It looks like the longstanding issue between Nigeria and South Africa is not favorable. President Buhari has been left in a state of shock as Nigeria was excluded from the list of countries South Africa is to grant Visa Waivers in a bid to boost tourism to the country. South Africa is concluding a number of visa waiver agreements with other countries, allowing travelers to enter the country without a visa.
This announcement was made by the Minister of Home Affairs, Malusi Gigaba on Tuesday in Pretoria. Citizens from 10 countries will now no longer require a visa to travel to South Africa. The countries include Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Ghana, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Iran, Lebanon, the State of Palestine, Belarus, Georgia and Cuba. These countries join the UK, US, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Australia, Brazil and Canada whose citizens already have visa waiver agreements.
Gigaba said,”We have implemented a visa waiver for all citizens of the Russian Federation and Angola, on 1 April 2017 and 1 December 2017, respectively, to travel to SA without having to apply for a visa.”
Visa Waiver enables nationals of certain countries to travel to the waived country for tourism or business (visitor visa purposes) for stays of 90 days or less without obtaining a visa. Not all countries participate in the Visa Waiver and not all travelers from those countries are eligible to use the program.
Nationals from China and India still require visa to visit South Africa despite being part of the top 10 overseas tourism market. However, Gigaba said that his department is trying to simplify visa requirements for these countries. This will include taking biometrics on arrival in SA, which will speed up getting through customs for tourists from China and India as well as allowing visa applications via courier and the issuing of five-year multiple entry visas, Gigaba reiterated,
“Easing movement in this manner will help in attracting larger number of tourists, business people and families.”
Business people from China and India will also be issued with a 10-year multiple entry visa, given within days of application. Gigaba said, “They do not need to apply in person and can use courier services. This arrangement is meant to attract business people and prospective investors.”
Furthermore, Gigaba said that the development of the e-Visa is at an advanced stage and will be piloted in New Zealand by April 2019. “This will significantly enhance efficiency in the issuing of visas to tourists and business people visiting our country,” Gigaba said. Once concerns have been identified and taken care of in the pilot phase, it will be rolled out in other countries.