27 July 2020 by Employment Alert

The age of technology: Allowing for the easing of visa restrictions through an online e-Visa service for Kenyan and Indian nationals

Following the announcement of the level 5 lockdown by President Ramaphosa, the Ministry of Home Affairs acted accordingly and suspended all foreign national visa applications. The Department of Home Affairs further suspended the adjudication of visa applications received prior to the lockdown. However, with the easing of the restrictions under level 3, the Ministry of Home Affairs has introduced a pilot project allowing for online e-Visa applications for Kenyan and Indian Nationals. This online e-Visa service is open to Kenyan and Indian citizens who will land in Lanseria and OR Tambo International airports only.

Both India and the Republic of Kenya are not considered to be visa exempt. In other words, Indian and Kenyan nationals, who hold ordinary passports, are required to apply for a travel visa, and have the same endorsed into his or her passport, before departing for South Africa.

The e-Visa serves as an alternative to visas being issued at the ports of entry or individuals visiting an embassy/consulate to obtain a traditional paper visa. e-Visas are linked electronically to the traveller’s passport. The applicant is still expected to apply for the type of visa he or she qualifies for.

Steps to be taken

The following steps must be taken when applying for an e-Visa:

  • Create a profile and complete the application form.
  • Submit the online application.
  • Upload documentation.
  • Make payment.
  • Upload proof of payment.

Amongst many the following documents are required:

  • A valid and acceptable passport or travel document for intended stay.
  • At least one blank page passport for endorsements.
  • A valid visa, if required.
  • Sufficient funds to pay for day-to-day expenses.
  • A return or onward ticket.
  • Yellow fever certificates if the journey starts or entails passing through the yellow fever belt of Africa or South America.

The applicant can also apply for people accompanying them as the e-Visa allows applications for a group of people. However, the applicant needs to indicate the visa type that is being applied for by each person in the group. When single-entry visa is used or expired, the applicant will be required to apply for another visa in order to travel to South Africa again and multiple-entry visas may be granted.

Once the e-Visa is approved, notification will be made available on the e-Visa online portal. The applicants must print a copy of the said notification to carry with their passport when they travel to South Africa. Upon arrival in South Africa, the applicant must have the e-Visa notification printout, with their original passport at all times. Validity of an e-Visa will vary by type and country and validity periods will be stated when the e-Visa is issued.

It is unclear whether international travels and airports will be operational or not, however, upon approval of the e-Visa, the notification will indicate by which date the applicant should enter South Africa. Should the applicant fail to do so, they risk forfeiting their e-Visa in which case a new application and fee will be required for them to be granted a new e-visa.

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