Lockdown Level-1: Good news for international travellers – South Africa will reopen its international borders soon

In the national address, on Wednesday 16 September 2020, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that South Africa will reopen its international borders during level 1. Restrictions on international travel for business and leisure and other travel will be gradually eased from 1 October 2020. However, a list of permitted countries will be published based on the latest scientific data.

21 Sep 2020 2 min read Employment Alert Article

International travel is subject to the following containment and mitigation measures:

  • Travel may be restricted to and from certain countries that have high infection rates;
  • International travel will only be allowed through the main border ports or through OR Tambo International, Cape Town International, or King Shaka International;
  • Travellers will be required to have a COVID test taken within 72 hours from date of departure and provide a negative coronavirus certificate. Failure to do so will mean being placed in mandatory quarantine on arrival and at the traveller’s own cost; and
  • All travellers will be required to install the COVID-19 alert level app.

All visa application centres in South Africa and abroad are expected to resume visa services to the public.

Minister Aaron Motsoaledi issued a directive extending all visas that expired from mid-February 2020 – that extension remains in place until 31 October 2020. Simply put, foreign nationals already in the country but whose visas expired from mid-February 2020 will be allowed to renew their visas in South Africa. All visas that expired during lockdown can be renewed without any additional penalties.

Seemingly, foreign nationals whose work visas expired during the lockdown, will be allowed to legally work until 31 October 2020. It is unclear now as to whether or not this time frame will be extended to allow foreign nationals enough time to submit their applications.

However, these temporary measures apply only to foreign nationals who have been legally admitted into the Republic of South Africa.

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