South Africa announces new visa exemptions

South Africa announces new visa exemptions



President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced that Kenyans will now be able to enter South Africa visa-free for a period of 90 days.

The President made the announcement during an Official State Visit to the country on Wednesday (9 November).

During the visit, several Memoranda of Understanding and agreements were signed between the two countries.

The President said an agreement was reached on the “thorny issue” during talks.

“We agreed that indeed Kenyans should be able to visit South Africa without requiring them to have visas… this dispensation will commence on the 1st of January 2023 and that our officials will speed up the processes of putting it into effect,” he said.

The President explained that the new dispensation will be available to Kenyans for a 90-day period in a year. Meaning Kenyans can use the visa-free entry for 90 days in a year.

“We will be able to review this and get reports from our ministers within the year and see how this is functioning.

“This will also be underpinned by other processes that we have agreed should take place. [That is] close monitoring of the implementation of this process and also be able to have a return policy of those…elements that would be undesirable to be able to be returned to Kenya,” he said.

President Ramaphosa said the move will strengthen the relationship between the two countries.

“More importantly [the agreement strengthens] the people-to-people contact. Kenyans and South Africans have multiplicities of relations both business, social, communal and at relative level. They want to be able to travel, and tourism between our two countries will be greatly enhanced through this,” he said.

During talks, the two countries also signed agreements and Memoranda of Understanding in the areas of correctional and prison services, housing and human settlements, arts and culture and schools of government.

“We are committed to ensuring that the agreements and Memoranda of Understanding that we have signed now and in the past will be implemented fully,” he said.

Visa-free countries

Responding to a written parliamentary Q&A this month, Home Affairs minister Aaron Motsoaledi said that the list of countries that are able to enter South Africa visa-free has been largely unchanged since 1992 when most of the visa agreements were already concluded.

He said that the department hasn’t conducted any further research into the countries and how this impacts tourism, nor are there plans to introduce a visa-on-arrival system for South Africa.

South Africa allows visa-free travel on different passport types, including diplomatic, official, service, ordinary and special passports.

There are currently 102 countries that can enter South Africa without a visa on an ordinary passport. With the addition of Kenya, from 1 January 2023 the list will grow to 103.

The document below lists all the countries that are able to come to South Africa without a visa:

On the opposite side of the travel equation, the Henley & Partners global mobility index for 2022 shows that South Africans can travel to 105 countries visa-free.

Below are the 105 countries South Africans can travel to visa-free according to the latest Henley & Partners report.

* Indicates visa on arrival or eTA.


BeninMadagascar*Sierra Leone*
BurundiMauritania*St. Helena*
Cape Verde Islands*MauritiusSwaziland (eSwatini)
Comores Islands*MozambiqueTanzania


Cambodia*MalaysiaSouth Korea
Hong Kong (SAR China)Maldives*Sri Lanka*
Macao (SAR China)Singapore


GeorgiaRussian FederationKosovo


Cook IslandsMicronesiaSamoa*
Marshall Islands*Palau Islands*Vanuatu

Middle East 

Palestinian Territories


Antigua and BarbudaDominican RepublicSt. Lucia
BahamasGrenadaSt. Vincent and the Grenadines
BarbadosHaitiTrinidad and Tobago
British Virgin IslandsJamaicaTurks and Caicos
Cayman IslandsMontserrat
DominicaSt. Kitts and Nevis


BelizeEl SalvadorPanama
Bolivia*Falkland IslandsParaguay
Costa RicaHondurasVenezuela



Also Read> Eskom-South Africa’s crowdsourcing initiative – Invitation to Electricity Industry Experts to support Eskom’s turnaround


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