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South Africa

Travel to South Africa

If you’re travelling to South Africa, you are required to take a COVID-19 PCR test, download the COVID Alert South Africa app and complete the traveller health questionnaire before departure.

COVID-19 testing requirements

From 1 October 2020, all travellers from the African Continent and from countries outside the African continent with a low rate of COVID-19 infection and transmission, will resume subject to the traveller providing a valid certificate of a negative PCR test which was obtained not more than 72 hours before the date of travel. Passengers are required to carry a COVID-19 negative PCR test certificate when travelling. Verification of the COVID-19 negative PCR test certificate taken no more than 72 hours before departure will be managed by the airport team as part of documentation checks at the time of flight departure. Check out the latest list of high risk countries on the Department of Home Affairs website.

All travellers will be screened for COVID‑19 symptoms and will be required to answer any questions required by the Health Authorities on arrival.

Exemptions

Children who are 5 years and below are exempted from COVID‑19 PCR test requirements.

South African Nationals and Permanent Residents will always be allowed to return home, whether or not they are travelling from or through a high-risk country, but will be subject to the entry requirements (i.e. valid and negative PCR test result).

Passengers from high risk countries will only be allowed to enter South Africa for business, special skills, investment trips, or as diplomats. Travel for leisure is prohibited. Any person from a country listed as having a high COVID‑19 infection and transmission rate who want to travel to South Africa for business may apply for approval in writing to the Minister of Home Affairs and present the purpose of their visit. Applications must be sent to Covid19BusinessTravel@dha.gov.za with the a copy of the applicant’s passport and/or temporary residence visa, proof of business activities to be conducted in South Africa, proof of travel itinerary and proof of address or accommodation in the republic.

The following categories of passengers do not require permission from the Minister of Home Affairs to travel to SA from high risk countries:

  • South African citizens;
  • South African Permanent Residents; and
  • Long term visa holders.

The high risk country list will be subject to review every two weeks, following which country status changes are possible.

Passengers from high risk countries who have stayed 10 days or more in a low risk country will be considered to have arrived from a low risk country.

On arrival, all travellers must present a negative COVID‑19 PCR test certificate not older than 72 hours from the time of their departure. The COVID‑19 PCR test must have been conducted by an accredited laboratory under the health authorities of the country of origin and the certificate must be to international standards with the date/time of test; name and signature of the medical practitioner; date/time of result and test results clearly evidenced.

Leisure travel is only allowed for travellers from medium and low risk countries.

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

Airline crew will be allowed entry subject to them adhering to the industry health guidelines and international protocols.

Seamen joining a ship will be allowed entry subject to them complying with applicable health protocols.

Visa applications are subject to deliberation by the Department of Home Affairs. Foreign national arrivals from low- and medium-risk countries will be subject to the prevailing visa requirements, i.e. if a 90-day waiver was in place before, it will be reinstated now if the traveller is coming from a LR or MR country. Effective immediately the Minister of Home Affairs has reinstated the visa exemption status of the citizens of the following countries:

  • South Korea
  • Spain
  • Italy
  • Germany
  • Hong Kong
  • Singapore
  • USA
  • UK
  • France
  • Portugal
  • Iran

Please check your individual visa requirements before travelling to South Africa.

Required forms

All passengers must complete the traveller health questionnaire before arrival.

All travellers must provide proof of accommodation and their address while in South Africa in case they are required to self‑isolate.

All foreign passengers, irrespective of country of origin arriving in South Africa must have travel insurance that covers the cost of any testing or quarantine.

Required apps

All passengers must install the COVID Alert South Africa app prior to travel.

Other information

South Africa’s air borders with all African countries are now open.

International travel is restricted to the following airports: OR Tambo International Airport, King Shaka International Airport and Cape Town International Airport.

Travel from South Africa

If you’re travelling from South Africa, you may be required to take a COVID-19 PCR test before departure and provide additional documentation depending on the requirements of your specific destination.

COVID-19 testing requirements

Passengers must comply with COVID‑19 requirements of the destination. Subject to requirements of the destination, passengers must provide a negative COVID‑19 PCR test certificate from an accredited laboratory.

Check the list of recommended facilities for COVID‑19 PCR testing in South Africa.

Required forms

All passengers must complete the traveller health questionnaire when travelling from South Africa.

Passengers travelling within South Africa must complete the traveller health questionnaire when travelling within South Africa.