ADVICE FOR TRAVELLERS- LEVEL 1

*DISCLAIMER
As updated from Gazette 45715 of 30 December 2021.

The country has been on adjusted alert level 1 from 30 December 2021.

Adjusted regulations include:

  • The hours of the curfew has been lifted. There will therefore be no restrictions on the hours of movement of people.
  • Gatherings are restricted to no more than 1 000 people indoors and no more than 2 000 people outdoors. Where the venue is too small to accommodate these numbers with appropriate social distancing, then no more than 50 per cent of the capacity of the venue may be used. All other restrictions remain in place.
  • Alcohol establishments that have licenses to operate beyond 23h00 will revert back to full license conditions.
  • The wearing of masks in public places is still mandatory, and failure to wear a mask when required remains a criminal offence.

How is South Africa doing with regard to COVID-19 response?
South Africa has conducted over 18 million COVID-19 tests in both public and private health care facilities. 

What Is COVID-ALERT App?
The COVID-Alert APP alerts subscribers and provides relevant information if they have been in contact with any person who has tested positive for the virus.  The APP helps to minimize the risk of spreading the virus. We request all international travellers who intend to visit the country to download the APP so that they can monitor and minimise their risk of exposure to the COVID-19 virus.

Where can I download the COVID-ALERT app?
You can download the app from the Apple App Store or Google Play before you arrive in South Africa or on arrival.

When will borders be opened for international travel?
The 20 land borders which are fully operational, will remain as such and the 33 land borders which were closed, will remain closed.

What informed the decision to open the borders to international travel?
Government has adopted a gradual reopening of borders and ports of entry for international travel for business, leisure and other travel guided by the communique published by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on Public Health on considerations for international travel, as well as epidemiological and transmission rates both in South Africa and the traveller’s countries of origin.

What are the health protocols when travelling to South Africa?
Travellers intending to visit the country will have to produce a valid certificate of of a negative COVID-19 test, recognised by the World Health Organization, that was obtained not more than 72 hours before the date of travel.

In the event of a traveller’s failure to submit a certificate as proof of a negative COVID-19 test, the traveller will be required to do an antigen test on arrival, at their own expense.

And in the event of the traveller testing positive for COVID-19, the traveller will be required to isolate themselves for a period of 10-days, at their own cost. 

Which airports will be opened for international air travel?
Three airports will be opened and operational for international air travel.  These airports are:
O.R. Tambo International (in Johannesburg, Gauteng);
Cape Town International (in Cape Town, Western Cape);
King Shaka International in (Durban, KwaZulu-Natal);
Lanseria International Airport; and
Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport

What about daily commuters from neighbouring countries?
Daily commuters from neighbouring countries, who attend or teach at a school in the Republic, and who are allowed entry into and exit from the Republic, are subject to complying with protocols relating to-
(a) screening for COVID-19 and quarantine or isolation, where necessary;
(b) the wearing of a face mask;
(c) transportation; and
(d) sanitisation and social distancing measures as per the relevant health protocols on safety and prevention of the spread of COVID-19.

Which land ports of entry will be opened for travellers from other African countries?
20 land borders are fully operational and the 33 land borders, which have been closed, will remain closed. Travellers who present themselves at borders that are unable to accommodate them will be directed to the currently operational border posts for processing.

What about transit travellers?
Transit travellers through South Africa by air will be allowed to connect to their destinations, subject to them complying with applicable health protocols.

How are countries identified as high risk, medium risk and low risk?
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 and low-risk travellers originate from countries with lesser number of infections of COVID-19 and death toll than South Africa.

Will leisure travellers from high-risk countries be permitted to travel to South Africa?
The South African Government’s relaxing of level 1 lockdown rules around international travel allows entry for visitors from any country, provided they follow the prescribed health and safety guidelines.

Can I travel to a high-risk country to visit a family member? 
Yes, you can, however, you will be subject to the travel protocols in that country. Please be mindful though that countries can close their borders to international travellers at any given stage to curb the spread of the virus. 

Which are the high-risk countries?
The list of high-risk countries are frequently updated and can be accessed on the Home Affairs website: www.dha.gov.za

 

What are the compliance requirements for airline operators?
A Foreign Operator (meaning an airline) is required to submit procedures that show the level of compliance with South African COVID-19 legislation for approval to the South African Civil Aviation Authority.

What are the compliance requirements relating to passengers?
Passengers are required to wear face masks at all times and may only remove face masks during emergencies or when instructed by cabin crew to take them off. In addition  and must observe social distancing, ensure handwashing, and sanitise regularly.

A passenger who is unable to wear a face mask due to an underlying medical condition must submit a medical certificate from a registered medical practitioner to the Operator prior to departure.

A child under the age of two years may be exempted from wearing a face mask. This is because masks can restrict breathing for small children as their airways are smaller than older children and adults.

A passenger must provide to the Operator a certificate of a negative COVID-19 tests, recognised by the World Health Organization, obtained not more than 72 hours before the date of travel. If a passenger is symptomatic, the necessary protocols of the Department of Health will be followed.

In the event of a traveller’s failure to submit a certificate as proof of a negative COVID-19 test, the traveller will be required to do an antigen test on arrival, at their own expense. And in the event of the traveller testing positive for COVID-19, the traveller will be required to isolate themselves for a period of 10-days, at their own cost. 

What are the compliance requirements relating to crew members of airlines?
Crew members are required to wear face masks at all times, except when conducting a safety briefing and during an emergency. Crew members shall upon arrival in South Africa be subjected to health protocols as contemplated for in Health Directions. An Operator must ensure the following risk mitigation measures for crew members:

(a) conduct risk assessments to ensure that crew members are fit and proper before they undertake their travel duties and mitigate the risk of COVID-19 crew infections; and

(b) ensure that crew members are protected whilst on duty.

What about travellers wishing to enter South Africa via seaports?
To facilitate ease of transportation of goods and medicines to and from the country, ships will be allowed to dock, load and off-load cargo. Crew members from the cargo ships will be allowed to crew changes. These crew members will also be medically screened for COVID-19 symptoms. 

Have visa services resumed?
Visa services, including submission of applications through VFS Global, have resumed in the following categories: Visitor’s visas; study visa; treaty visa; business visa; crew visa; medical treatment visa; relative’s visa; general work visa; critical skills work visa; intra-company transfer work visa; retired person visa; corporate visa; exchange visa;  waiver of the prescribed requirement, as contemplated in section 31(2)(c); and appeals or reviews contemplated in section 8 of the Immigration Act.

What about the visa-free status of citizens from certain countries?
The visa-free status does not alter the current Covid-19 Regulations. The visa-free status of citizens from the following countries and territories has been reinstated:

  1. France
  2. Germany
  3. Hong Kong
  4. Iran
  5. Italy
  6. Portugal
  7. Singapore
  8. South Korea
  9. Spain
  10. UK
  11. USA

There are a number of regular visitors from mainly European countries that have been accustomed to long periods of visitation to our country during our summer season when it is winter in the Northern Hemisphere. Most of them own properties in the country. We appreciate the significant economic contribution that they make through their activities in the country. To this end, we will also allow visitors, in whichever category, who are coming to stay for a three months period or more subject to Covid-19 protocols.

People who need to apply must direct email requests to: Covid19BusinessTravel@dha.gov.za, supported by—

(a) a copy of passport and/or temporary residence visa;

(b) proof of business activities to be undertaken in the Republic;

(c) proof of travel itinerary; and

(d) proof of address or accommodation in the Republic.

Public Enquiries: 0800 60 11 90

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