South Africa introducing electronic visas
South Africa’s Department of Home Affairs (DHA) confirmed that the first phase of the electronic visa system will be piloted by the end of March 2019. According to a Business Tech report, this will make it easier for tourists to enter the country thanks to the online visa and permit application process and capturing of applicants’ biometrics both locally and abroad.
The rollout of the first phase of the e-visa system is expected to take place at a foreign mission, embassy or local DHA office and the pilot will initially cover temporary residence visas, adjudication of temporary residence visas, applications for waivers, applicant notifications and biometric details.
“The rollout programme will be gradual starting with Phase 1, which entails applications for temporary residence visas, adjudication of temporary residence visas, applications for waivers, notifications to the applicant via email and biometrics captured at the Mission,” explained Member of Parliament for the Democratic Alliance and Shadow Minister of Tourism James Vos.
“Electronic visas will boost the tourism industry by cutting turnaround times for the issuing of travel documentation while ensuring the information of applicants is secure,” added Vos. “Most importantly, improved tourist arrivals will facilitate more job growth in the industry while guaranteeing job security for 1.4 million South Africans already working in the tourism industry.”
According to Gloria Guevara Manzo, President and CEO of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), the implementation of biometrics technology to facilitate secure borders is the single biggest opportunity for the travel and tourism sector in 2018.