Minister Aaron Motsoaledi eyes visa-free travel to the UK from SA.
It’s been ten years since South African passport holders arrived on UK shores without requiring visas to enter the country, but the Department of Home Affairs is hoping to rectify the situation.
According to Move Up managing director, Ryan Rennison, the UK revoked South Africa’s visa-free status in 2009 after 10,000 blank passports went missing – a notable security hazard for a nation that has had its fair share of terrorist attacks.
“We’ve been advocating for the reinstatement of South Africa’s visa-free travel to the UK for many years, so I am thrilled to hear that the Department of Home Affairs has begun to pursue this course of action. It will only benefit South African travellers,” said Rennison.
While South Africans have been murmuring about the visa system for some time, it seems Aaron Motsoaledi has finally brought this issue to the fore.
In an interview on Radio 702 the Home Affairs Minister said that he would like the UK to reconsider the visa regulations that curtail South African visits to the British empire. According to the cabinet representative, South Africa’s improved security protocol should be enough to placate the UK Home Office.
This is what Motsoaledi said:
“We used to enter the UK visa-free, but unfortunately, something happened some years back where there were complaints where other nations were able to forge our passport. We have improved, our passports are harder to forge now and we think the UK should reconsider.”
E-visas set for their introduction
While South African government begins their campaign for visa-free travel to the UK, they are also set to introduce electronic visas (e-visas) to replace the cumbersome paper-based system in place at present. The Department of Home Affairs said that the introduction of e-visas is “huge news” for the inbound tourism industry. On 7 October 2019, it was announced that the e-visa pilot scheme would launch in November.
The proposed e-visa system is excellent news for people who travel to countries that require additional documentation. An electronic system allows applicants to access their papers online, removing the the need to visit South African missions abroad, in person.