, contract COVID-19 while travelling and require medical care or evacuation. 
    • Trip cancellation: cover any expenses incurred as a result of cancelling your trip prior to departure because you, or someone you care for, contracted COVID-19. 
    • Trip delay: cover any expenses incurred as a result of changing COVID-19 regulations e.g. travel bans. 

    Most travel insurances will not cover disinclination or fear to travel. The exception is ‘cancel for any reason’ (CFAR) insurance. This is usually available as an optional upgrade to a standard travel insurance plan and may cost up to 50% more than a standard plan. It typically needs to be purchased within one to three weeks from the time you booked your trip or made the initial deposit, and you must cancel your travel 48 hours prior to departure. Often available in two tiers, CFAR insurance can cover you for 50-75% of your total travel costs. However, CFAR is not yet a common insurance product in South Africa.  

    Know that there is no-size-fits-all travel insurance plan and each additional cover comes at a cost. Whichever you choose, be sure to read the full insurance contract before buying to check whether it covers specifics like quarantine, testing, and flight disruptions.  

  • What are the exceptions for travellers from high-risk countries and what is the process for entry?

    Level 1 FAQs

    General

  • Which international ports are open?

    Johannesburg’s OR Tambo, Durban’s King Shaka and Cape Town International Airports are the only airports that will allow international air travel to arrive or depart.

    All commercial seaports will be opened.

    The 35 land borders that were closed during the previous lockdown levels will remain closed.

    The 18 land borders which were partially operational during the previous lockdown levels will be fully operational (i.e. allow passage of South Africans and permitted foreign nationals). These include:

    COUNTRY PORT HOURS CONTACT
    Zimbabwe Beitbridge Bridge 24 hours Tel & Fax: (015) 530 0070
    Eswatini Oshoek 07:00 – 22:00 Tel: (017) 882 0138/9
    Fax: (017) 819 3481
    Eswatini Mahamba 07:00 – 22:00 Tel: (017) 826 0076
    Fax: 017) 826 0077
    Eswatini Mananga 07:00 – 18:00 Tel: (013) 790 7075
    Fax: (013) 790 0077
    Eswatini Golela 07:00 – 22:00 Tel: (034) 435 1070
    Fax: (034) 435 1048
    Eswatini Jeppes Reef 07:00 – 20:00 Tel: (013) 781 0382
    Fax: (013) 781 0383
    Namibia Nakop 24 hours Tel: (054) 571 0008 / 0077
    Fax: (054) 571 0009
    Namibia Vioolsdrift 24 hours Tel: (027) 761 8760
    Fax: (027) 761 8931
    Mozambique Lebombo 06:00 – 00:00 Tel: (013) 793 7311
    Fax: (013) 793 7091
    Lesotho Caledonspoort 06:00 – 22:00 Tel: (058) 223 8400
    Fax:( 058) 223 1012
    Lesotho Ficksburg Bridge 24 hours Tel:( 051) 933 2760
    Fax: (051) 933 4540
    Lesotho Maseru Bridge 24 hours Tel: (051) 924 4300
    Fax: (051) 924 4000
    Lesotho Quacha’s Nek 06:00 – 22:00 Tel: (039) 256 4391
    Fax: (051) 633 1099
    Lesotho Van Rooyens Gate 06:00 – 22:00 Tel: (051) 583 1525
    Fax: (051) 583 1530
    Botswana Groblersbrug 08:00 – 22:00 Tel: (014) 767 1019
    Fax: (014) 767 1264
    Botswana Kopfontein 06:00 – 24:00 Tel: (018) 365 9055
    Fax: (018) 365 9026
    Botswana Ramatlabama 06:00 – 22:00 Tel: (018) 390 2533
    Fax: (018) 393 0334
    Botswana Skilpadshek 06:00 – 24:00 Tel: (018) 366 0011
    Fax: (018) 366 0012

    Compiled from cross-referencing the list of all ports of entry with the list of closed ports

  • Where can I find a list of international embassies and consulates in South Africa?

    Should a foreign national require assistance in South Africa, a list of all foreign representation in South Africa is available on the Department of International Relations and Cooperation’s website. Diplomatic missions are listed alphabetically by country name.

  • Where can I find a list of South African embassies and consulates abroad?

    Should a South African or foreign national require assistance abroad (e.g. returning home, visa purposes, etc.), a list of all South African representation abroad is available on the Department of International Relations and Cooperation’s website. South African missions abroad are listed alphabetically by the country in which they are located. The individual websites for these embassies, high commissions and consulates abroad are also listed here.

  • Entry Requirements

  • Can an arrival self-quarantine upon entry rather than go to a quarantine facility?

    Returning South Africans who are unable to present a negative test result, or who display symptoms should be able to self-quarantine at home, provided they have access to: 

    • Separate bedroom with an on-suite bathroom and toilet that is not shared with another person. 
    • Prepared meals to be served in the room preferably in disposable utensils alternatively separated and washed properly. 
    • Support from friends or family that can facilitate the drop off of food and medicine at the gate if they are not able to make use of online shopping facilities and contactless deliveries. 
    • Access to a thermometer that will allow for the monitoring of temperature daily. 
    • Access to the internet either through my phone or computer to allow reporting symptoms daily. 
    • Access to a private physician that he or she can contact should he or she be in need of medical advice or care. 
    • No visitors are permitted to visit the quarantined person. 

    Foreign national arrivals may be permitted to self-quarantine at their accommodation, provided it meets the conditions above, but we are awaiting further clarification and confirmation on this point.  

    TBC IF THE APPLICATION FOR SELF-QUARANTINE IS STILL REQUIRED AND IF A FOREIGN NATIONAL CAN SELF-QUARANTINE

  • Is entry based on country of citizenship or residence (or where an individual has visited or transitted through)?

    Entry into South Africa for foreign nationals is based on where the traveller has spent the previous 10 days.   

    If the passport of a foreign national traveller from a high-risk country indicates that they have spent 10 days or more in a low-risk country before departure to South Arica, they will be considered to be arriving from a low-risk country and subject to the low-risk entry requirements. 

    South African citizens and permanent residents will always be allowed to return home, whether or not they are travelling from or through a high-risk country. 

  • What are the exceptions for travellers from high-risk countries and what is the process for entry?

    Exceptions will be made for individuals from high-risk countries who are business travellers, diplomats, repatriated persons, investors and people with scarce and critical skills or participating in professional sporting or cultural events.  

    Business travellers must apply, in writing, to the Minister of Home Affairs and demonstrate reasons for their request to enter South Africa. This application must be sent to [email protected]  and include: 

    1. a copy of passport and/or temporary residence visa; 
    1. proof of business activities to be undertaken in South Africa; 
    1. proof of travel itinerary; and 
    1. proof of address or accommodation in South Africa. 

    They will likewise be subject to the prescribed screening procedure and isolation or quarantine rules, depending on the circumstances. On arrival, they must present a valid certificate of a negative test obtained not more than 72 hours before the date of travel. Failure to present proof of a negative test will require the traveller to quarantine at their own cost. 

  • What are the requirements to enter South Africa?
    • All arrivals must present a valid certificate of a negative COVID-19 PCR test, obtained not more than 72 hours (3 days) from the time of departure from the country of origin to South Africa. The test must be conducted by a certified medical practitioner and the certificate must have the name and signature of the practitioner who conducted the test. 
    • Failure to present proof of a valid and negative test will require the traveller to quarantine at their own cost.  
    • All arrivals will be screened for any COVID-19 symptoms and/or for contact with people who have been infected with the COVID-19 virus.  
    • Should the traveller display any COVID-19–related symptoms or have been in contact with an infected person, they will be expected to take a mandatory COVID-19 test. This test will be at the traveller’s cost. If the COVID-19 test comes back positive, the traveller will be subjected to a 10-day quarantine at a designated site, at the traveller’s cost.  
    • All arrivals must provide proof of accommodation address should they need to self-quarantine at the time of arrival in the country, subject to the accommodation allowing for self-quarantine. 
    • All arrivals will be asked to download the COVID Alert South Africa mobile app. Information on the app can be found here
    • Foreign national arrivals from low- and medium-risk countries will be subject to the prevailing visa requirements. Our understanding of this is that the visa regime that was previously in place stands (e.g. if a 90-day waiver was in place before, it will be reinstated now if the traveller is coming from a low- or medium-risk country). Foreign national arrivals from high-risk countries may enter with an application in compliance with the exemptions laid out by government and then subject to the prevailing visa requirements. 
    • All foreign national arrivals must have travel insurance that covers the cost of any testing or quarantine. 
  • Which countries have been classified as high-risk? Are there different levels of risk and requirements?

    Which countries are allowed to come to South Africa? Are there different levels of risk and requirements?

    Based on the latest WHO criteria on infection and death rates, South Africa has developed a risk categorisation model for different international travellers. This model classifies international travellers according to a scale of high, medium and low risk.  

    High-risk travellers are those who come from countries with higher numbers of COVID-19 infections and reported deaths compared to South Africa. 

    Medium risk travellers are from countries with a relatively equal number of infections and death toll to South Africa. Low-risk travellers originate from countries with lesser number of infections of COVID-19 and death toll than South Africa.

    The list of countries and categorisation will be reviewed every two weeks and updated based on the latest WHO figures.

    Travellers (leisure, corporate and other) from the African continent as well as from medium- and low-risk countries will be allowed into the country subject to the entry requirements (i.e. screening, visas, testing, quarantine).

    Below is the list of countries currently considered high risk, and from which leisure travellers are not allowed:

    Albania ​​​

    Argentina

    Armenia

    Austria

    Bahrain

    Belgium

    Bolivia

    Bosnia and Herzegovina

    Brazil ​​​ ​​​​

    Chile

    ​​​Columbia

    Costa Rica

    Croatia 

    Czech Republic

    Denmark

    Ecuador

    France​​​

    Georgia ​

    Greece

    Guatemala ​

    Guyana​​​

    Honduras

    Hungary

    Iceland

    India

    Iran

    ​​​Iraq

    Ireland

    Israel

    Jamaica

    Jordan

    Kuwait

    Lebanon

    Luxemburg ​​

    Maldives

    Malta

    Mexico

    Moldova

    Montenegro ​​​

    Nepal ​​

    Netherlands 

    North Macedonia

    Oman

    Palestine

    Panama

    Paraguay

    Peru ​​​

    Portugal

    Puerto Rico

    Qatar

    Romania

    Russia

    Slovakia

    Suriname

    Switzerland

    Ukraine

    ​​​United Emirates

    United Kingdom              ​

    USA

    Venezuela

    Exceptions will be made for individuals from high-risk countries who are business travellers with scarce and critical skills, diplomats, repatriated persons, investors and people participating in professional sporting and cultural events.

    If the passport of the traveller from a high-risk country indicates that they have spent 10 days or more in a low-risk country before departure, they will be considered to be arriving from a low-risk country and subject to the low-risk entry requirements.

  • What test results are accepted? (e.g. antibody, viral)

    All arrivals to South Africa (South Africans and foreign nationals) must present a valid certificate of a negative COVID-19 PCR test, obtained not more than 72 hours (3 days) from the time of departure from the country of origin to South Africa. The test must be conducted by a certified medical practitioner and the certificate must have the name and signature of the practitioner who conducted the test. 

    Failure to present a valid and negative test result will require you to quarantine at your own cost, until which time a repeat test can be conducted. 

  • Outbound Requirements

  • What happens if the country in which I’m travelling suddenly moves from low-risk to high-risk?

    We know that airlines from high-risk countries are not necessarily banned and that South Africans will always be allowed to return home, whether or not they are travelling from or through a high-risk country.  

    ASATA is awaiting confirmation on this point, but transit through a high-risk country, where the traveller has not passed through immigration, is not likely to affect entry (for both South African citizens and foreign nationals). Restriction of travellers from high-risk countries is more likely to be based on where the traveller’s passport shows they have resided over the last 10 days. 

  • Which countries currently accept South African Travellers?

    This information will be constantly in flux as countries update entry requirements based on infection rates and reciprocity. The most reliable and up-to-date information will be found from the source (i.e. official government and consular websites). 

    • European Union 
    • United Kingdom 
    • United States 
    • Brazil: entry regulations lift on 29 July. All foreign national arrivals must have travel insurance with a minimum cover of BRL 30 000 (approximately ZAR 90 000). (IATA

    IATA’s COVID-19 Travel Regulations Map is also regularly updated with restrictions per country. However, it is still best to double check this information against what is available from official government sources as IATA cannot guarantee total accuracy given the ever-changing nature of the international response to COVID-19. 

    On borderdata.io you can check countries’ border status based on the borderdata.io method

    borderdata.io manually checks every country’s border status, and define if the border is open, closed or partially closed.

    Search if your preferred airport is open for citizens, tourist or only cargo. If your searched border is closed. Enable the push notifications to be notified of any changes.

  • Are South Africans allowed to travel to and from high-risk countries?

    The regulations allow for South Africans to travel to any country for leisure or corporate.  

    The caveat to this is that they can only travel to countries that accept South Africans.  

    In travel, both source and destination have to give the green light. In this case, South Africa has given the green light, but you would need to look at each destination to see whether they will accept South Africans and under which conditions.  

  • Do South African residents require a 72-hour COVID-19 test prior to departing South Africa?

    South African residents do not require a 72-hour COVID-19 test prior to departing South Africa. At the airport, they will be screened at the airport and anyone exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms will be prohibited from boarding. Departing South Africans should also bring with them a completed exit screening questionnaire

    Any additional requirements will be stipulated by the airline and/or country of destination. This information will be constantly in flux as countries update entry requirements based on infection rates and reciprocity. The most reliable and up-to-date information will be found from the source (i.e. official government and consular websites). 

    IATA’s COVID-19 Travel Regulations Map is also regularly updated with restrictions per country. However, it is still best to double-check this information against what is available from official government sources as IATA cannot guarantee total accuracy given the ever-changing nature of the international response to COVID-19. 

    Travellers should also be aware that testing may be conducted at some international airports.  

  • Where can I get tested in South Africa before I travel? How much does it cost and how quickly will I get the results?

    There are over 200 testing sites across South Africa. Pathcare, Lancet and Ampath all list their testing sites per province along with address, contact information and operating hours. The cost for a Covid-19 test in South Africa is R850 and results take 48-72 hours to process depending on patient priority.

  • Aviation

  • Will airlines be permitted to land in South Africa from high-risk countries?

    Airlines from high-risk countries are not necessarily banned, but their crew will be required to isolate in facilities at designated accommodation at the cost of their employer. 

    Passengers disembarking from flights originating from high-risk countries must be South Africans or in possession of a valid visa. And all arrivals must meet the entry requirements including a valid certificate of a negative COVID-19 PCR test. 

  • Are domestic airlines operating in South Africa?
    • Bram Fischer International Airport
    • Cape Town International Airport**
    • East London Airport
    • George Airport
    • Hoedspruit Airport
    • Kimberly Airport
    • King Shaka International Airport**
    • Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport
    • Lanseria International Airport
    • Margate Airport
    • Mthatha Airport
    • OR Tambo International Airport**
    • Phalaborwa Airport
    • Pietermaritzburg Airport
    • Plettenberg Bay Airport
    • Polokwane Airport
    • Port Elizabeth International Airport
    • Richards Bay Airport
    • Sishen Airport
    • Skukuza Airport
    • Upington International Airport

    Passengers should arrive at the airport at least two hours before a domestic flight to ensure enough time is allocated for screening and operational procedures. Until it is otherwise announced, only passengers are permitted inside the terminal buildings. Passengers with a temperature higher than 38 degrees will not be permitted to enter the airport. Masks must be worn and social distancing of 1,5 metres must be adhered to at all times in the airport.  

