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February 28, 2020 - 04:35
Cyprian Is Nyakundi
Front Business

No More Queueing

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The pain of
applying for a South African visa is now on its death bed if the plan by the
country’s government works for Kenyans.

Throughout this
month, South Africa’s Department of Home Affairs has been piloting the issuance
of e-visas in a move meant to test the
effectiveness of the system.

The exercise
which has been tedious for many applicants should take around 20 minutes now,
according to the department.

Kenyan applicants are advised to have the South Africa e-visa requirements in hand when completing the online form.

In this
setting, Kenyans do not have to visit the South African embassy in Nairobi or
fill out paperwork. In addition, waiting in long lines when applying for a visa
will also be a thing of the past.

As long as
one is a Kenyan passport holder, the online e-visa application process can be
completed from anywhere.

For ease of
application, Kenyans should be ready to provide basic details like passport
information and trip details.

To avoid disappointments, Kenyans are advised to complete the South Africa e-visa application form first before travelling.

Throughout
November, South Africa is
processing online visa applications from Kenyan travellers.

Growing tourism sector

“This would allow to identify any issues with the system, the difficulty of said issues and possible solutions. After the trial period with Kenya, South Africa will slowly roll out the e-visa to additional countries.”

The driving
force behind the Department of Home Affairs’ move for easier visa application
processes is growing the tourism sector.

“Besides the online visa, improving different visas processes would make it more accessible for foreign investors to come to South Africa, as well as people with skills that are critical to building the local economy,” adds the statement.

On October 7,
Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said that his department had lowered
turnaround times for critical work-skills to four weeks in 88.5 per cent of the
applications it received.

Motsoaledi added
that once a traveller’s application has been approved, it will be sent to the
email they provided on their application.

According to the minister, South Africa is considering India, China and Nigeria as there is a high number of visa applications from these three countries.

Motsoaledi did not, however, confirm when the e-visa would be available for other countries.

Enhancing security checks

Department spokesperson,
Siya Qoza, confirmed that Home Affairs is working alongside the Airport Company
South Africa (Acsa) to test e-gates at South Africa airports which will be
introduced gradually in different ports of entry.

The
introduction of the e-gates has different goals.

“The broad
objective of the project is the facilitation of low-risk travellers through a
self-service solution, hence freeing capacity for the assessment of high-risk
categories by an immigration officer,” adds a statement from the department.

The first
phase of the project will focus on South African passport holders, excluding
minors.

E-gates would
allow: biometric verification, passport authenticity and validity checks, and
checks against the BMCS risk engine.

 In the future, the e-gates would help address
the issue of traveller identification management.

Currently, South Africa does not require visas for citizens from 52countries for stays of up to 30 days while citizens from 28 countries do not need to apply for a visa.

Those from
countries without a visa exemption are required to present their visa application
at a South African mission (an embassy or consulate).

Read: Jambojet Gears Up For Maiden Flights to Rwanda and Somalia

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