South Africa's Department of Home Affairs has announced that New Zealanders, along with six other nations, will soon to be able to enter South Africa visa-free.
In the interim, the current visa requirements for Kiwis apply as New Zealand awaits formal advice from the South African Department of Home Affairs to the specific implementation of the visa waiver scheme.
This announcement was made today by Minister of Home Affairs Aaron Motsoaledi after the country revised its entry requirements.
"Tourism will soar if we relax visa requirements for entry into South Africa. We know that tourism is very important for job creation," Motsoaledi said.
"Out of the 193 countries who are member states of the United Nations, the department has granted visa-free status to 75 countries. Of these 16 are in our continent and are SADC members and 59 are from all over the world."
The minister said that his office would immediately enter into discussions with the countries about how a visa-free regime will work.
The department announced that the following countries will soon be able to enter the country, visa-free:
• United Arab Emirates
• New Zealand
• Saudi Arabia
• Sao Tome and Principe
Motsoaledi said that "homework" is still needed to be done for three other countries which make up close to 30 per cent of the world's population to the list: China, India and Nigeria.
"While we are busy tackling the matter of the three countries, we shall this financial year increase two and a half times the number of people who work for Home Affairs to process visas in both China and India. We shall double the number of people who process visas to our country in Nigeria," he said.
Speaking to BusinessTech, a department spokesperson said that the countries announced by the minister only apply to inbound visas (citizens from the listed countries visiting South Africa).
Outbound visas (South Africans visiting the countries listed) need to be negotiated on a country-by-country basis.
They also noted some countries, including Qatar and Ghana already have visa-free or visa on arrival agreements with South Africa.
According to the latest Henley Passport Index, South Africans can visit 99 countries around the globe visa-free.