Effective immediately, visa exempt nationals will need to apply for a Section 11 (2) business visa through a South African consulate if planning to travel to South Africa for business purposes.
A business visa obtained through the consulate was already required for visa nationals, but up to May 13, 2014 visa exempt nationals could apply online for a Section 11(2) advance travel authorization, which would be issued as an approval letter. Upon presentation of this approval letter after arrival at the airport the actual permit would then be endorsed in the applicant’s passport. As of yesterday these online applications are no longer accepted by the Department of Home Affairs.
Any applications filed before May 14 will still be processed and no action needs to be taken by anyone who still holds a valid Section 11(2) approval; anyone who travels to South Africa with a valid Section 11(2) authorization will automatically be issued with a business visa upon arrival.
ACTION ITEMS FOR EMPLOYERS
Employers should be aware that going forward all business travelers to South Africa, regardless of their nationality, will need to apply for a business visa through the South African consulate in the employee’s home country before travel. Since this new visa requirement increases the work load at the consulates, processing times of these and traditional business visa applications might be extended. It should also be noted that at this time it is unknown yet if the application for otherwise visa exempt nationals will require the same supporting documents and take the same time for processing as business visas for visa nationals, or if a different process will apply. Pro-Link GLOBAL can assist with Section 11(2) business visa applications for your employees, regardless of their nationality.
Note that this change is one of the many changes to immigration regulations that will be implemented within the foreseeable future. Earlier this year drafts for amendments to the current immigration system have been published for comments. The responses have been under review since March and the, potentially amended, changes are expected to be implemented within the next few months. Pro-Link GLOBAL will continue to monitor the situation and advise on these changes as soon as they have been confirmed.
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Caveat Lector | Warning to Reader
This is provided as informational only and does not substitute for actual legal advice based on the specific circumstances of a matter. Readers are reminded that Immigration laws are fluid and can change a moment’s notice without any warning. Please reach out to your local Pro-Link GLOBAL specialist should you require any additional clarification. This alert was prepared by Pro-Link GLOBAL’s Knowledge Management team. Pro-Link GLOBAL worked with our PLG | KGNM Correspondent Office in South Africa to provide you this update.
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