South Africa will pilot a new electronic visa system in New Zealand next year. This aims to improve the efficiency of visa applications, and will be implemented by April 2019.
“Once glitches identified during the pilot phase have been addressed, the e-Visa will be rolled out to other countries,” Malusi Gigaba, Minister of Home Affairs, said.
Gigaba hosted a press briefing following President Cyril Ramaphosa’s changes to the visa system as part of an economic growth and recovery plan. Some of the changes to visa regulations include abolishing a regulation introduced by the Minister of Home Affairs three years ago, to decrease human trafficking activity by enforcing the need for a parent to travelling to South Africa with a minor to have an unabridged birth certificate (UBC) that contain the details of both parents, as well as a sworn affidavit from the absent parent.
A new electronic gate pilot system will also be launched at Cape Town International, OR Tambo and King Shaka International Airport in 2019. This will allow both South African and international travellers to be processed automatically, and eliminating any interaction with immigration officers.
“This will increase efficiencies and convenience, and improve facilitation of movement of frequent travellers going through our international airports, thus creating our capacity to service those that still require manual assistance through physical availability of immigration officers,” Gigaba said.
As there is a big problem with congestion at the country’s ports of entry, a new Biometric Movement Control System is being finalised to solve this problem.
This system will be piloted at Cape Town International Airport and Lanseria International Airport.
A biometrics capture system is already in place at the six busiest land ports – Beit Bridge, Lebombo, Ficksburg, Maseru Bridge, Oshoek and Kopfontein.
“Though unrelated to visas, the above six are the land ports of entry, where we also receive the highest volumes of complaints regarding congestion,” Gigaba said.
The Biometric system will also serve to ease trade relations between South Africa and its neighbours.
Gigaba also announced that the Border Management Authority Bill is currently at the National Council of Provinces and is in its final stages.
This bill aims to optimise border control operations and processes by establishing a Border Management Authority.