South Africa has anxiously been waiting for this announcement since we moved to LEVEL 1 

As an immigration company, the closing of the borders in South Africa resulted in our services coming to a halt and our staff members, like many other South Africans had to make huge compromises. Working remotely was the most unlikely of them.  

The immigration, travel and tourism sectors, in general, are very excited about this new development. 

After weeks of speculation Minister Fikile Mbalula finally announced the countries that South Africans will be allowed to travel too. 

Provided that the country is not featured on the ‘banned list, anybody from South Africa will be allowed to travel there from Thursday 1 October 2020. 

International visitors, from the countries not on the ‘banned list’ are also welcome to travel to South Africa provided they can produce a negative PCR Covid19 Test result certificate, that has an official stamp, on arrival at one of the 3 airports. The test should have been taken within 72 hours prior to leaving their country of residence. 

Business workers, investors, and high-skilled professionals (including diplomats) from countries on the banned list are permitted to travel but will need to provide evidence that they have tested negative to the PCR test taken within 72 hours of arrival. 

International leisure travel laws – where can South Africans go? 

It’s been in sight for a while, but the reopening of South Africa’s borders promises to be a very delicate operation. Measures announced earlier this month show the country will slowly phase in everything and not open the borders to all at once. 

Safety is still the number one priority in the country and although the message to international visitors is a clear ‘welcome back’, there will be some tourists who cannot enter South Africa if their country of residence is on the banned travel list. 

The borders were closed at the end of March, which is now over half a year ago. South Africa difficult journey through the lockdown levels, but things really started looking up in August, when level 2 restrictions were introduced and the country was opening up the economy. 

Banned leisure travel list for Level 1 

Although the borders are opening, there are still requirements for social distancing, mask-wearing, and crowd controls in place at Level 1. 

It is however the most relaxed version of lockdown available for South Africa and after more than half a year everyone is very delighted to be in this phase. 

The travel list will be reviewed regularly by the government to ensure the countries listed still have controlled Covid-19 statistics and their curve do not spike, in which they will have to be reviewed. 

Border controls will also remain airtight for the nearby future, with all persons passing through Mzansi required to prove they are COVID-negative. Temperature checks will also be made mandatory for all travellers, the same than it currently is when entering any public place/business in South Africa  

International restrictions: Countries on South Africa’s ‘banned leisure travel list’ 

South Africa has split all countries into three categories: High-risk, Medium-risk, and Low-risk. 

People from any High-risk countries will not be able to travel to South Africa for leisure purposes. Business workers, investors, and high-skilled professionals (including diplomats) from these nations are permitted, however. 

The countries South Africa cannot open their doors to – nor can South Africa allow their citizens to visit – include the following:

  1. Dominican Republic
  2. Ecuador
  3. Faroe Islands
  4. France
  5. French Polynesia
  6. Georgia
  7. Gibraltar
  8. Greece
  9. Guam
  10. Guatemala
  11. Guyana
  12. Honduras
  13. Hungary
  14. Iceland
  15. India
  16. Iran
  17. Iraq
  18. Ireland
  19. Israel
  20. Jamaica
  21. Jordan
  22. Kosovo
  23. Kuwait
  24. Lebanon
  25. Luxembourg
  26. Maldives
  27. Malta
  28. Mexico
  29. Moldova
  30. Monaco
  31. Montenegro
  32. Netherlands
  33. Nepal
  34. North Macedonia
  35. Oman
  36. Palestine
  37. Panama
  38. Palau
  39. Paraguay
  40. Portugal
  41. Puerto Rico
  42. Romania
  43. Qatar
  44. Russia
  45. San Marino
  46. St Marteen
  47. Slovakia
  48. Slovenia
  49. Suriname
  50. Switzerland
  51. Trinidad and Tobago
  52. Turks and Caicos Islands
  53. Ukraine
  54. United Kingdom
  55. United States of America
  56. US Virgin Islands
  57. Venezuela
  58. Austria
  59. Brazil


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Source: The South African Government


By Angelique Wernich