South Africa recently introduced a new visa program that created some significant changes in the process to qualifying, applying and changing visas. Some of the changes include:

  • Individuals must apply for visas in person at a South African mission in their home country or country of residence
  • Intra-company transfer work visas are issued for a period of four years and are not renewable
  • Business visas will not be issued for undesirable business undertakings (i.e. businesses that import and export second hand cars; cosmetic and beauty companies; and fast food outlets)
  • Traveling children must present unabridged birth certificates
  • Individuals on tourist visas cannot change status within South Africa

Last Friday, South Africa’s Home Affairs Minister announced that a task force will be established to address implementing these new regulations after receiving critical feedback from the tourism industry and the business community. Concerns raised include: a reduction in foreign businesses who will no longer qualify for business visas and a resulting loss of jobs for South Africans, as well as a cooling in tourist activity as the visa process has become more complex. The stated purpose of the task force is to improve the implementation of the regulations, not change the regulations.  South Africa’s Department of Home Affairs introduced new regulations to stop child trafficking and encourage investment by businesses who promote South Africa’s economic objectives.