    **Additionally open to international air travel  

    Travellers should complete the following screening questionnaires from the Department of Health, to be submitted before all flights:  

  • Which airlines are operating flights to/from South Africa?

    Each airline will have its own threshold for flying to and from South Africa based on demand for seats—which need to be filled on both inbound and outbound legs. For this reason, we may see that not all airlines immediately begin flying to South Africa. Schedules may remain in flux for some time to come as countries, including South Africa, continuously update their list of permitted countries and entry requirements based on infection rates, which will have an impact demand.

    ASATA will update its website with airline information as and when it becomes available. 

    Specific ticket enquiries will need to be taken up with the respective airline.

  • Inbound

  • Is entry based on country of citizenship or residence (or where an individual has visited or transitted through)?

    Entry into South Africa for foreign nationals is based on where the traveller has spent the previous 10 days.   

    If the passport of a foreign national traveller from a high-risk country indicates that they have spent 10 days or more in a low-risk country before departure to South Arica, they will be considered to be arriving from a low-risk country and subject to the low-risk entry requirements. 

    South African citizens and permanent residents will always be allowed to return home, whether or not they are travelling from or through a high-risk country. 

  • What are the exceptions for travellers from high-risk countries and what is the process for entry?

    Exceptions will be made for individuals from high-risk countries who are business travellers, diplomats, repatriated persons, investors and people with scarce and critical skills or participating in professional sporting or cultural events.  

    Business travellers must apply, in writing, to the Minister of Home Affairs and demonstrate reasons for their request to enter South Africa. This application must be sent to [email protected]  and include: 

    1. a copy of passport and/or temporary residence visa; 
    1. proof of business activities to be undertaken in South Africa; 
    1. proof of travel itinerary; and 
    1. proof of address or accommodation in South Africa. 

    They will likewise be subject to the prescribed screening procedure and isolation or quarantine rules, depending on the circumstances. On arrival, they must present a valid certificate of a negative test obtained not more than 72 hours before the date of travel. Failure to present proof of a negative test will require the traveller to quarantine at their own cost. 

  • Are South Africans allowed to travel to and from high-risk countries?

    The regulations allow for South Africans to travel to any country for leisure or corporate.  

    The caveat to this is that they can only travel to countries that accept South Africans.  

    In travel, both source and destination have to give the green light. In this case, South Africa has given the green light, but you would need to look at each destination to see whether they will accept South Africans and under which conditions.  

  • What happens if travelling South Africans transit through a high-risk country on their return to South Africa?

    We know that airlines from high-risk countries are not necessarily banned and that South Africans will always be allowed to return home, whether or not they are travelling from or through a high-risk country.  

    ASATA is awaiting confirmation on this point, but transit through a high-risk country, where the traveller has not passed through immigration, is not likely to affect entry (for both South African citizens and foreign nationals). Restriction of travellers from high-risk countries is more likely to be based on where the traveller’s passport shows they have resided over the last 10 days.  

  • Do returning South Africans require travel insurance to re-enter South Africa from abroad?

    The government announcement on 30 September indicated that all travellers to South Africa are required to have travel insurance to cover the cost of COVID-19 testing and 10-day quarantine so that this burden does not fall on South African taxpayers.  

    The requirement applies to foreign national travellers and South Africans who do not have travel insurance with these covers will not be prohibited from entering the country. However, it is, of course, advisable for South Africans to take out comprehensive travel insurance when travelling abroad during these times. 

  • Terms& Conditions

  • Are suppliers changing their cancellation and booking policies?

    Each supplier (airline, tour operator, etc.) will have its own change and cancellation policies, and many are being more lenient when it comes to deposits or postponements. As a consumer, if you are in a position to postpone rather than cancel, you not only help the supplier and several players along the value chain, but you also keep something to look forward to and don’t have to compromise on your expectations.

    Be sure to read and understand all the terms and conditions of your ticket or booking upfront so that there are no surprises down the line.

  • Insurance

  • How do I pick a travel insurance policy?

    Be sure to check the requirements of your travel destinations as some, like South Africa and Brazil, are requiring that foreign national arrivals have COVID-19 travel insurance. For South African arrivals, it must cover the cost of any testing or quarantine. 

    Travel insurance policies will differ based on factors such as your age, the length of your trip, and what you want to be covered. A standard insurance policy may cover cancellation for events such as the sudden bankruptcy of a travel company, unexpected illness, or a natural disaster or unrest in the destination.  

    When looking for travel insurance that covers COVID-19-related events, consider the following: 

    • Travel medical: cover your expenses if you or a travel companion, such as your spouse or child, contract COVID-19 while travelling and require medical care or evacuation. 
    • Trip cancellation: cover any expenses incurred as a result of cancelling your trip prior to departure because you, or someone you care for, contracted COVID-19. 
    • Trip delay: cover any expenses incurred as a result of changing COVID-19 regulations e.g. travel bans. 

    Most travel insurances will not cover disinclination or fear to travel. The exception is ‘cancel for any reason’ (CFAR) insurance. This is usually available as an optional upgrade to a standard travel insurance plan and may cost up to 50% more than a standard plan. It typically needs to be purchased within one to three weeks from the time you booked your trip or made the initial deposit, and you must cancel your travel 48 hours prior to departure. Often available in two tiers, CFAR insurance can cover you for 50-75% of your total travel costs. However, CFAR is not yet a common insurance product in South Africa.  

    Know that there is no-size-fits-all travel insurance plan and each additional cover comes at a cost. Whichever you choose, be sure to read the full insurance contract before buying to check whether it covers specifics like quarantine, testing, and flight disruptions.  

  • Are South Africans allowed to travel to and from high-risk countries?

    Level 1 FAQs

    General

  • Which international ports are open?

    Johannesburg’s OR Tambo, Durban’s King Shaka and Cape Town International Airports are the only airports that will allow international air travel to arrive or depart.

    All commercial seaports will be opened.

    The 35 land borders that were closed during the previous lockdown levels will remain closed.

    The 18 land borders which were partially operational during the previous lockdown levels will be fully operational (i.e. allow passage of South Africans and permitted foreign nationals). These include:

    COUNTRY PORT HOURS CONTACT
    Zimbabwe Beitbridge Bridge 24 hours Tel & Fax: (015) 530 0070
    Eswatini Oshoek 07:00 – 22:00 Tel: (017) 882 0138/9
    Fax: (017) 819 3481
    Eswatini Mahamba 07:00 – 22:00 Tel: (017) 826 0076
    Fax: 017) 826 0077
    Eswatini Mananga 07:00 – 18:00 Tel: (013) 790 7075
    Fax: (013) 790 0077
    Eswatini Golela 07:00 – 22:00 Tel: (034) 435 1070
    Fax: (034) 435 1048
    Eswatini Jeppes Reef 07:00 – 20:00 Tel: (013) 781 0382
    Fax: (013) 781 0383
    Namibia Nakop 24 hours Tel: (054) 571 0008 / 0077
    Fax: (054) 571 0009
    Namibia Vioolsdrift 24 hours Tel: (027) 761 8760
    Fax: (027) 761 8931
    Mozambique Lebombo 06:00 – 00:00 Tel: (013) 793 7311
    Fax: (013) 793 7091
    Lesotho Caledonspoort 06:00 – 22:00 Tel: (058) 223 8400
    Fax:( 058) 223 1012
    Lesotho Ficksburg Bridge 24 hours Tel:( 051) 933 2760
    Fax: (051) 933 4540
    Lesotho Maseru Bridge 24 hours Tel: (051) 924 4300
    Fax: (051) 924 4000
    Lesotho Quacha’s Nek 06:00 – 22:00 Tel: (039) 256 4391
    Fax: (051) 633 1099
    Lesotho Van Rooyens Gate 06:00 – 22:00 Tel: (051) 583 1525
    Fax: (051) 583 1530
    Botswana Groblersbrug 08:00 – 22:00 Tel: (014) 767 1019
    Fax: (014) 767 1264
    Botswana Kopfontein 06:00 – 24:00 Tel: (018) 365 9055
    Fax: (018) 365 9026
    Botswana Ramatlabama 06:00 – 22:00 Tel: (018) 390 2533
    Fax: (018) 393 0334
    Botswana Skilpadshek 06:00 – 24:00 Tel: (018) 366 0011
    Fax: (018) 366 0012

    Compiled from cross-referencing the list of all ports of entry with the list of closed ports

  • Where can I find a list of international embassies and consulates in South Africa?

    Should a foreign national require assistance in South Africa, a list of all foreign representation in South Africa is available on the Department of International Relations and Cooperation’s website. Diplomatic missions are listed alphabetically by country name.

  • Where can I find a list of South African embassies and consulates abroad?

    Should a South African or foreign national require assistance abroad (e.g. returning home, visa purposes, etc.), a list of all South African representation abroad is available on the Department of International Relations and Cooperation’s website. South African missions abroad are listed alphabetically by the country in which they are located. The individual websites for these embassies, high commissions and consulates abroad are also listed here.

  • Entry Requirements

  • Can an arrival self-quarantine upon entry rather than go to a quarantine facility?

    Returning South Africans who are unable to present a negative test result, or who display symptoms should be able to self-quarantine at home, provided they have access to: 

    • Separate bedroom with an on-suite bathroom and toilet that is not shared with another person. 
    • Prepared meals to be served in the room preferably in disposable utensils alternatively separated and washed properly. 
    • Support from friends or family that can facilitate the drop off of food and medicine at the gate if they are not able to make use of online shopping facilities and contactless deliveries. 
    • Access to a thermometer that will allow for the monitoring of temperature daily. 
    • Access to the internet either through my phone or computer to allow reporting symptoms daily. 
    • Access to a private physician that he or she can contact should he or she be in need of medical advice or care. 
    • No visitors are permitted to visit the quarantined person. 

    Foreign national arrivals may be permitted to self-quarantine at their accommodation, provided it meets the conditions above, but we are awaiting further clarification and confirmation on this point.  

    TBC IF THE APPLICATION FOR SELF-QUARANTINE IS STILL REQUIRED AND IF A FOREIGN NATIONAL CAN SELF-QUARANTINE

  • Is entry based on country of citizenship or residence (or where an individual has visited or transitted through)?

    Entry into South Africa for foreign nationals is based on where the traveller has spent the previous 10 days.   

    If the passport of a foreign national traveller from a high-risk country indicates that they have spent 10 days or more in a low-risk country before departure to South Arica, they will be considered to be arriving from a low-risk country and subject to the low-risk entry requirements. 

    South African citizens and permanent residents will always be allowed to return home, whether or not they are travelling from or through a high-risk country. 

  • What are the exceptions for travellers from high-risk countries and what is the process for entry?

    Exceptions will be made for individuals from high-risk countries who are business travellers, diplomats, repatriated persons, investors and people with scarce and critical skills or participating in professional sporting or cultural events.  

    Business travellers must apply, in writing, to the Minister of Home Affairs and demonstrate reasons for their request to enter South Africa. This application must be sent to [email protected]  and include: 

    1. a copy of passport and/or temporary residence visa; 
    1. proof of business activities to be undertaken in South Africa; 
    1. proof of travel itinerary; and 
    1. proof of address or accommodation in South Africa. 

    They will likewise be subject to the prescribed screening procedure and isolation or quarantine rules, depending on the circumstances. On arrival, they must present a valid certificate of a negative test obtained not more than 72 hours before the date of travel. Failure to present proof of a negative test will require the traveller to quarantine at their own cost. 

  • What are the requirements to enter South Africa?
    • All arrivals must present a valid certificate of a negative COVID-19 PCR test, obtained not more than 72 hours (3 days) from the time of departure from the country of origin to South Africa. The test must be conducted by a certified medical practitioner and the certificate must have the name and signature of the practitioner who conducted the test. 
    • Failure to present proof of a valid and negative test will require the traveller to quarantine at their own cost.  
    • All arrivals will be screened for any COVID-19 symptoms and/or for contact with people who have been infected with the COVID-19 virus.  
    • Should the traveller display any COVID-19–related symptoms or have been in contact with an infected person, they will be expected to take a mandatory COVID-19 test. This test will be at the traveller’s cost. If the COVID-19 test comes back positive, the traveller will be subjected to a 10-day quarantine at a designated site, at the traveller’s cost.  
    • All arrivals must provide proof of accommodation address should they need to self-quarantine at the time of arrival in the country, subject to the accommodation allowing for self-quarantine. 
    • All arrivals will be asked to download the COVID Alert South Africa mobile app. Information on the app can be found here
    • Foreign national arrivals from low- and medium-risk countries will be subject to the prevailing visa requirements. Our understanding of this is that the visa regime that was previously in place stands (e.g. if a 90-day waiver was in place before, it will be reinstated now if the traveller is coming from a low- or medium-risk country). Foreign national arrivals from high-risk countries may enter with an application in compliance with the exemptions laid out by government and then subject to the prevailing visa requirements. 
    • All foreign national arrivals must have travel insurance that covers the cost of any testing or quarantine. 
  • Which countries have been classified as high-risk? Are there different levels of risk and requirements?

    Which countries are allowed to come to South Africa? Are there different levels of risk and requirements?

    Based on the latest WHO criteria on infection and death rates, South Africa has developed a risk categorisation model for different international travellers. This model classifies international travellers according to a scale of high, medium and low risk.  

    High-risk travellers are those who come from countries with higher numbers of COVID-19 infections and reported deaths compared to South Africa. 

    Medium risk travellers are from countries with a relatively equal number of infections and death toll to South Africa. Low-risk travellers originate from countries with lesser number of infections of COVID-19 and death toll than South Africa.

    The list of countries and categorisation will be reviewed every two weeks and updated based on the latest WHO figures.

    Travellers (leisure, corporate and other) from the African continent as well as from medium- and low-risk countries will be allowed into the country subject to the entry requirements (i.e. screening, visas, testing, quarantine).

    Below is the list of countries currently considered high risk, and from which leisure travellers are not allowed:

    Albania ​​​

    Argentina

    Armenia

    Austria

    Bahrain

    Belgium

    Bolivia

    Bosnia and Herzegovina

    Brazil ​​​ ​​​​

    Chile

    ​​​Columbia

    Costa Rica

    Croatia 

    Czech Republic

    Denmark

    Ecuador

    France​​​

    Georgia ​

    Greece

    Guatemala ​

    Guyana​​​

    Honduras

    Hungary

    Iceland

    India

    Iran

    ​​​Iraq

    Ireland

    Israel

    Jamaica

    Jordan

    Kuwait

    Lebanon

    Luxemburg ​​

    Maldives

    Malta

    Mexico

    Moldova

    Montenegro ​​​

    Nepal ​​

    Netherlands 

    North Macedonia

    Oman

    Palestine

    Panama

    Paraguay

    Peru ​​​

    Portugal

    Puerto Rico

    Qatar

    Romania

    Russia

    Slovakia

    Suriname

    Switzerland

    Ukraine

    ​​​United Emirates

    United Kingdom              ​

    USA

    Venezuela

    Exceptions will be made for individuals from high-risk countries who are business travellers with scarce and critical skills, diplomats, repatriated persons, investors and people participating in professional sporting and cultural events.

