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South Africa: Covid-19 Level 1 – update on travel restrictions

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South Africa: Covid-19 Level 1 – update on travel restrictions

21st September 2020


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South Africa has moved to Level 1 lockdown restrictions from 21 September 2020. This has brought about further relaxation of the restrictions that have been in place, and a welcomed easing on immigration. All health and safety protocols, social distancing, hygiene and sanitation guidelines, however, must still be followed at all times during Level 1, including the mandatory wearing of face masks.

Below is a summary of the key points in relation to immigration and travel, which will be in effect from 1 October 2020:


Key points

  • The 35 land borders that are currently closed, will remain closed and the 18 land borders which were operating on a partial basis will be fully operational.
  • International air travel will be restricted to the following airports:
    • OR Tambo International Airport
    • King Shaka International Airport
    • Cape Town International Airport
  • Travel to the Republic of South Africa will remain prohibited for travellers from high risk countries (countries with high Covid-19 infection and transmission rates). The list of high risk countries has not yet been published, but will released prior to 1 October 2020. The list will be under constant review and will be amended as required.
  • International travel from high risk countries will remain prohibited except for business travel, which may be allowed with the approval of the Home Affairs Cabinet member.
  • Travel to and from the Republic of South Africa will be allowed, subject to those travellers entering the Republic being from low risk countries only, and who adhere to the below requirements:
  • The traveller must provide a negative Covid-19 test that has been obtained no more than 72 hours prior to the date of travel
  • If the traveller is unable to produce a negative Covid-19 test, the traveller will be required to quarantine at their own cost
  • All commercial seaports will be opened.
  • Subject to the compliance protocols for entering and exiting the Republic of South Africa, daily commuters from neighbouring countries who attend or teach at a school will be allowed to enter and exit the Republic.
  • Certain visa application services on offer will resume at Home Affairs from this week. This list will be under review and will be amended as required.

Written By Ahlisha Yesmariam, Immigration Paralegal at Baker McKenzie  in Johannesburg



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