South Africa will start the piloting process for an online e-visa system later this month in a fresh bid to attract more tourists, according to the Department of Home Affairs (DHA).
This new electronic self-service solution system will speedily facilitate the movement of low-risk travelers, according to the department. The system will make it easier for tourists to enter the country, thanks to the online capture of visa applications and biometric information, the department said.
The pilot will be conducted with Kenya first at the OR Tambo and Lanseria airports in Johannesburg.
At the end of November, the project will be evaluated to determine what other countries the e-visa system will be expanded to, according to the DHA.
It’s estimated that the entire application process would take around 20 minutes, provided the applicant has all of the necessary supporting documents ready for submission.
The announcement came after Minister of Home Affairs Aaron Motsoaledi on Friday signed a waiver which will allow foreign children to enter the country without additional supporting documents such as birth certificates and consent letters.
South Africa imposed strict visa regulations in 2014, requiring foreign children travelling with adults to provide unabridged birth certificates and some other documentation which are hard to obtain. This policy has stemmed the flow of foreign tourists into South Africa.
The latest steps by the government to ease visa restrictions have received positive response. The opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) on Tuesday described the moves as “a positive boost for our tourism industry.”
“It will go a long way to improving our tourism numbers, particularly in the light of the fact that most tourist numbers to South Africa have been declining,” the party said. This new feature should become a draw-card to South Africa for anyone looking for countries to visit, the DA said.