    If the passport of the traveller from a high-risk country indicates that they have spent 10 days or more in a low-risk country before departure, they will be considered to be arriving from a low-risk country and subject to the low-risk entry requirements.

  • What test results are accepted? (e.g. antibody, viral)

    All arrivals to South Africa (South Africans and foreign nationals) must present a valid certificate of a negative COVID-19 PCR test, obtained not more than 72 hours (3 days) from the time of departure from the country of origin to South Africa. The test must be conducted by a certified medical practitioner and the certificate must have the name and signature of the practitioner who conducted the test. 

    Failure to present a valid and negative test result will require you to quarantine at your own cost, until which time a repeat test can be conducted. 

  • Outbound Requirements

  • What happens if the country in which I’m travelling suddenly moves from low-risk to high-risk?

    We know that airlines from high-risk countries are not necessarily banned and that South Africans will always be allowed to return home, whether or not they are travelling from or through a high-risk country.  

    ASATA is awaiting confirmation on this point, but transit through a high-risk country, where the traveller has not passed through immigration, is not likely to affect entry (for both South African citizens and foreign nationals). Restriction of travellers from high-risk countries is more likely to be based on where the traveller’s passport shows they have resided over the last 10 days. 

  • Which countries currently accept South African Travellers?

    This information will be constantly in flux as countries update entry requirements based on infection rates and reciprocity. The most reliable and up-to-date information will be found from the source (i.e. official government and consular websites). 

    • European Union 
    • United Kingdom 
    • United States 
    • Brazil: entry regulations lift on 29 July. All foreign national arrivals must have travel insurance with a minimum cover of BRL 30 000 (approximately ZAR 90 000). (IATA

    IATA’s COVID-19 Travel Regulations Map is also regularly updated with restrictions per country. However, it is still best to double check this information against what is available from official government sources as IATA cannot guarantee total accuracy given the ever-changing nature of the international response to COVID-19. 

    On borderdata.io you can check countries’ border status based on the borderdata.io method

    borderdata.io manually checks every country’s border status, and define if the border is open, closed or partially closed.

    Search if your preferred airport is open for citizens, tourist or only cargo. If your searched border is closed. Enable the push notifications to be notified of any changes.

  • Are South Africans allowed to travel to and from high-risk countries?

    The regulations allow for South Africans to travel to any country for leisure or corporate.  

    The caveat to this is that they can only travel to countries that accept South Africans.  

    In travel, both source and destination have to give the green light. In this case, South Africa has given the green light, but you would need to look at each destination to see whether they will accept South Africans and under which conditions.  

  • Do South African residents require a 72-hour COVID-19 test prior to departing South Africa?

    South African residents do not require a 72-hour COVID-19 test prior to departing South Africa. At the airport, they will be screened at the airport and anyone exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms will be prohibited from boarding. Departing South Africans should also bring with them a completed exit screening questionnaire

    Any additional requirements will be stipulated by the airline and/or country of destination. This information will be constantly in flux as countries update entry requirements based on infection rates and reciprocity. The most reliable and up-to-date information will be found from the source (i.e. official government and consular websites). 

    IATA’s COVID-19 Travel Regulations Map is also regularly updated with restrictions per country. However, it is still best to double-check this information against what is available from official government sources as IATA cannot guarantee total accuracy given the ever-changing nature of the international response to COVID-19. 

    Travellers should also be aware that testing may be conducted at some international airports.  

  • Where can I get tested in South Africa before I travel? How much does it cost and how quickly will I get the results?

    There are over 200 testing sites across South Africa. Pathcare, Lancet and Ampath all list their testing sites per province along with address, contact information and operating hours. The cost for a Covid-19 test in South Africa is R850 and results take 48-72 hours to process depending on patient priority.

  • Aviation

  • Will airlines be permitted to land in South Africa from high-risk countries?

    Airlines from high-risk countries are not necessarily banned, but their crew will be required to isolate in facilities at designated accommodation at the cost of their employer. 

    Passengers disembarking from flights originating from high-risk countries must be South Africans or in possession of a valid visa. And all arrivals must meet the entry requirements including a valid certificate of a negative COVID-19 PCR test. 

  • Are domestic airlines operating in South Africa?
    • Bram Fischer International Airport
    • Cape Town International Airport**
    • East London Airport
    • George Airport
    • Hoedspruit Airport
    • Kimberly Airport
    • King Shaka International Airport**
    • Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport
    • Lanseria International Airport
    • Margate Airport
    • Mthatha Airport
    • OR Tambo International Airport**
    • Phalaborwa Airport
    • Pietermaritzburg Airport
    • Plettenberg Bay Airport
    • Polokwane Airport
    • Port Elizabeth International Airport
    • Richards Bay Airport
    • Sishen Airport
    • Skukuza Airport
    • Upington International Airport

    Passengers should arrive at the airport at least two hours before a domestic flight to ensure enough time is allocated for screening and operational procedures. Until it is otherwise announced, only passengers are permitted inside the terminal buildings. Passengers with a temperature higher than 38 degrees will not be permitted to enter the airport. Masks must be worn and social distancing of 1,5 metres must be adhered to at all times in the airport.  

    **Additionally open to international air travel  

    Travellers should complete the following screening questionnaires from the Department of Health, to be submitted before all flights:  

  • Which airlines are operating flights to/from South Africa?

    Each airline will have its own threshold for flying to and from South Africa based on demand for seats—which need to be filled on both inbound and outbound legs. For this reason, we may see that not all airlines immediately begin flying to South Africa. Schedules may remain in flux for some time to come as countries, including South Africa, continuously update their list of permitted countries and entry requirements based on infection rates, which will have an impact demand.

    ASATA will update its website with airline information as and when it becomes available. 

    Specific ticket enquiries will need to be taken up with the respective airline.

  • Inbound

  • Is entry based on country of citizenship or residence (or where an individual has visited or transitted through)?

    Entry into South Africa for foreign nationals is based on where the traveller has spent the previous 10 days.   

    If the passport of a foreign national traveller from a high-risk country indicates that they have spent 10 days or more in a low-risk country before departure to South Arica, they will be considered to be arriving from a low-risk country and subject to the low-risk entry requirements. 

    South African citizens and permanent residents will always be allowed to return home, whether or not they are travelling from or through a high-risk country. 

  • What are the exceptions for travellers from high-risk countries and what is the process for entry?

    Exceptions will be made for individuals from high-risk countries who are business travellers, diplomats, repatriated persons, investors and people with scarce and critical skills or participating in professional sporting or cultural events.  

    Business travellers must apply, in writing, to the Minister of Home Affairs and demonstrate reasons for their request to enter South Africa. This application must be sent to [email protected]  and include: 

    1. a copy of passport and/or temporary residence visa; 
    1. proof of business activities to be undertaken in South Africa; 
    1. proof of travel itinerary; and 
    1. proof of address or accommodation in South Africa. 

    They will likewise be subject to the prescribed screening procedure and isolation or quarantine rules, depending on the circumstances. On arrival, they must present a valid certificate of a negative test obtained not more than 72 hours before the date of travel. Failure to present proof of a negative test will require the traveller to quarantine at their own cost. 

  • Are South Africans allowed to travel to and from high-risk countries?

    The regulations allow for South Africans to travel to any country for leisure or corporate.  

    The caveat to this is that they can only travel to countries that accept South Africans.  

    In travel, both source and destination have to give the green light. In this case, South Africa has given the green light, but you would need to look at each destination to see whether they will accept South Africans and under which conditions.  

  • What happens if travelling South Africans transit through a high-risk country on their return to South Africa?

    We know that airlines from high-risk countries are not necessarily banned and that South Africans will always be allowed to return home, whether or not they are travelling from or through a high-risk country.  

    ASATA is awaiting confirmation on this point, but transit through a high-risk country, where the traveller has not passed through immigration, is not likely to affect entry (for both South African citizens and foreign nationals). Restriction of travellers from high-risk countries is more likely to be based on where the traveller’s passport shows they have resided over the last 10 days.  

  • Do returning South Africans require travel insurance to re-enter South Africa from abroad?

    The government announcement on 30 September indicated that all travellers to South Africa are required to have travel insurance to cover the cost of COVID-19 testing and 10-day quarantine so that this burden does not fall on South African taxpayers.  

    The requirement applies to foreign national travellers and South Africans who do not have travel insurance with these covers will not be prohibited from entering the country. However, it is, of course, advisable for South Africans to take out comprehensive travel insurance when travelling abroad during these times. 

  • Terms& Conditions

  • Are suppliers changing their cancellation and booking policies?

    Each supplier (airline, tour operator, etc.) will have its own change and cancellation policies, and many are being more lenient when it comes to deposits or postponements. As a consumer, if you are in a position to postpone rather than cancel, you not only help the supplier and several players along the value chain, but you also keep something to look forward to and don’t have to compromise on your expectations.

    Be sure to read and understand all the terms and conditions of your ticket or booking upfront so that there are no surprises down the line.

  • Insurance

  • How do I pick a travel insurance policy?

    Be sure to check the requirements of your travel destinations as some, like South Africa and Brazil, are requiring that foreign national arrivals have COVID-19 travel insurance. For South African arrivals, it must cover the cost of any testing or quarantine. 

    Travel insurance policies will differ based on factors such as your age, the length of your trip, and what you want to be covered. A standard insurance policy may cover cancellation for events such as the sudden bankruptcy of a travel company, unexpected illness, or a natural disaster or unrest in the destination.  

    When looking for travel insurance that covers COVID-19-related events, consider the following: 

    • Travel medical: cover your expenses if you or a travel companion, such as your spouse or child, contract COVID-19 while travelling and require medical care or evacuation. 
    • Trip cancellation: cover any expenses incurred as a result of cancelling your trip prior to departure because you, or someone you care for, contracted COVID-19. 
    • Trip delay: cover any expenses incurred as a result of changing COVID-19 regulations e.g. travel bans. 

    Most travel insurances will not cover disinclination or fear to travel. The exception is ‘cancel for any reason’ (CFAR) insurance. This is usually available as an optional upgrade to a standard travel insurance plan and may cost up to 50% more than a standard plan. It typically needs to be purchased within one to three weeks from the time you booked your trip or made the initial deposit, and you must cancel your travel 48 hours prior to departure. Often available in two tiers, CFAR insurance can cover you for 50-75% of your total travel costs. However, CFAR is not yet a common insurance product in South Africa.  

    Know that there is no-size-fits-all travel insurance plan and each additional cover comes at a cost. Whichever you choose, be sure to read the full insurance contract before buying to check whether it covers specifics like quarantine, testing, and flight disruptions.  

  • What happens if travelling South Africans transit through a high-risk country on their return to South Africa?

    Level 1 FAQs

    General

  • Which international ports are open?

    Johannesburg’s OR Tambo, Durban’s King Shaka and Cape Town International Airports are the only airports that will allow international air travel to arrive or depart.

    All commercial seaports will be opened.

    The 35 land borders that were closed during the previous lockdown levels will remain closed.

    The 18 land borders which were partially operational during the previous lockdown levels will be fully operational (i.e. allow passage of South Africans and permitted foreign nationals). These include:

    COUNTRY PORT HOURS CONTACT
    Zimbabwe Beitbridge Bridge 24 hours Tel & Fax: (015) 530 0070
    Eswatini Oshoek 07:00 – 22:00 Tel: (017) 882 0138/9
    Fax: (017) 819 3481
    Eswatini Mahamba 07:00 – 22:00 Tel: (017) 826 0076
    Fax: 017) 826 0077
    Eswatini Mananga 07:00 – 18:00 Tel: (013) 790 7075
    Fax: (013) 790 0077
    Eswatini Golela 07:00 – 22:00 Tel: (034) 435 1070
    Fax: (034) 435 1048
    Eswatini Jeppes Reef 07:00 – 20:00 Tel: (013) 781 0382
    Fax: (013) 781 0383
    Namibia Nakop 24 hours Tel: (054) 571 0008 / 0077
    Fax: (054) 571 0009
    Namibia Vioolsdrift 24 hours Tel: (027) 761 8760
    Fax: (027) 761 8931
    Mozambique Lebombo 06:00 – 00:00 Tel: (013) 793 7311
    Fax: (013) 793 7091
    Lesotho Caledonspoort 06:00 – 22:00 Tel: (058) 223 8400
    Fax:( 058) 223 1012
    Lesotho Ficksburg Bridge 24 hours Tel:( 051) 933 2760
    Fax: (051) 933 4540
    Lesotho Maseru Bridge 24 hours Tel: (051) 924 4300
    Fax: (051) 924 4000
    Lesotho Quacha’s Nek 06:00 – 22:00 Tel: (039) 256 4391
    Fax: (051) 633 1099
    Lesotho Van Rooyens Gate 06:00 – 22:00 Tel: (051) 583 1525
    Fax: (051) 583 1530
    Botswana Groblersbrug 08:00 – 22:00 Tel: (014) 767 1019
    Fax: (014) 767 1264
    Botswana Kopfontein 06:00 – 24:00 Tel: (018) 365 9055
    Fax: (018) 365 9026
    Botswana Ramatlabama 06:00 – 22:00 Tel: (018) 390 2533
    Fax: (018) 393 0334
    Botswana Skilpadshek 06:00 – 24:00 Tel: (018) 366 0011
    Fax: (018) 366 0012

    Compiled from cross-referencing the list of all ports of entry with the list of closed ports

  • Where can I find a list of international embassies and consulates in South Africa?

    Should a foreign national require assistance in South Africa, a list of all foreign representation in South Africa is available on the Department of International Relations and Cooperation’s website. Diplomatic missions are listed alphabetically by country name.

  • Where can I find a list of South African embassies and consulates abroad?

    Should a South African or foreign national require assistance abroad (e.g. returning home, visa purposes, etc.), a list of all South African representation abroad is available on the Department of International Relations and Cooperation’s website. South African missions abroad are listed alphabetically by the country in which they are located. The individual websites for these embassies, high commissions and consulates abroad are also listed here.

  • Entry Requirements

  • Can an arrival self-quarantine upon entry rather than go to a quarantine facility?

    Returning South Africans who are unable to present a negative test result, or who display symptoms should be able to self-quarantine at home, provided they have access to: 

    • Separate bedroom with an on-suite bathroom and toilet that is not shared with another person. 
    • Prepared meals to be served in the room preferably in disposable utensils alternatively separated and washed properly. 
    • Support from friends or family that can facilitate the drop off of food and medicine at the gate if they are not able to make use of online shopping facilities and contactless deliveries. 
    • Access to a thermometer that will allow for the monitoring of temperature daily. 
    • Access to the internet either through my phone or computer to allow reporting symptoms daily. 
    • Access to a private physician that he or she can contact should he or she be in need of medical advice or care. 
    • No visitors are permitted to visit the quarantined person. 

    Foreign national arrivals may be permitted to self-quarantine at their accommodation, provided it meets the conditions above, but we are awaiting further clarification and confirmation on this point.  

