South Africa will introduce electronic visas which will make it easier for visitors to enter the country. The Department of Home Affairs (DHA) has announced that the new South African e-Visas will be piloted by the end of March 2019.
“Electronic visas will boost the tourism industry by cutting turnaround times for the issuing of travel documentation while ensuring the information of applicants is secure." The department said.
The pilot phase of the South African e-Visas will begin by offering temporary residence visas, adjudication of temporary residence visas, applications for waivers, applicant notifications and biometric details.
“The e-Permit will be piloted at one Mission or local office in the last quarter of the next financial year by 31st March 2019. This is to ensure system stability. Once stable, more offices locally and abroad can then be gradually brought online.” They said.
South African e-Visas to boost the tourism sector
Once it is made available South Africa will join the long list of countries which have introduced e-Visas in an attempt to facilitate tourism and give their economy a boost. Electronic visas save visitors the hassle of going to an embassy or consulate to get a visa, or queuing at the border.
The President of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), Gloria Guevara Manzo, said that the implementation of biometrics technology to facilitate the influx of visitors is the single biggest opportunity for the travel and tourism sector this year.
The other motivation to introduce the South African e-Visas is to curb fraudulent travel authorizations from foreign nationals. The Home Affairs Minister, Malusi Gigaba, said: “During the course of the year, we are going to introduce a number of initiatives. One of them is the electronic applications for visas and for a number of other permits to the country. That will enable the applicant to obtain information electronically and submit their applications and the documentation to support their applications electronically.”
Gigaba said the visa system would eliminate the need to provide frontline services which stretch government resources. He said the initiative would pave the way for a centralized system which allows the department to process applications quickly.
“We intend to introduce an amendment to the legislation which is going to enable the department to have an independent citizenship advisory board. But this is only for those who are applying for citizenship once all other processes have been followed in terms of the latter of the law. So all of these initiatives are going to be introduced during the course of the year,” he said.