July 13, 2015 -
South Africa will implement biometric regulations for India’s visa applicants by the end of the year, as soon as it develops the proper infrastructure, according to a report by The Financial Express.
The new regulations comes as South Africa showed relatively unchanged tourism numbers from India during last year’s e-bola outbreak in West Africa and terrorist attacks in the East.
“This year we will be introducing new visa regulations,” said Malusi Gigaba, minister of home affairs for South Africa. “Firstly, we want to meet every visa applicant in person, so we will be implementing a biometric system in India. We won’t allow a third party to apply for visa.
“Secondly, we had a policy that in case of a child we used to demand for the birth certificate also as an ID proof, but specifically for India we have decided that we will only accept the passport and have waived off the latter criteria.”
South Africa’s ministry of external affairs is also considering rolling out an e-visa facility for Indian travellers and its top 20 source market, along with creating a three-year multiple entry visa for frequent travellers, said Gigaba.
The government has already requested its Indian offices to compile a list of all the frequent travellers, which will include all travellers who have relatives in South Africa.
“South Africa and India enjoys a longstanding relationship,” said Gigaba. “India is a strategic business partner and one of the most important source markets for us. It is important for us to cultivate and strengthen the relationship and promote tourism in this country.”
In a meeting with Home Minister of India Rajnath Singh, Gigaba announced that South Africa will issue the BRICS nation business travellers with a 10-year multiple entry visa.
Gigaba requested India to offer the same 10-year multiple entry visa, to which Singh seemed to be in favor of.
South Africa’s ministry of home affairs is also working on a ‘Trusted Traveller Visa’, which will be provided to those travellers with a clear record.
Previously reported, the South African tourism department is set to introduce new regulations in October that would require travellers to the country to obtain a biometric visa in-person.