    TBC IF THE APPLICATION FOR SELF-QUARANTINE IS STILL REQUIRED AND IF A FOREIGN NATIONAL CAN SELF-QUARANTINE

  • Is entry based on country of citizenship or residence (or where an individual has visited or transitted through)?

    Entry into South Africa for foreign nationals is based on where the traveller has spent the previous 10 days.   

    If the passport of a foreign national traveller from a high-risk country indicates that they have spent 10 days or more in a low-risk country before departure to South Arica, they will be considered to be arriving from a low-risk country and subject to the low-risk entry requirements. 

    South African citizens and permanent residents will always be allowed to return home, whether or not they are travelling from or through a high-risk country. 

  • What are the exceptions for travellers from high-risk countries and what is the process for entry?

    Exceptions will be made for individuals from high-risk countries who are business travellers, diplomats, repatriated persons, investors and people with scarce and critical skills or participating in professional sporting or cultural events.  

    Business travellers must apply, in writing, to the Minister of Home Affairs and demonstrate reasons for their request to enter South Africa. This application must be sent to [email protected]  and include: 

    1. a copy of passport and/or temporary residence visa; 
    1. proof of business activities to be undertaken in South Africa; 
    1. proof of travel itinerary; and 
    1. proof of address or accommodation in South Africa. 

    They will likewise be subject to the prescribed screening procedure and isolation or quarantine rules, depending on the circumstances. On arrival, they must present a valid certificate of a negative test obtained not more than 72 hours before the date of travel. Failure to present proof of a negative test will require the traveller to quarantine at their own cost. 

  • What are the requirements to enter South Africa?
    • All arrivals must present a valid certificate of a negative COVID-19 PCR test, obtained not more than 72 hours (3 days) from the time of departure from the country of origin to South Africa. The test must be conducted by a certified medical practitioner and the certificate must have the name and signature of the practitioner who conducted the test. 
    • Failure to present proof of a valid and negative test will require the traveller to quarantine at their own cost.  
    • All arrivals will be screened for any COVID-19 symptoms and/or for contact with people who have been infected with the COVID-19 virus.  
    • Should the traveller display any COVID-19–related symptoms or have been in contact with an infected person, they will be expected to take a mandatory COVID-19 test. This test will be at the traveller’s cost. If the COVID-19 test comes back positive, the traveller will be subjected to a 10-day quarantine at a designated site, at the traveller’s cost.  
    • All arrivals must provide proof of accommodation address should they need to self-quarantine at the time of arrival in the country, subject to the accommodation allowing for self-quarantine. 
    • All arrivals will be asked to download the COVID Alert South Africa mobile app. Information on the app can be found here
    • Foreign national arrivals from low- and medium-risk countries will be subject to the prevailing visa requirements. Our understanding of this is that the visa regime that was previously in place stands (e.g. if a 90-day waiver was in place before, it will be reinstated now if the traveller is coming from a low- or medium-risk country). Foreign national arrivals from high-risk countries may enter with an application in compliance with the exemptions laid out by government and then subject to the prevailing visa requirements. 
    • All foreign national arrivals must have travel insurance that covers the cost of any testing or quarantine. 
  • Which countries have been classified as high-risk? Are there different levels of risk and requirements?

    Which countries are allowed to come to South Africa? Are there different levels of risk and requirements?

    Based on the latest WHO criteria on infection and death rates, South Africa has developed a risk categorisation model for different international travellers. This model classifies international travellers according to a scale of high, medium and low risk.  

    High-risk travellers are those who come from countries with higher numbers of COVID-19 infections and reported deaths compared to South Africa. 

    Medium risk travellers are from countries with a relatively equal number of infections and death toll to South Africa. Low-risk travellers originate from countries with lesser number of infections of COVID-19 and death toll than South Africa.

    The list of countries and categorisation will be reviewed every two weeks and updated based on the latest WHO figures.

    Travellers (leisure, corporate and other) from the African continent as well as from medium- and low-risk countries will be allowed into the country subject to the entry requirements (i.e. screening, visas, testing, quarantine).

    Below is the list of countries currently considered high risk, and from which leisure travellers are not allowed:

    Albania ​​​

    Argentina

    Armenia

    Austria

    Bahrain

    Belgium

    Bolivia

    Bosnia and Herzegovina

    Brazil ​​​ ​​​​

    Chile

    ​​​Columbia

    Costa Rica

    Croatia 

    Czech Republic

    Denmark

    Ecuador

    France​​​

    Georgia ​

    Greece

    Guatemala ​

    Guyana​​​

    Honduras

    Hungary

    Iceland

    India

    Iran

    ​​​Iraq

    Ireland

    Israel

    Jamaica

    Jordan

    Kuwait

    Lebanon

    Luxemburg ​​

    Maldives

    Malta

    Mexico

    Moldova

    Montenegro ​​​

    Nepal ​​

    Netherlands 

    North Macedonia

    Oman

    Palestine

    Panama

    Paraguay

    Peru ​​​

    Portugal

    Puerto Rico

    Qatar

    Romania

    Russia

    Slovakia

    Suriname

    Switzerland

    Ukraine

    ​​​United Emirates

    United Kingdom              ​

    USA

    Venezuela

    Exceptions will be made for individuals from high-risk countries who are business travellers with scarce and critical skills, diplomats, repatriated persons, investors and people participating in professional sporting and cultural events.

    If the passport of the traveller from a high-risk country indicates that they have spent 10 days or more in a low-risk country before departure, they will be considered to be arriving from a low-risk country and subject to the low-risk entry requirements.

  • What test results are accepted? (e.g. antibody, viral)

    All arrivals to South Africa (South Africans and foreign nationals) must present a valid certificate of a negative COVID-19 PCR test, obtained not more than 72 hours (3 days) from the time of departure from the country of origin to South Africa. The test must be conducted by a certified medical practitioner and the certificate must have the name and signature of the practitioner who conducted the test. 

    Failure to present a valid and negative test result will require you to quarantine at your own cost, until which time a repeat test can be conducted. 

  • Outbound Requirements

  • What happens if the country in which I’m travelling suddenly moves from low-risk to high-risk?

    We know that airlines from high-risk countries are not necessarily banned and that South Africans will always be allowed to return home, whether or not they are travelling from or through a high-risk country.  

    ASATA is awaiting confirmation on this point, but transit through a high-risk country, where the traveller has not passed through immigration, is not likely to affect entry (for both South African citizens and foreign nationals). Restriction of travellers from high-risk countries is more likely to be based on where the traveller’s passport shows they have resided over the last 10 days. 

  • Which countries currently accept South African Travellers?

    This information will be constantly in flux as countries update entry requirements based on infection rates and reciprocity. The most reliable and up-to-date information will be found from the source (i.e. official government and consular websites). 

    • European Union 
    • United Kingdom 
    • United States 
    • Brazil: entry regulations lift on 29 July. All foreign national arrivals must have travel insurance with a minimum cover of BRL 30 000 (approximately ZAR 90 000). (IATA

    IATA’s COVID-19 Travel Regulations Map is also regularly updated with restrictions per country. However, it is still best to double check this information against what is available from official government sources as IATA cannot guarantee total accuracy given the ever-changing nature of the international response to COVID-19. 

    On borderdata.io you can check countries’ border status based on the borderdata.io method

    borderdata.io manually checks every country’s border status, and define if the border is open, closed or partially closed.

    Search if your preferred airport is open for citizens, tourist or only cargo. If your searched border is closed. Enable the push notifications to be notified of any changes.

  • Are South Africans allowed to travel to and from high-risk countries?

    The regulations allow for South Africans to travel to any country for leisure or corporate.  

    The caveat to this is that they can only travel to countries that accept South Africans.  

    In travel, both source and destination have to give the green light. In this case, South Africa has given the green light, but you would need to look at each destination to see whether they will accept South Africans and under which conditions.  

  • Do South African residents require a 72-hour COVID-19 test prior to departing South Africa?

    South African residents do not require a 72-hour COVID-19 test prior to departing South Africa. At the airport, they will be screened at the airport and anyone exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms will be prohibited from boarding. Departing South Africans should also bring with them a completed exit screening questionnaire

    Any additional requirements will be stipulated by the airline and/or country of destination. This information will be constantly in flux as countries update entry requirements based on infection rates and reciprocity. The most reliable and up-to-date information will be found from the source (i.e. official government and consular websites). 

    IATA’s COVID-19 Travel Regulations Map is also regularly updated with restrictions per country. However, it is still best to double-check this information against what is available from official government sources as IATA cannot guarantee total accuracy given the ever-changing nature of the international response to COVID-19. 

    Travellers should also be aware that testing may be conducted at some international airports.  

  • Where can I get tested in South Africa before I travel? How much does it cost and how quickly will I get the results?

    There are over 200 testing sites across South Africa. Pathcare, Lancet and Ampath all list their testing sites per province along with address, contact information and operating hours. The cost for a Covid-19 test in South Africa is R850 and results take 48-72 hours to process depending on patient priority.

  • Aviation

  • Will airlines be permitted to land in South Africa from high-risk countries?

    Airlines from high-risk countries are not necessarily banned, but their crew will be required to isolate in facilities at designated accommodation at the cost of their employer. 

    Passengers disembarking from flights originating from high-risk countries must be South Africans or in possession of a valid visa. And all arrivals must meet the entry requirements including a valid certificate of a negative COVID-19 PCR test. 

  • Are domestic airlines operating in South Africa?
    • Bram Fischer International Airport
    • Cape Town International Airport**
    • East London Airport
    • George Airport
    • Hoedspruit Airport
    • Kimberly Airport
    • King Shaka International Airport**
    • Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport
    • Lanseria International Airport
    • Margate Airport
    • Mthatha Airport
    • OR Tambo International Airport**
    • Phalaborwa Airport
    • Pietermaritzburg Airport
    • Plettenberg Bay Airport
    • Polokwane Airport
    • Port Elizabeth International Airport
    • Richards Bay Airport
    • Sishen Airport
    • Skukuza Airport
    • Upington International Airport

    Passengers should arrive at the airport at least two hours before a domestic flight to ensure enough time is allocated for screening and operational procedures. Until it is otherwise announced, only passengers are permitted inside the terminal buildings. Passengers with a temperature higher than 38 degrees will not be permitted to enter the airport. Masks must be worn and social distancing of 1,5 metres must be adhered to at all times in the airport.  

    **Additionally open to international air travel  

    Travellers should complete the following screening questionnaires from the Department of Health, to be submitted before all flights:  

  • Which airlines are operating flights to/from South Africa?

    Each airline will have its own threshold for flying to and from South Africa based on demand for seats—which need to be filled on both inbound and outbound legs. For this reason, we may see that not all airlines immediately begin flying to South Africa. Schedules may remain in flux for some time to come as countries, including South Africa, continuously update their list of permitted countries and entry requirements based on infection rates, which will have an impact demand.

    ASATA will update its website with airline information as and when it becomes available. 

    Specific ticket enquiries will need to be taken up with the respective airline.

  • Inbound

  • Is entry based on country of citizenship or residence (or where an individual has visited or transitted through)?

    Entry into South Africa for foreign nationals is based on where the traveller has spent the previous 10 days.   

    If the passport of a foreign national traveller from a high-risk country indicates that they have spent 10 days or more in a low-risk country before departure to South Arica, they will be considered to be arriving from a low-risk country and subject to the low-risk entry requirements. 

    South African citizens and permanent residents will always be allowed to return home, whether or not they are travelling from or through a high-risk country. 

  • What are the exceptions for travellers from high-risk countries and what is the process for entry?

    Exceptions will be made for individuals from high-risk countries who are business travellers, diplomats, repatriated persons, investors and people with scarce and critical skills or participating in professional sporting or cultural events.  

    Business travellers must apply, in writing, to the Minister of Home Affairs and demonstrate reasons for their request to enter South Africa. This application must be sent to [email protected]  and include: 

    1. a copy of passport and/or temporary residence visa; 
    1. proof of business activities to be undertaken in South Africa; 
    1. proof of travel itinerary; and 
    1. proof of address or accommodation in South Africa. 

    They will likewise be subject to the prescribed screening procedure and isolation or quarantine rules, depending on the circumstances. On arrival, they must present a valid certificate of a negative test obtained not more than 72 hours before the date of travel. Failure to present proof of a negative test will require the traveller to quarantine at their own cost. 

  • Are South Africans allowed to travel to and from high-risk countries?

    The regulations allow for South Africans to travel to any country for leisure or corporate.  

    The caveat to this is that they can only travel to countries that accept South Africans.  

    In travel, both source and destination have to give the green light. In this case, South Africa has given the green light, but you would need to look at each destination to see whether they will accept South Africans and under which conditions.  

  • What happens if travelling South Africans transit through a high-risk country on their return to South Africa?

    We know that airlines from high-risk countries are not necessarily banned and that South Africans will always be allowed to return home, whether or not they are travelling from or through a high-risk country.  

    ASATA is awaiting confirmation on this point, but transit through a high-risk country, where the traveller has not passed through immigration, is not likely to affect entry (for both South African citizens and foreign nationals). Restriction of travellers from high-risk countries is more likely to be based on where the traveller’s passport shows they have resided over the last 10 days.  

  • Do returning South Africans require travel insurance to re-enter South Africa from abroad?

    The government announcement on 30 September indicated that all travellers to South Africa are required to have travel insurance to cover the cost of COVID-19 testing and 10-day quarantine so that this burden does not fall on South African taxpayers.  

    The requirement applies to foreign national travellers and South Africans who do not have travel insurance with these covers will not be prohibited from entering the country. However, it is, of course, advisable for South Africans to take out comprehensive travel insurance when travelling abroad during these times. 

  • Terms& Conditions

  • Are suppliers changing their cancellation and booking policies?

    Each supplier (airline, tour operator, etc.) will have its own change and cancellation policies, and many are being more lenient when it comes to deposits or postponements. As a consumer, if you are in a position to postpone rather than cancel, you not only help the supplier and several players along the value chain, but you also keep something to look forward to and don’t have to compromise on your expectations.

    Be sure to read and understand all the terms and conditions of your ticket or booking upfront so that there are no surprises down the line.

  • Insurance

  • How do I pick a travel insurance policy?

    Be sure to check the requirements of your travel destinations as some, like South Africa and Brazil, are requiring that foreign national arrivals have COVID-19 travel insurance. For South African arrivals, it must cover the cost of any testing or quarantine. 

    Travel insurance policies will differ based on factors such as your age, the length of your trip, and what you want to be covered. A standard insurance policy may cover cancellation for events such as the sudden bankruptcy of a travel company, unexpected illness, or a natural disaster or unrest in the destination.  

    When looking for travel insurance that covers COVID-19-related events, consider the following: 

    • Travel medical: cover your expenses if you or a travel companion, such as your spouse or child, contract COVID-19 while travelling and require medical care or evacuation. 
    • Trip cancellation: cover any expenses incurred as a result of cancelling your trip prior to departure because you, or someone you care for, contracted COVID-19. 
    • Trip delay: cover any expenses incurred as a result of changing COVID-19 regulations e.g. travel bans. 

