The Electronic Visa (e-Visa) has emerged as one of the most innovative services implemented in the area of freedom of movement and people-to-people contacts. Countries such as Australia, Turkey, New Zealand and Georgia have implemented this service with success for years and South Africa is finally joining the party. This news comes after the Democratic Alliance's (DA) campaign calling for the introduction of electronic visas was finally taken to light.
Here’s what you need to know about the new Electronic Visa pilot in South Africa:
How do E-Visas work?
E-Visa allows the management of the visa application process to take place entirely in a virtual environment. Everything is done with the help of the Internet: the visa application and supporting documents are submitted online, the payment is made online and the decision on the application is communicated online.
When will it be rolled out?
According to a reply to DA parliamentary question, the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) confirmed that the first phase of the e-visa system will be piloted by the 31 March 2019.
What will it cover?
The pilot phase will initially cover temporary residence visas, adjudication of temporary residence visas, applications for waivers, applicant notifications and biometric details.
What are the benefits of this pilot?
James Vos, DA Shadow minister of tourism says, “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.
“Most importantly, improved tourist arrivals will facilitate more job growth in the industry while guaranteeing job security for 1.4 million South Africans already working in the tourism industry.”
Here’s to hoping that this new electronic visa regime is in line with international best practice and capable of growing our tourism sector. Stay tuned!