    Most travel insurances will not cover disinclination or fear to travel. The exception is ‘cancel for any reason’ (CFAR) insurance. This is usually available as an optional upgrade to a standard travel insurance plan and may cost up to 50% more than a standard plan. It typically needs to be purchased within one to three weeks from the time you booked your trip or made the initial deposit, and you must cancel your travel 48 hours prior to departure. Often available in two tiers, CFAR insurance can cover you for 50-75% of your total travel costs. However, CFAR is not yet a common insurance product in South Africa.  

    Know that there is no-size-fits-all travel insurance plan and each additional cover comes at a cost. Whichever you choose, be sure to read the full insurance contract before buying to check whether it covers specifics like quarantine, testing, and flight disruptions.  

  • Do returning South Africans require travel insurance to re-enter South Africa from abroad?

    Level 1 FAQs

    General

  • Which international ports are open?

    Johannesburg’s OR Tambo, Durban’s King Shaka and Cape Town International Airports are the only airports that will allow international air travel to arrive or depart.

    All commercial seaports will be opened.

    The 35 land borders that were closed during the previous lockdown levels will remain closed.

    The 18 land borders which were partially operational during the previous lockdown levels will be fully operational (i.e. allow passage of South Africans and permitted foreign nationals). These include:

    COUNTRY PORT HOURS CONTACT
    Zimbabwe Beitbridge Bridge 24 hours Tel & Fax: (015) 530 0070
    Eswatini Oshoek 07:00 – 22:00 Tel: (017) 882 0138/9
    Fax: (017) 819 3481
    Eswatini Mahamba 07:00 – 22:00 Tel: (017) 826 0076
    Fax: 017) 826 0077
    Eswatini Mananga 07:00 – 18:00 Tel: (013) 790 7075
    Fax: (013) 790 0077
    Eswatini Golela 07:00 – 22:00 Tel: (034) 435 1070
    Fax: (034) 435 1048
    Eswatini Jeppes Reef 07:00 – 20:00 Tel: (013) 781 0382
    Fax: (013) 781 0383
    Namibia Nakop 24 hours Tel: (054) 571 0008 / 0077
    Fax: (054) 571 0009
    Namibia Vioolsdrift 24 hours Tel: (027) 761 8760
    Fax: (027) 761 8931
    Mozambique Lebombo 06:00 – 00:00 Tel: (013) 793 7311
    Fax: (013) 793 7091
    Lesotho Caledonspoort 06:00 – 22:00 Tel: (058) 223 8400
    Fax:( 058) 223 1012
    Lesotho Ficksburg Bridge 24 hours Tel:( 051) 933 2760
    Fax: (051) 933 4540
    Lesotho Maseru Bridge 24 hours Tel: (051) 924 4300
    Fax: (051) 924 4000
    Lesotho Quacha’s Nek 06:00 – 22:00 Tel: (039) 256 4391
    Fax: (051) 633 1099
    Lesotho Van Rooyens Gate 06:00 – 22:00 Tel: (051) 583 1525
    Fax: (051) 583 1530
    Botswana Groblersbrug 08:00 – 22:00 Tel: (014) 767 1019
    Fax: (014) 767 1264
    Botswana Kopfontein 06:00 – 24:00 Tel: (018) 365 9055
    Fax: (018) 365 9026
    Botswana Ramatlabama 06:00 – 22:00 Tel: (018) 390 2533
    Fax: (018) 393 0334
    Botswana Skilpadshek 06:00 – 24:00 Tel: (018) 366 0011
    Fax: (018) 366 0012

    Compiled from cross-referencing the list of all ports of entry with the list of closed ports

  • Where can I find a list of international embassies and consulates in South Africa?

    Should a foreign national require assistance in South Africa, a list of all foreign representation in South Africa is available on the Department of International Relations and Cooperation’s website. Diplomatic missions are listed alphabetically by country name.

  • Where can I find a list of South African embassies and consulates abroad?

    Should a South African or foreign national require assistance abroad (e.g. returning home, visa purposes, etc.), a list of all South African representation abroad is available on the Department of International Relations and Cooperation’s website. South African missions abroad are listed alphabetically by the country in which they are located. The individual websites for these embassies, high commissions and consulates abroad are also listed here.

  • Entry Requirements

  • Can an arrival self-quarantine upon entry rather than go to a quarantine facility?

    Returning South Africans who are unable to present a negative test result, or who display symptoms should be able to self-quarantine at home, provided they have access to: 

    • Separate bedroom with an on-suite bathroom and toilet that is not shared with another person. 
    • Prepared meals to be served in the room preferably in disposable utensils alternatively separated and washed properly. 
    • Support from friends or family that can facilitate the drop off of food and medicine at the gate if they are not able to make use of online shopping facilities and contactless deliveries. 
    • Access to a thermometer that will allow for the monitoring of temperature daily. 
    • Access to the internet either through my phone or computer to allow reporting symptoms daily. 
    • Access to a private physician that he or she can contact should he or she be in need of medical advice or care. 
    • No visitors are permitted to visit the quarantined person. 

    Foreign national arrivals may be permitted to self-quarantine at their accommodation, provided it meets the conditions above, but we are awaiting further clarification and confirmation on this point.  

    TBC IF THE APPLICATION FOR SELF-QUARANTINE IS STILL REQUIRED AND IF A FOREIGN NATIONAL CAN SELF-QUARANTINE

  • Is entry based on country of citizenship or residence (or where an individual has visited or transitted through)?

    Entry into South Africa for foreign nationals is based on where the traveller has spent the previous 10 days.   

    If the passport of a foreign national traveller from a high-risk country indicates that they have spent 10 days or more in a low-risk country before departure to South Arica, they will be considered to be arriving from a low-risk country and subject to the low-risk entry requirements. 

    South African citizens and permanent residents will always be allowed to return home, whether or not they are travelling from or through a high-risk country. 

  • What are the exceptions for travellers from high-risk countries and what is the process for entry?

    Exceptions will be made for individuals from high-risk countries who are business travellers, diplomats, repatriated persons, investors and people with scarce and critical skills or participating in professional sporting or cultural events.  

    Business travellers must apply, in writing, to the Minister of Home Affairs and demonstrate reasons for their request to enter South Africa. This application must be sent to [email protected]  and include: 

    1. a copy of passport and/or temporary residence visa; 
    1. proof of business activities to be undertaken in South Africa; 
    1. proof of travel itinerary; and 
    1. proof of address or accommodation in South Africa. 

    They will likewise be subject to the prescribed screening procedure and isolation or quarantine rules, depending on the circumstances. On arrival, they must present a valid certificate of a negative test obtained not more than 72 hours before the date of travel. Failure to present proof of a negative test will require the traveller to quarantine at their own cost. 

  • What are the requirements to enter South Africa?
    • All arrivals must present a valid certificate of a negative COVID-19 PCR test, obtained not more than 72 hours (3 days) from the time of departure from the country of origin to South Africa. The test must be conducted by a certified medical practitioner and the certificate must have the name and signature of the practitioner who conducted the test. 
    • Failure to present proof of a valid and negative test will require the traveller to quarantine at their own cost.  
    • All arrivals will be screened for any COVID-19 symptoms and/or for contact with people who have been infected with the COVID-19 virus.  
    • Should the traveller display any COVID-19–related symptoms or have been in contact with an infected person, they will be expected to take a mandatory COVID-19 test. This test will be at the traveller’s cost. If the COVID-19 test comes back positive, the traveller will be subjected to a 10-day quarantine at a designated site, at the traveller’s cost.  
    • All arrivals must provide proof of accommodation address should they need to self-quarantine at the time of arrival in the country, subject to the accommodation allowing for self-quarantine. 
    • All arrivals will be asked to download the COVID Alert South Africa mobile app. Information on the app can be found here
    • Foreign national arrivals from low- and medium-risk countries will be subject to the prevailing visa requirements. Our understanding of this is that the visa regime that was previously in place stands (e.g. if a 90-day waiver was in place before, it will be reinstated now if the traveller is coming from a low- or medium-risk country). Foreign national arrivals from high-risk countries may enter with an application in compliance with the exemptions laid out by government and then subject to the prevailing visa requirements. 
    • All foreign national arrivals must have travel insurance that covers the cost of any testing or quarantine. 
  • Which countries have been classified as high-risk? Are there different levels of risk and requirements?

    Which countries are allowed to come to South Africa? Are there different levels of risk and requirements?

    Based on the latest WHO criteria on infection and death rates, South Africa has developed a risk categorisation model for different international travellers. This model classifies international travellers according to a scale of high, medium and low risk.  

    High-risk travellers are those who come from countries with higher numbers of COVID-19 infections and reported deaths compared to South Africa. 

    Medium risk travellers are from countries with a relatively equal number of infections and death toll to South Africa. Low-risk travellers originate from countries with lesser number of infections of COVID-19 and death toll than South Africa.

    The list of countries and categorisation will be reviewed every two weeks and updated based on the latest WHO figures.

    Travellers (leisure, corporate and other) from the African continent as well as from medium- and low-risk countries will be allowed into the country subject to the entry requirements (i.e. screening, visas, testing, quarantine).

    Below is the list of countries currently considered high risk, and from which leisure travellers are not allowed:

    Albania ​​​

    Argentina

    Armenia

    Austria

    Bahrain

    Belgium

    Bolivia

    Bosnia and Herzegovina

    Brazil ​​​ ​​​​

    Chile

    ​​​Columbia

    Costa Rica

    Croatia 

    Czech Republic

    Denmark

    Ecuador

    France​​​

    Georgia ​

    Greece

    Guatemala ​

    Guyana​​​

    Honduras

    Hungary

    Iceland

    India

    Iran

    ​​​Iraq

    Ireland

    Israel

    Jamaica

    Jordan

    Kuwait

    Lebanon

    Luxemburg ​​

    Maldives

    Malta

    Mexico

    Moldova

    Montenegro ​​​

    Nepal ​​

    Netherlands 

    North Macedonia

    Oman

    Palestine

    Panama

    Paraguay

    Peru ​​​

    Portugal

    Puerto Rico

    Qatar

    Romania

    Russia

    Slovakia

    Suriname

    Switzerland

    Ukraine

    ​​​United Emirates

    United Kingdom              ​

    USA

    Venezuela

    Exceptions will be made for individuals from high-risk countries who are business travellers with scarce and critical skills, diplomats, repatriated persons, investors and people participating in professional sporting and cultural events.

    If the passport of the traveller from a high-risk country indicates that they have spent 10 days or more in a low-risk country before departure, they will be considered to be arriving from a low-risk country and subject to the low-risk entry requirements.

  • What test results are accepted? (e.g. antibody, viral)

    All arrivals to South Africa (South Africans and foreign nationals) must present a valid certificate of a negative COVID-19 PCR test, obtained not more than 72 hours (3 days) from the time of departure from the country of origin to South Africa. The test must be conducted by a certified medical practitioner and the certificate must have the name and signature of the practitioner who conducted the test. 

    Failure to present a valid and negative test result will require you to quarantine at your own cost, until which time a repeat test can be conducted. 

  • Outbound Requirements

  • What happens if the country in which I’m travelling suddenly moves from low-risk to high-risk?

    We know that airlines from high-risk countries are not necessarily banned and that South Africans will always be allowed to return home, whether or not they are travelling from or through a high-risk country.  

    ASATA is awaiting confirmation on this point, but transit through a high-risk country, where the traveller has not passed through immigration, is not likely to affect entry (for both South African citizens and foreign nationals). Restriction of travellers from high-risk countries is more likely to be based on where the traveller’s passport shows they have resided over the last 10 days. 

  • Which countries currently accept South African Travellers?

    This information will be constantly in flux as countries update entry requirements based on infection rates and reciprocity. The most reliable and up-to-date information will be found from the source (i.e. official government and consular websites). 

    • European Union 
    • United Kingdom 
    • United States 
    • Brazil: entry regulations lift on 29 July. All foreign national arrivals must have travel insurance with a minimum cover of BRL 30 000 (approximately ZAR 90 000). (IATA

    IATA’s COVID-19 Travel Regulations Map is also regularly updated with restrictions per country. However, it is still best to double check this information against what is available from official government sources as IATA cannot guarantee total accuracy given the ever-changing nature of the international response to COVID-19. 

    On borderdata.io you can check countries’ border status based on the borderdata.io method

    borderdata.io manually checks every country’s border status, and define if the border is open, closed or partially closed.

    Search if your preferred airport is open for citizens, tourist or only cargo. If your searched border is closed. Enable the push notifications to be notified of any changes.

  • Are South Africans allowed to travel to and from high-risk countries?

    The regulations allow for South Africans to travel to any country for leisure or corporate.  

    The caveat to this is that they can only travel to countries that accept South Africans.  

    In travel, both source and destination have to give the green light. In this case, South Africa has given the green light, but you would need to look at each destination to see whether they will accept South Africans and under which conditions.  

  • Do South African residents require a 72-hour COVID-19 test prior to departing South Africa?

    South African residents do not require a 72-hour COVID-19 test prior to departing South Africa. At the airport, they will be screened at the airport and anyone exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms will be prohibited from boarding. Departing South Africans should also bring with them a completed exit screening questionnaire

    Any additional requirements will be stipulated by the airline and/or country of destination. This information will be constantly in flux as countries update entry requirements based on infection rates and reciprocity. The most reliable and up-to-date information will be found from the source (i.e. official government and consular websites). 

    IATA’s COVID-19 Travel Regulations Map is also regularly updated with restrictions per country. However, it is still best to double-check this information against what is available from official government sources as IATA cannot guarantee total accuracy given the ever-changing nature of the international response to COVID-19. 

    Travellers should also be aware that testing may be conducted at some international airports.  

  • Where can I get tested in South Africa before I travel? How much does it cost and how quickly will I get the results?

    There are over 200 testing sites across South Africa. Pathcare, Lancet and Ampath all list their testing sites per province along with address, contact information and operating hours. The cost for a Covid-19 test in South Africa is R850 and results take 48-72 hours to process depending on patient priority.

  • Aviation

  • Will airlines be permitted to land in South Africa from high-risk countries?

    Airlines from high-risk countries are not necessarily banned, but their crew will be required to isolate in facilities at designated accommodation at the cost of their employer. 

    Passengers disembarking from flights originating from high-risk countries must be South Africans or in possession of a valid visa. And all arrivals must meet the entry requirements including a valid certificate of a negative COVID-19 PCR test. 

  • Are domestic airlines operating in South Africa?
    • Bram Fischer International Airport
    • Cape Town International Airport**
    • East London Airport
    • George Airport
    • Hoedspruit Airport
    • Kimberly Airport
    • King Shaka International Airport**
    • Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport
    • Lanseria International Airport
    • Margate Airport
    • Mthatha Airport
    • OR Tambo International Airport**
    • Phalaborwa Airport
    • Pietermaritzburg Airport
    • Plettenberg Bay Airport
    • Polokwane Airport
    • Port Elizabeth International Airport
    • Richards Bay Airport
    • Sishen Airport
    • Skukuza Airport
    • Upington International Airport

    Passengers should arrive at the airport at least two hours before a domestic flight to ensure enough time is allocated for screening and operational procedures. Until it is otherwise announced, only passengers are permitted inside the terminal buildings. Passengers with a temperature higher than 38 degrees will not be permitted to enter the airport. Masks must be worn and social distancing of 1,5 metres must be adhered to at all times in the airport.  

    **Additionally open to international air travel  

    Travellers should complete the following screening questionnaires from the Department of Health, to be submitted before all flights:  

  • Which airlines are operating flights to/from South Africa?

    Each airline will have its own threshold for flying to and from South Africa based on demand for seats—which need to be filled on both inbound and outbound legs. For this reason, we may see that not all airlines immediately begin flying to South Africa. Schedules may remain in flux for some time to come as countries, including South Africa, continuously update their list of permitted countries and entry requirements based on infection rates, which will have an impact demand.

    ASATA will update its website with airline information as and when it becomes available. 

    Specific ticket enquiries will need to be taken up with the respective airline.

  • Inbound

  • Is entry based on country of citizenship or residence (or where an individual has visited or transitted through)?

    Entry into South Africa for foreign nationals is based on where the traveller has spent the previous 10 days.   

    If the passport of a foreign national traveller from a high-risk country indicates that they have spent 10 days or more in a low-risk country before departure to South Arica, they will be considered to be arriving from a low-risk country and subject to the low-risk entry requirements. 

    South African citizens and permanent residents will always be allowed to return home, whether or not they are travelling from or through a high-risk country. 

  • What are the exceptions for travellers from high-risk countries and what is the process for entry?

    Exceptions will be made for individuals from high-risk countries who are business travellers, diplomats, repatriated persons, investors and people with scarce and critical skills or participating in professional sporting or cultural events.  

    Business travellers must apply, in writing, to the Minister of Home Affairs and demonstrate reasons for their request to enter South Africa. This application must be sent to [email protected]  and include: 

    1. a copy of passport and/or temporary residence visa; 
    1. proof of business activities to be undertaken in South Africa; 
    1. proof of travel itinerary; and 
    1. proof of address or accommodation in South Africa. 

    They will likewise be subject to the prescribed screening procedure and isolation or quarantine rules, depending on the circumstances. On arrival, they must present a valid certificate of a negative test obtained not more than 72 hours before the date of travel. Failure to present proof of a negative test will require the traveller to quarantine at their own cost. 

  • Are South Africans allowed to travel to and from high-risk countries?

    The regulations allow for South Africans to travel to any country for leisure or corporate.  

    The caveat to this is that they can only travel to countries that accept South Africans.  

    In travel, both source and destination have to give the green light. In this case, South Africa has given the green light, but you would need to look at each destination to see whether they will accept South Africans and under which conditions.  

  • What happens if travelling South Africans transit through a high-risk country on their return to South Africa?

    We know that airlines from high-risk countries are not necessarily banned and that South Africans will always be allowed to return home, whether or not they are travelling from or through a high-risk country.  

    ASATA is awaiting confirmation on this point, but transit through a high-risk country, where the traveller has not passed through immigration, is not likely to affect entry (for both South African citizens and foreign nationals). Restriction of travellers from high-risk countries is more likely to be based on where the traveller’s passport shows they have resided over the last 10 days.  

  • Do returning South Africans require travel insurance to re-enter South Africa from abroad?

    The government announcement on 30 September indicated that all travellers to South Africa are required to have travel insurance to cover the cost of COVID-19 testing and 10-day quarantine so that this burden does not fall on South African taxpayers.  

    The requirement applies to foreign national travellers and South Africans who do not have travel insurance with these covers will not be prohibited from entering the country. However, it is, of course, advisable for South Africans to take out comprehensive travel insurance when travelling abroad during these times. 

  • Terms& Conditions

  • Are suppliers changing their cancellation and booking policies?

    Each supplier (airline, tour operator, etc.) will have its own change and cancellation policies, and many are being more lenient when it comes to deposits or postponements. As a consumer, if you are in a position to postpone rather than cancel, you not only help the supplier and several players along the value chain, but you also keep something to look forward to and don’t have to compromise on your expectations.

    Be sure to read and understand all the terms and conditions of your ticket or booking upfront so that there are no surprises down the line.

  • Insurance

  • How do I pick a travel insurance policy?

    Be sure to check the requirements of your travel destinations as some, like South Africa and Brazil, are requiring that foreign national arrivals have COVID-19 travel insurance. For South African arrivals, it must cover the cost of any testing or quarantine. 

    Travel insurance policies will differ based on factors such as your age, the length of your trip, and what you want to be covered. A standard insurance policy may cover cancellation for events such as the sudden bankruptcy of a travel company, unexpected illness, or a natural disaster or unrest in the destination.  

    When looking for travel insurance that covers COVID-19-related events, consider the following: 

    • Travel medical: cover your expenses if you or a travel companion, such as your spouse or child, contract COVID-19 while travelling and require medical care or evacuation. 
    • Trip cancellation: cover any expenses incurred as a result of cancelling your trip prior to departure because you, or someone you care for, contracted COVID-19. 
    • Trip delay: cover any expenses incurred as a result of changing COVID-19 regulations e.g. travel bans. 

    Most travel insurances will not cover disinclination or fear to travel. The exception is ‘cancel for any reason’ (CFAR) insurance. This is usually available as an optional upgrade to a standard travel insurance plan and may cost up to 50% more than a standard plan. It typically needs to be purchased within one to three weeks from the time you booked your trip or made the initial deposit, and you must cancel your travel 48 hours prior to departure. Often available in two tiers, CFAR insurance can cover you for 50-75% of your total travel costs. However, CFAR is not yet a common insurance product in South Africa.  

    Know that there is no-size-fits-all travel insurance plan and each additional cover comes at a cost. Whichever you choose, be sure to read the full insurance contract before buying to check whether it covers specifics like quarantine, testing, and flight disruptions.  

  • Terms& Conditions

  • Are suppliers changing their cancellation and booking policies?

    Level 1 FAQs

    General

  • Which international ports are open?

    Johannesburg’s OR Tambo, Durban’s King Shaka and Cape Town International Airports are the only airports that will allow international air travel to arrive or depart.

    All commercial seaports will be opened.

    The 35 land borders that were closed during the previous lockdown levels will remain closed.

    The 18 land borders which were partially operational during the previous lockdown levels will be fully operational (i.e. allow passage of South Africans and permitted foreign nationals). These include:

    COUNTRY PORT HOURS CONTACT
    Zimbabwe Beitbridge Bridge 24 hours Tel & Fax: (015) 530 0070
    Eswatini Oshoek 07:00 – 22:00 Tel: (017) 882 0138/9
    Fax: (017) 819 3481
    Eswatini Mahamba 07:00 – 22:00 Tel: (017) 826 0076
    Fax: 017) 826 0077
    Eswatini Mananga 07:00 – 18:00 Tel: (013) 790 7075
    Fax: (013) 790 0077
    Eswatini Golela 07:00 – 22:00 Tel: (034) 435 1070
    Fax: (034) 435 1048
    Eswatini Jeppes Reef 07:00 – 20:00 Tel: (013) 781 0382
    Fax: (013) 781 0383
    Namibia Nakop 24 hours Tel: (054) 571 0008 / 0077
    Fax: (054) 571 0009
    Namibia Vioolsdrift 24 hours Tel: (027) 761 8760
    Fax: (027) 761 8931
    Mozambique Lebombo 06:00 – 00:00 Tel: (013) 793 7311
    Fax: (013) 793 7091
    Lesotho Caledonspoort 06:00 – 22:00 Tel: (058) 223 8400
    Fax:( 058) 223 1012
    Lesotho Ficksburg Bridge 24 hours Tel:( 051) 933 2760
    Fax: (051) 933 4540
    Lesotho Maseru Bridge 24 hours Tel: (051) 924 4300
    Fax: (051) 924 4000
    Lesotho Quacha’s Nek 06:00 – 22:00 Tel: (039) 256 4391
    Fax: (051) 633 1099
    Lesotho Van Rooyens Gate 06:00 – 22:00 Tel: (051) 583 1525
    Fax: (051) 583 1530
    Botswana Groblersbrug 08:00 – 22:00 Tel: (014) 767 1019
    Fax: (014) 767 1264
    Botswana Kopfontein 06:00 – 24:00 Tel: (018) 365 9055
    Fax: (018) 365 9026
    Botswana Ramatlabama 06:00 – 22:00 Tel: (018) 390 2533
    Fax: (018) 393 0334
    Botswana Skilpadshek 06:00 – 24:00 Tel: (018) 366 0011
    Fax: (018) 366 0012

    Compiled from cross-referencing the list of all ports of entry with the list of closed ports

  • Where can I find a list of international embassies and consulates in South Africa?

    Should a foreign national require assistance in South Africa, a list of all foreign representation in South Africa is available on the Department of International Relations and Cooperation’s website. Diplomatic missions are listed alphabetically by country name.

  • Where can I find a list of South African embassies and consulates abroad?

    Should a South African or foreign national require assistance abroad (e.g. returning home, visa purposes, etc.), a list of all South African representation abroad is available on the Department of International Relations and Cooperation’s website. South African missions abroad are listed alphabetically by the country in which they are located. The individual websites for these embassies, high commissions and consulates abroad are also listed here.

  • Entry Requirements

  • Can an arrival self-quarantine upon entry rather than go to a quarantine facility?

    Returning South Africans who are unable to present a negative test result, or who display symptoms should be able to self-quarantine at home, provided they have access to: 

    • Separate bedroom with an on-suite bathroom and toilet that is not shared with another person. 
    • Prepared meals to be served in the room preferably in disposable utensils alternatively separated and washed properly. 
    • Support from friends or family that can facilitate the drop off of food and medicine at the gate if they are not able to make use of online shopping facilities and contactless deliveries. 
    • Access to a thermometer that will allow for the monitoring of temperature daily. 
    • Access to the internet either through my phone or computer to allow reporting symptoms daily. 
    • Access to a private physician that he or she can contact should he or she be in need of medical advice or care. 
    • No visitors are permitted to visit the quarantined person. 

    Foreign national arrivals may be permitted to self-quarantine at their accommodation, provided it meets the conditions above, but we are awaiting further clarification and confirmation on this point.  

    TBC IF THE APPLICATION FOR SELF-QUARANTINE IS STILL REQUIRED AND IF A FOREIGN NATIONAL CAN SELF-QUARANTINE

  • Is entry based on country of citizenship or residence (or where an individual has visited or transitted through)?

    Entry into South Africa for foreign nationals is based on where the traveller has spent the previous 10 days.   

    If the passport of a foreign national traveller from a high-risk country indicates that they have spent 10 days or more in a low-risk country before departure to South Arica, they will be considered to be arriving from a low-risk country and subject to the low-risk entry requirements. 

    South African citizens and permanent residents will always be allowed to return home, whether or not they are travelling from or through a high-risk country. 

  • What are the exceptions for travellers from high-risk countries and what is the process for entry?

    Exceptions will be made for individuals from high-risk countries who are business travellers, diplomats, repatriated persons, investors and people with scarce and critical skills or participating in professional sporting or cultural events.  

    Business travellers must apply, in writing, to the Minister of Home Affairs and demonstrate reasons for their request to enter South Africa. This application must be sent to [email protected]  and include: 

    1. a copy of passport and/or temporary residence visa; 
    1. proof of business activities to be undertaken in South Africa; 
    1. proof of travel itinerary; and 
    1. proof of address or accommodation in South Africa. 

    They will likewise be subject to the prescribed screening procedure and isolation or quarantine rules, depending on the circumstances. On arrival, they must present a valid certificate of a negative test obtained not more than 72 hours before the date of travel. Failure to present proof of a negative test will require the traveller to quarantine at their own cost. 

  • What are the requirements to enter South Africa?
    • All arrivals must present a valid certificate of a negative COVID-19 PCR test, obtained not more than 72 hours (3 days) from the time of departure from the country of origin to South Africa. The test must be conducted by a certified medical practitioner and the certificate must have the name and signature of the practitioner who conducted the test. 
    • Failure to present proof of a valid and negative test will require the traveller to quarantine at their own cost.  
    • All arrivals will be screened for any COVID-19 symptoms and/or for contact with people who have been infected with the COVID-19 virus.  
    • Should the traveller display any COVID-19–related symptoms or have been in contact with an infected person, they will be expected to take a mandatory COVID-19 test. This test will be at the traveller’s cost. If the COVID-19 test comes back positive, the traveller will be subjected to a 10-day quarantine at a designated site, at the traveller’s cost.  
    • All arrivals must provide proof of accommodation address should they need to self-quarantine at the time of arrival in the country, subject to the accommodation allowing for self-quarantine. 
    • All arrivals will be asked to download the COVID Alert South Africa mobile app. Information on the app can be found here
    • Foreign national arrivals from low- and medium-risk countries will be subject to the prevailing visa requirements. Our understanding of this is that the visa regime that was previously in place stands (e.g. if a 90-day waiver was in place before, it will be reinstated now if the traveller is coming from a low- or medium-risk country). Foreign national arrivals from high-risk countries may enter with an application in compliance with the exemptions laid out by government and then subject to the prevailing visa requirements. 
    • All foreign national arrivals must have travel insurance that covers the cost of any testing or quarantine. 
  • Which countries have been classified as high-risk? Are there different levels of risk and requirements?

    Which countries are allowed to come to South Africa? Are there different levels of risk and requirements?

    Based on the latest WHO criteria on infection and death rates, South Africa has developed a risk categorisation model for different international travellers. This model classifies international travellers according to a scale of high, medium and low risk.  

    High-risk travellers are those who come from countries with higher numbers of COVID-19 infections and reported deaths compared to South Africa. 

    Medium risk travellers are from countries with a relatively equal number of infections and death toll to South Africa. Low-risk travellers originate from countries with lesser number of infections of COVID-19 and death toll than South Africa.

    The list of countries and categorisation will be reviewed every two weeks and updated based on the latest WHO figures.

    Travellers (leisure, corporate and other) from the African continent as well as from medium- and low-risk countries will be allowed into the country subject to the entry requirements (i.e. screening, visas, testing, quarantine).

    Below is the list of countries currently considered high risk, and from which leisure travellers are not allowed:

    Albania ​​​

    Argentina

    Armenia

    Austria

    Bahrain

    Belgium

    Bolivia

    Bosnia and Herzegovina

    Brazil ​​​ ​​​​

    Chile

    ​​​Columbia

    Costa Rica

    Croatia 

    Czech Republic

    Denmark

    Ecuador

    France​​​

    Georgia ​

    Greece

    Guatemala ​

    Guyana​​​

    Honduras

    Hungary

    Iceland

    India

    Iran

    ​​​Iraq

    Ireland

    Israel

    Jamaica

    Jordan

    Kuwait

    Lebanon

    Luxemburg ​​

    Maldives

    Malta

    Mexico

    Moldova

    Montenegro ​​​

    Nepal ​​

    Netherlands 

    North Macedonia

    Oman

    Palestine

    Panama

    Paraguay

    Peru ​​​

    Portugal

    Puerto Rico

    Qatar

    Romania

    Russia

    Slovakia

    Suriname

    Switzerland

    Ukraine

    ​​​United Emirates

    United Kingdom              ​

    USA

    Venezuela

    Exceptions will be made for individuals from high-risk countries who are business travellers with scarce and critical skills, diplomats, repatriated persons, investors and people participating in professional sporting and cultural events.

    If the passport of the traveller from a high-risk country indicates that they have spent 10 days or more in a low-risk country before departure, they will be considered to be arriving from a low-risk country and subject to the low-risk entry requirements.

  • What test results are accepted? (e.g. antibody, viral)

    All arrivals to South Africa (South Africans and foreign nationals) must present a valid certificate of a negative COVID-19 PCR test, obtained not more than 72 hours (3 days) from the time of departure from the country of origin to South Africa. The test must be conducted by a certified medical practitioner and the certificate must have the name and signature of the practitioner who conducted the test. 

    Failure to present a valid and negative test result will require you to quarantine at your own cost, until which time a repeat test can be conducted. 

  • Outbound Requirements

  • What happens if the country in which I’m travelling suddenly moves from low-risk to high-risk?

    We know that airlines from high-risk countries are not necessarily banned and that South Africans will always be allowed to return home, whether or not they are travelling from or through a high-risk country.  

    ASATA is awaiting confirmation on this point, but transit through a high-risk country, where the traveller has not passed through immigration, is not likely to affect entry (for both South African citizens and foreign nationals). Restriction of travellers from high-risk countries is more likely to be based on where the traveller’s passport shows they have resided over the last 10 days. 

  • Which countries currently accept South African Travellers?

    This information will be constantly in flux as countries update entry requirements based on infection rates and reciprocity. The most reliable and up-to-date information will be found from the source (i.e. official government and consular websites). 

    • European Union 
    • United Kingdom 
    • United States 
    • Brazil: entry regulations lift on 29 July. All foreign national arrivals must have travel insurance with a minimum cover of BRL 30 000 (approximately ZAR 90 000). (IATA

    IATA’s COVID-19 Travel Regulations Map is also regularly updated with restrictions per country. However, it is still best to double check this information against what is available from official government sources as IATA cannot guarantee total accuracy given the ever-changing nature of the international response to COVID-19. 

    On borderdata.io you can check countries’ border status based on the borderdata.io method

    borderdata.io manually checks every country’s border status, and define if the border is open, closed or partially closed.

    Search if your preferred airport is open for citizens, tourist or only cargo. If your searched border is closed. Enable the push notifications to be notified of any changes.

  • Are South Africans allowed to travel to and from high-risk countries?

    The regulations allow for South Africans to travel to any country for leisure or corporate.  

    The caveat to this is that they can only travel to countries that accept South Africans.  

    In travel, both source and destination have to give the green light. In this case, South Africa has given the green light, but you would need to look at each destination to see whether they will accept South Africans and under which conditions.  

  • Do South African residents require a 72-hour COVID-19 test prior to departing South Africa?

    South African residents do not require a 72-hour COVID-19 test prior to departing South Africa. At the airport, they will be screened at the airport and anyone exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms will be prohibited from boarding. Departing South Africans should also bring with them a completed exit screening questionnaire

    Any additional requirements will be stipulated by the airline and/or country of destination. This information will be constantly in flux as countries update entry requirements based on infection rates and reciprocity. The most reliable and up-to-date information will be found from the source (i.e. official government and consular websites). 

    IATA’s COVID-19 Travel Regulations Map is also regularly updated with restrictions per country. However, it is still best to double-check this information against what is available from official government sources as IATA cannot guarantee total accuracy given the ever-changing nature of the international response to COVID-19. 

    Travellers should also be aware that testing may be conducted at some international airports.  

  • Where can I get tested in South Africa before I travel? How much does it cost and how quickly will I get the results?

    There are over 200 testing sites across South Africa. Pathcare, Lancet and Ampath all list their testing sites per province along with address, contact information and operating hours. The cost for a Covid-19 test in South Africa is R850 and results take 48-72 hours to process depending on patient priority.

  • Aviation

  • Will airlines be permitted to land in South Africa from high-risk countries?

    Airlines from high-risk countries are not necessarily banned, but their crew will be required to isolate in facilities at designated accommodation at the cost of their employer. 

    Passengers disembarking from flights originating from high-risk countries must be South Africans or in possession of a valid visa. And all arrivals must meet the entry requirements including a valid certificate of a negative COVID-19 PCR test. 

  • Are domestic airlines operating in South Africa?
    • Bram Fischer International Airport
    • Cape Town International Airport**
    • East London Airport
    • George Airport
    • Hoedspruit Airport
    • Kimberly Airport
    • King Shaka International Airport**
    • Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport
    • Lanseria International Airport
    • Margate Airport
    • Mthatha Airport
    • OR Tambo International Airport**
    • Phalaborwa Airport
    • Pietermaritzburg Airport
    • Plettenberg Bay Airport
    • Polokwane Airport
    • Port Elizabeth International Airport
    • Richards Bay Airport
    • Sishen Airport
    • Skukuza Airport
    • Upington International Airport

    Passengers should arrive at the airport at least two hours before a domestic flight to ensure enough time is allocated for screening and operational procedures. Until it is otherwise announced, only passengers are permitted inside the terminal buildings. Passengers with a temperature higher than 38 degrees will not be permitted to enter the airport. Masks must be worn and social distancing of 1,5 metres must be adhered to at all times in the airport.  

    **Additionally open to international air travel  

    Travellers should complete the following screening questionnaires from the Department of Health, to be submitted before all flights:  

  • Which airlines are operating flights to/from South Africa?

    Each airline will have its own threshold for flying to and from South Africa based on demand for seats—which need to be filled on both inbound and outbound legs. For this reason, we may see that not all airlines immediately begin flying to South Africa. Schedules may remain in flux for some time to come as countries, including South Africa, continuously update their list of permitted countries and entry requirements based on infection rates, which will have an impact demand.

    ASATA will update its website with airline information as and when it becomes available. 

    Specific ticket enquiries will need to be taken up with the respective airline.

  • Inbound

  • Is entry based on country of citizenship or residence (or where an individual has visited or transitted through)?

    Entry into South Africa for foreign nationals is based on where the traveller has spent the previous 10 days.   

    If the passport of a foreign national traveller from a high-risk country indicates that they have spent 10 days or more in a low-risk country before departure to South Arica, they will be considered to be arriving from a low-risk country and subject to the low-risk entry requirements. 

    South African citizens and permanent residents will always be allowed to return home, whether or not they are travelling from or through a high-risk country. 

  • What are the exceptions for travellers from high-risk countries and what is the process for entry?

    Exceptions will be made for individuals from high-risk countries who are business travellers, diplomats, repatriated persons, investors and people with scarce and critical skills or participating in professional sporting or cultural events.  

    Business travellers must apply, in writing, to the Minister of Home Affairs and demonstrate reasons for their request to enter South Africa. This application must be sent to [email protected]  and include: 

    1. a copy of passport and/or temporary residence visa; 
    1. proof of business activities to be undertaken in South Africa; 
    1. proof of travel itinerary; and 
    1. proof of address or accommodation in South Africa. 

    They will likewise be subject to the prescribed screening procedure and isolation or quarantine rules, depending on the circumstances. On arrival, they must present a valid certificate of a negative test obtained not more than 72 hours before the date of travel. Failure to present proof of a negative test will require the traveller to quarantine at their own cost. 

  • Are South Africans allowed to travel to and from high-risk countries?

    The regulations allow for South Africans to travel to any country for leisure or corporate.  

    The caveat to this is that they can only travel to countries that accept South Africans.  

    In travel, both source and destination have to give the green light. In this case, South Africa has given the green light, but you would need to look at each destination to see whether they will accept South Africans and under which conditions.  

  • What happens if travelling South Africans transit through a high-risk country on their return to South Africa?

    We know that airlines from high-risk countries are not necessarily banned and that South Africans will always be allowed to return home, whether or not they are travelling from or through a high-risk country.  

    ASATA is awaiting confirmation on this point, but transit through a high-risk country, where the traveller has not passed through immigration, is not likely to affect entry (for both South African citizens and foreign nationals). Restriction of travellers from high-risk countries is more likely to be based on where the traveller’s passport shows they have resided over the last 10 days.  

  • Do returning South Africans require travel insurance to re-enter South Africa from abroad?

    The government announcement on 30 September indicated that all travellers to South Africa are required to have travel insurance to cover the cost of COVID-19 testing and 10-day quarantine so that this burden does not fall on South African taxpayers.  

    The requirement applies to foreign national travellers and South Africans who do not have travel insurance with these covers will not be prohibited from entering the country. However, it is, of course, advisable for South Africans to take out comprehensive travel insurance when travelling abroad during these times. 

  • Terms& Conditions

  • Are suppliers changing their cancellation and booking policies?

    Each supplier (airline, tour operator, etc.) will have its own change and cancellation policies, and many are being more lenient when it comes to deposits or postponements. As a consumer, if you are in a position to postpone rather than cancel, you not only help the supplier and several players along the value chain, but you also keep something to look forward to and don’t have to compromise on your expectations.

    Be sure to read and understand all the terms and conditions of your ticket or booking upfront so that there are no surprises down the line.

  • Insurance

  • How do I pick a travel insurance policy?

    Be sure to check the requirements of your travel destinations as some, like South Africa and Brazil, are requiring that foreign national arrivals have COVID-19 travel insurance. For South African arrivals, it must cover the cost of any testing or quarantine. 

    Travel insurance policies will differ based on factors such as your age, the length of your trip, and what you want to be covered. A standard insurance policy may cover cancellation for events such as the sudden bankruptcy of a travel company, unexpected illness, or a natural disaster or unrest in the destination.  

    When looking for travel insurance that covers COVID-19-related events, consider the following: 

    • Travel medical: cover your expenses if you or a travel companion, such as your spouse or child, contract COVID-19 while travelling and require medical care or evacuation. 
    • Trip cancellation: cover any expenses incurred as a result of cancelling your trip prior to departure because you, or someone you care for, contracted COVID-19. 
    • Trip delay: cover any expenses incurred as a result of changing COVID-19 regulations e.g. travel bans. 

    Most travel insurances will not cover disinclination or fear to travel. The exception is ‘cancel for any reason’ (CFAR) insurance. This is usually available as an optional upgrade to a standard travel insurance plan and may cost up to 50% more than a standard plan. It typically needs to be purchased within one to three weeks from the time you booked your trip or made the initial deposit, and you must cancel your travel 48 hours prior to departure. Often available in two tiers, CFAR insurance can cover you for 50-75% of your total travel costs. However, CFAR is not yet a common insurance product in South Africa.  

    Know that there is no-size-fits-all travel insurance plan and each additional cover comes at a cost. Whichever you choose, be sure to read the full insurance contract before buying to check whether it covers specifics like quarantine, testing, and flight disruptions.  

  • Insurance

  • How do I pick a travel insurance policy?

    Level 1 FAQs

    General

  • Which international ports are open?

    Johannesburg’s OR Tambo, Durban’s King Shaka and Cape Town International Airports are the only airports that will allow international air travel to arrive or depart.

    All commercial seaports will be opened.

    The 35 land borders that were closed during the previous lockdown levels will remain closed.

    The 18 land borders which were partially operational during the previous lockdown levels will be fully operational (i.e. allow passage of South Africans and permitted foreign nationals). These include:

    COUNTRY PORT HOURS CONTACT
    Zimbabwe Beitbridge Bridge 24 hours Tel & Fax: (015) 530 0070
    Eswatini Oshoek 07:00 – 22:00 Tel: (017) 882 0138/9
    Fax: (017) 819 3481
    Eswatini Mahamba 07:00 – 22:00 Tel: (017) 826 0076
    Fax: 017) 826 0077
    Eswatini Mananga 07:00 – 18:00 Tel: (013) 790 7075
    Fax: (013) 790 0077
    Eswatini Golela 07:00 – 22:00 Tel: (034) 435 1070
    Fax: (034) 435 1048
    Eswatini Jeppes Reef 07:00 – 20:00 Tel: (013) 781 0382
    Fax: (013) 781 0383
    Namibia Nakop 24 hours Tel: (054) 571 0008 / 0077
    Fax: (054) 571 0009
    Namibia Vioolsdrift 24 hours Tel: (027) 761 8760
    Fax: (027) 761 8931
    Mozambique Lebombo 06:00 – 00:00 Tel: (013) 793 7311
    Fax: (013) 793 7091
    Lesotho Caledonspoort 06:00 – 22:00 Tel: (058) 223 8400
    Fax:( 058) 223 1012
    Lesotho Ficksburg Bridge 24 hours Tel:( 051) 933 2760
    Fax: (051) 933 4540
    Lesotho Maseru Bridge 24 hours Tel: (051) 924 4300
    Fax: (051) 924 4000
    Lesotho Quacha’s Nek 06:00 – 22:00 Tel: (039) 256 4391
    Fax: (051) 633 1099
    Lesotho Van Rooyens Gate 06:00 – 22:00 Tel: (051) 583 1525
    Fax: (051) 583 1530
    Botswana Groblersbrug 08:00 – 22:00 Tel: (014) 767 1019
    Fax: (014) 767 1264
    Botswana Kopfontein 06:00 – 24:00 Tel: (018) 365 9055
    Fax: (018) 365 9026
    Botswana Ramatlabama 06:00 – 22:00 Tel: (018) 390 2533
    Fax: (018) 393 0334
    Botswana Skilpadshek 06:00 – 24:00 Tel: (018) 366 0011
    Fax: (018) 366 0012

    Compiled from cross-referencing the list of all ports of entry with the list of closed ports

  • Where can I find a list of international embassies and consulates in South Africa?

    Should a foreign national require assistance in South Africa, a list of all foreign representation in South Africa is available on the Department of International Relations and Cooperation’s website. Diplomatic missions are listed alphabetically by country name.

  • Where can I find a list of South African embassies and consulates abroad?

    Should a South African or foreign national require assistance abroad (e.g. returning home, visa purposes, etc.), a list of all South African representation abroad is available on the Department of International Relations and Cooperation’s website. South African missions abroad are listed alphabetically by the country in which they are located. The individual websites for these embassies, high commissions and consulates abroad are also listed here.

  • Entry Requirements

  • Can an arrival self-quarantine upon entry rather than go to a quarantine facility?

    Returning South Africans who are unable to present a negative test result, or who display symptoms should be able to self-quarantine at home, provided they have access to: 

    • Separate bedroom with an on-suite bathroom and toilet that is not shared with another person. 
    • Prepared meals to be served in the room preferably in disposable utensils alternatively separated and washed properly. 
    • Support from friends or family that can facilitate the drop off of food and medicine at the gate if they are not able to make use of online shopping facilities and contactless deliveries. 
    • Access to a thermometer that will allow for the monitoring of temperature daily. 
    • Access to the internet either through my phone or computer to allow reporting symptoms daily. 
    • Access to a private physician that he or she can contact should he or she be in need of medical advice or care. 
    • No visitors are permitted to visit the quarantined person. 

    Foreign national arrivals may be permitted to self-quarantine at their accommodation, provided it meets the conditions above, but we are awaiting further clarification and confirmation on this point.  

    TBC IF THE APPLICATION FOR SELF-QUARANTINE IS STILL REQUIRED AND IF A FOREIGN NATIONAL CAN SELF-QUARANTINE

  • Is entry based on country of citizenship or residence (or where an individual has visited or transitted through)?

    Entry into South Africa for foreign nationals is based on where the traveller has spent the previous 10 days.   

    If the passport of a foreign national traveller from a high-risk country indicates that they have spent 10 days or more in a low-risk country before departure to South Arica, they will be considered to be arriving from a low-risk country and subject to the low-risk entry requirements. 

    South African citizens and permanent residents will always be allowed to return home, whether or not they are travelling from or through a high-risk country. 

  • What are the exceptions for travellers from high-risk countries and what is the process for entry?

    Exceptions will be made for individuals from high-risk countries who are business travellers, diplomats, repatriated persons, investors and people with scarce and critical skills or participating in professional sporting or cultural events.  

    Business travellers must apply, in writing, to the Minister of Home Affairs and demonstrate reasons for their request to enter South Africa. This application must be sent to [email protected]  and include: 

    1. a copy of passport and/or temporary residence visa; 
    1. proof of business activities to be undertaken in South Africa; 
    1. proof of travel itinerary; and 
    1. proof of address or accommodation in South Africa. 

    They will likewise be subject to the prescribed screening procedure and isolation or quarantine rules, depending on the circumstances. On arrival, they must present a valid certificate of a negative test obtained not more than 72 hours before the date of travel. Failure to present proof of a negative test will require the traveller to quarantine at their own cost. 

  • What are the requirements to enter South Africa?
    • All arrivals must present a valid certificate of a negative COVID-19 PCR test, obtained not more than 72 hours (3 days) from the time of departure from the country of origin to South Africa. The test must be conducted by a certified medical practitioner and the certificate must have the name and signature of the practitioner who conducted the test. 
    • Failure to present proof of a valid and negative test will require the traveller to quarantine at their own cost.  
    • All arrivals will be screened for any COVID-19 symptoms and/or for contact with people who have been infected with the COVID-19 virus.  
    • Should the traveller display any COVID-19–related symptoms or have been in contact with an infected person, they will be expected to take a mandatory COVID-19 test. This test will be at the traveller’s cost. If the COVID-19 test comes back positive, the traveller will be subjected to a 10-day quarantine at a designated site, at the traveller’s cost.  
    • All arrivals must provide proof of accommodation address should they need to self-quarantine at the time of arrival in the country, subject to the accommodation allowing for self-quarantine. 
    • All arrivals will be asked to download the COVID Alert South Africa mobile app. Information on the app can be found here
    • Foreign national arrivals from low- and medium-risk countries will be subject to the prevailing visa requirements. Our understanding of this is that the visa regime that was previously in place stands (e.g. if a 90-day waiver was in place before, it will be reinstated now if the traveller is coming from a low- or medium-risk country). Foreign national arrivals from high-risk countries may enter with an application in compliance with the exemptions laid out by government and then subject to the prevailing visa requirements. 
    • All foreign national arrivals must have travel insurance that covers the cost of any testing or quarantine. 
  • Which countries have been classified as high-risk? Are there different levels of risk and requirements?

    Which countries are allowed to come to South Africa? Are there different levels of risk and requirements?

    Based on the latest WHO criteria on infection and death rates, South Africa has developed a risk categorisation model for different international travellers. This model classifies international travellers according to a scale of high, medium and low risk.  

    High-risk travellers are those who come from countries with higher numbers of COVID-19 infections and reported deaths compared to South Africa. 

    Medium risk travellers are from countries with a relatively equal number of infections and death toll to South Africa. Low-risk travellers originate from countries with lesser number of infections of COVID-19 and death toll than South Africa.

    The list of countries and categorisation will be reviewed every two weeks and updated based on the latest WHO figures.

    Travellers (leisure, corporate and other) from the African continent as well as from medium- and low-risk countries will be allowed into the country subject to the entry requirements (i.e. screening, visas, testing, quarantine).

    Below is the list of countries currently considered high risk, and from which leisure travellers are not allowed:

    Albania ​​​

    Argentina

    Armenia

    Austria

    Bahrain

    Belgium

    Bolivia

    Bosnia and Herzegovina

    Brazil ​​​ ​​​​

    Chile

    ​​​Columbia

    Costa Rica

    Croatia 

    Czech Republic

    Denmark

    Ecuador

    France​​​

    Georgia ​

    Greece

    Guatemala ​

    Guyana​​​

    Honduras

    Hungary

    Iceland

    India

    Iran

    ​​​Iraq

    Ireland

    Israel

    Jamaica

    Jordan

    Kuwait

    Lebanon

    Luxemburg ​​

    Maldives

    Malta

    Mexico

    Moldova

    Montenegro ​​​

    Nepal ​​

    Netherlands 

    North Macedonia

    Oman

    Palestine

    Panama

    Paraguay

    Peru ​​​

    Portugal

    Puerto Rico

    Qatar

    Romania

    Russia

    Slovakia

    Suriname

    Switzerland

    Ukraine

    ​​​United Emirates

    United Kingdom              ​

    USA

    Venezuela

    Exceptions will be made for individuals from high-risk countries who are business travellers with scarce and critical skills, diplomats, repatriated persons, investors and people participating in professional sporting and cultural events.

    If the passport of the traveller from a high-risk country indicates that they have spent 10 days or more in a low-risk country before departure, they will be considered to be arriving from a low-risk country and subject to the low-risk entry requirements.

  • What test results are accepted? (e.g. antibody, viral)

    All arrivals to South Africa (South Africans and foreign nationals) must present a valid certificate of a negative COVID-19 PCR test, obtained not more than 72 hours (3 days) from the time of departure from the country of origin to South Africa. The test must be conducted by a certified medical practitioner and the certificate must have the name and signature of the practitioner who conducted the test. 

    Failure to present a valid and negative test result will require you to quarantine at your own cost, until which time a repeat test can be conducted. 

  • Outbound Requirements

  • What happens if the country in which I’m travelling suddenly moves from low-risk to high-risk?

    We know that airlines from high-risk countries are not necessarily banned and that South Africans will always be allowed to return home, whether or not they are travelling from or through a high-risk country.  

    ASATA is awaiting confirmation on this point, but transit through a high-risk country, where the traveller has not passed through immigration, is not likely to affect entry (for both South African citizens and foreign nationals). Restriction of travellers from high-risk countries is more likely to be based on where the traveller’s passport shows they have resided over the last 10 days. 

  • Which countries currently accept South African Travellers?

    This information will be constantly in flux as countries update entry requirements based on infection rates and reciprocity. The most reliable and up-to-date information will be found from the source (i.e. official government and consular websites). 

    • European Union 
    • United Kingdom 
    • United States 
    • Brazil: entry regulations lift on 29 July. All foreign national arrivals must have travel insurance with a minimum cover of BRL 30 000 (approximately ZAR 90 000). (IATA

    IATA’s COVID-19 Travel Regulations Map is also regularly updated with restrictions per country. However, it is still best to double check this information against what is available from official government sources as IATA cannot guarantee total accuracy given the ever-changing nature of the international response to COVID-19. 

    On borderdata.io you can check countries’ border status based on the borderdata.io method

    borderdata.io manually checks every country’s border status, and define if the border is open, closed or partially closed.

    Search if your preferred airport is open for citizens, tourist or only cargo. If your searched border is closed. Enable the push notifications to be notified of any changes.

  • Are South Africans allowed to travel to and from high-risk countries?

    The regulations allow for South Africans to travel to any country for leisure or corporate.  

    The caveat to this is that they can only travel to countries that accept South Africans.  

    In travel, both source and destination have to give the green light. In this case, South Africa has given the green light, but you would need to look at each destination to see whether they will accept South Africans and under which conditions.  

  • Do South African residents require a 72-hour COVID-19 test prior to departing South Africa?

    South African residents do not require a 72-hour COVID-19 test prior to departing South Africa. At the airport, they will be screened at the airport and anyone exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms will be prohibited from boarding. Departing South Africans should also bring with them a completed exit screening questionnaire

    Any additional requirements will be stipulated by the airline and/or country of destination. This information will be constantly in flux as countries update entry requirements based on infection rates and reciprocity. The most reliable and up-to-date information will be found from the source (i.e. official government and consular websites). 

    IATA’s COVID-19 Travel Regulations Map is also regularly updated with restrictions per country. However, it is still best to double-check this information against what is available from official government sources as IATA cannot guarantee total accuracy given the ever-changing nature of the international response to COVID-19. 

    Travellers should also be aware that testing may be conducted at some international airports.  

  • Where can I get tested in South Africa before I travel? How much does it cost and how quickly will I get the results?

    There are over 200 testing sites across South Africa. Pathcare, Lancet and Ampath all list their testing sites per province along with address, contact information and operating hours. The cost for a Covid-19 test in South Africa is R850 and results take 48-72 hours to process depending on patient priority.

  • Aviation

  • Will airlines be permitted to land in South Africa from high-risk countries?

    Airlines from high-risk countries are not necessarily banned, but their crew will be required to isolate in facilities at designated accommodation at the cost of their employer. 

    Passengers disembarking from flights originating from high-risk countries must be South Africans or in possession of a valid visa. And all arrivals must meet the entry requirements including a valid certificate of a negative COVID-19 PCR test. 

  • Are domestic airlines operating in South Africa?
    • Bram Fischer International Airport
    • Cape Town International Airport**
    • East London Airport
    • George Airport
    • Hoedspruit Airport
    • Kimberly Airport
    • King Shaka International Airport**
    • Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport
    • Lanseria International Airport
    • Margate Airport
    • Mthatha Airport
    • OR Tambo International Airport**
    • Phalaborwa Airport
    • Pietermaritzburg Airport
    • Plettenberg Bay Airport
    • Polokwane Airport
    • Port Elizabeth International Airport
    • Richards Bay Airport
    • Sishen Airport
    • Skukuza Airport
    • Upington International Airport

    Passengers should arrive at the airport at least two hours before a domestic flight to ensure enough time is allocated for screening and operational procedures. Until it is otherwise announced, only passengers are permitted inside the terminal buildings. Passengers with a temperature higher than 38 degrees will not be permitted to enter the airport. Masks must be worn and social distancing of 1,5 metres must be adhered to at all times in the airport.  

    **Additionally open to international air travel  

    Travellers should complete the following screening questionnaires from the Department of Health, to be submitted before all flights:  

  • Which airlines are operating flights to/from South Africa?

    Each airline will have its own threshold for flying to and from South Africa based on demand for seats—which need to be filled on both inbound and outbound legs. For this reason, we may see that not all airlines immediately begin flying to South Africa. Schedules may remain in flux for some time to come as countries, including South Africa, continuously update their list of permitted countries and entry requirements based on infection rates, which will have an impact demand.

    ASATA will update its website with airline information as and when it becomes available. 

    Specific ticket enquiries will need to be taken up with the respective airline.

  • Inbound

  • Is entry based on country of citizenship or residence (or where an individual has visited or transitted through)?

    Entry into South Africa for foreign nationals is based on where the traveller has spent the previous 10 days.   

    If the passport of a foreign national traveller from a high-risk country indicates that they have spent 10 days or more in a low-risk country before departure to South Arica, they will be considered to be arriving from a low-risk country and subject to the low-risk entry requirements. 

    South African citizens and permanent residents will always be allowed to return home, whether or not they are travelling from or through a high-risk country. 

  • What are the exceptions for travellers from high-risk countries and what is the process for entry?

    Exceptions will be made for individuals from high-risk countries who are business travellers, diplomats, repatriated persons, investors and people with scarce and critical skills or participating in professional sporting or cultural events.  

    Business travellers must apply, in writing, to the Minister of Home Affairs and demonstrate reasons for their request to enter South Africa. This application must be sent to [email protected]  and include: 

    1. a copy of passport and/or temporary residence visa; 
    1. proof of business activities to be undertaken in South Africa; 
    1. proof of travel itinerary; and 
    1. proof of address or accommodation in South Africa. 

    They will likewise be subject to the prescribed screening procedure and isolation or quarantine rules, depending on the circumstances. On arrival, they must present a valid certificate of a negative test obtained not more than 72 hours before the date of travel. Failure to present proof of a negative test will require the traveller to quarantine at their own cost. 

  • Are South Africans allowed to travel to and from high-risk countries?

    The regulations allow for South Africans to travel to any country for leisure or corporate.  

    The caveat to this is that they can only travel to countries that accept South Africans.  

    In travel, both source and destination have to give the green light. In this case, South Africa has given the green light, but you would need to look at each destination to see whether they will accept South Africans and under which conditions.  

  • What happens if travelling South Africans transit through a high-risk country on their return to South Africa?

    We know that airlines from high-risk countries are not necessarily banned and that South Africans will always be allowed to return home, whether or not they are travelling from or through a high-risk country.  

    ASATA is awaiting confirmation on this point, but transit through a high-risk country, where the traveller has not passed through immigration, is not likely to affect entry (for both South African citizens and foreign nationals). Restriction of travellers from high-risk countries is more likely to be based on where the traveller’s passport shows they have resided over the last 10 days.  

  • Do returning South Africans require travel insurance to re-enter South Africa from abroad?

    The government announcement on 30 September indicated that all travellers to South Africa are required to have travel insurance to cover the cost of COVID-19 testing and 10-day quarantine so that this burden does not fall on South African taxpayers.  

    The requirement applies to foreign national travellers and South Africans who do not have travel insurance with these covers will not be prohibited from entering the country. However, it is, of course, advisable for South Africans to take out comprehensive travel insurance when travelling abroad during these times. 

  • Terms& Conditions

  • Are suppliers changing their cancellation and booking policies?

    Each supplier (airline, tour operator, etc.) will have its own change and cancellation policies, and many are being more lenient when it comes to deposits or postponements. As a consumer, if you are in a position to postpone rather than cancel, you not only help the supplier and several players along the value chain, but you also keep something to look forward to and don’t have to compromise on your expectations.

    Be sure to read and understand all the terms and conditions of your ticket or booking upfront so that there are no surprises down the line.

  • Insurance

  • How do I pick a travel insurance policy?

    Be sure to check the requirements of your travel destinations as some, like South Africa and Brazil, are requiring that foreign national arrivals have COVID-19 travel insurance. For South African arrivals, it must cover the cost of any testing or quarantine. 

    Travel insurance policies will differ based on factors such as your age, the length of your trip, and what you want to be covered. A standard insurance policy may cover cancellation for events such as the sudden bankruptcy of a travel company, unexpected illness, or a natural disaster or unrest in the destination.  

    When looking for travel insurance that covers COVID-19-related events, consider the following: 

    • Travel medical: cover your expenses if you or a travel companion, such as your spouse or child, contract COVID-19 while travelling and require medical care or evacuation. 
    • Trip cancellation: cover any expenses incurred as a result of cancelling your trip prior to departure because you, or someone you care for, contracted COVID-19. 
    • Trip delay: cover any expenses incurred as a result of changing COVID-19 regulations e.g. travel bans. 

    Most travel insurances will not cover disinclination or fear to travel. The exception is ‘cancel for any reason’ (CFAR) insurance. This is usually available as an optional upgrade to a standard travel insurance plan and may cost up to 50% more than a standard plan. It typically needs to be purchased within one to three weeks from the time you booked your trip or made the initial deposit, and you must cancel your travel 48 hours prior to departure. Often available in two tiers, CFAR insurance can cover you for 50-75% of your total travel costs. However, CFAR is not yet a common insurance product in South Africa.  

    Know that there is no-size-fits-all travel insurance plan and each additional cover comes at a cost. Whichever you choose, be sure to read the full insurance contract before buying to check whether it covers specifics like quarantine, testing, and flight disruptions.