Level 1: What can travellers expect when entering – and leaving – SA?
How exactly will international travel through South Africa work? We've got the latest Level 1 guidelines for entering and leaving the country here.
International travel will be permitted once more within the next two weeks, after Cyril Ramaphosa confirmed the country would move to Level 1 of lockdown on the morning of Monday 21 September. However, visiting South Africa – and leaving to go overseas – will be like nothing any of us have experienced previously.
How international travel will work during Level 1
Life in the ‘new normal’ means that things won’t be like they were before the pandemic. Not for a while, anyway. Ramaphosa stressed on Wednesday that these changes will be implemented ‘gradually and cautiously’.
“One of the earliest measures we took to contain the spread of the virus was to severely restrict international arrivals and to close our borders. With the move to alert Level 1, we will gradually and cautiously ease restrictions on international travel. This is subject to various containment and mitigation measures.”
Below, we have put together a quick list on what people can expect from international travel to South Africa
International travel at Level 1: Information for visitors coming to South Africa
When will South Africa open its borders?
Although the country moves to Level 1 of lockdown on Monday 21 September, international travel will not resume in or out of Mzansi until Thursday 1 October.
Requirements for entering the country
On arrival, travellers will need to present a negative COVID-19 test result – not older than 72 hours from the time of departure. This will allow South Africa to regulate and limit the spread of the virus as a result of international travel.
What happens if I show COVID symptoms on arrival?
Where a traveller has not done a COVID-19 test prior to departure, they’ll be asked to remain in mandatory quarantine at their own cost. All travellers will be screened on arrival, which will include temperature checks. Under Level 1 laws, those presenting symptoms will be required to remain in quarantine until a new COVID-19 test is conducted.
You need to download our track and trace app…
All travellers will be asked to install the COVID Alert South Africa mobile app when they visit the country. The download is free and the app itself does not collect any personal information, according to the government’s own guidelines.
International travel at Level 1: Information for people leaving South Africa
Reasons for leaving the country
President Ramaphosa has cleared the paths for leisure, business, and all other kinds of travel starting from October.
Where will South Africans be banned from travelling to?
Travel may be restricted to and from certain countries that have high infection rates during Level 1. A list of countries will be published based on the latest scientific data. Some sources suggest the US, the UK, Spain, and Italy will remain off-limits – but this is yet to be verified by Cabinet representatives.
You can only travel to and from one of three airports
International travellers will only be able to use one of the land border posts that have remained operational during the lockdown – or one of the three main airports: King Shaka, OR Tambo, and Cape Town International Airport. The government advises that residents must return to the same port of travel they have departed from.
Returning to a place of residence overseas
If you need help abroad, South African missions will open for visa applications and all long-term visas will be reinstated at Level 1. After months of backlogs and delays, our overseas residents will finally get the assistance they need.
Careful screening of international travellers at airports and border crossings is essential to prevent infected visitors from entering the country and contributing to the spread of the virus. pic.twitter.com/UGB09n3BVT
— Presidency | South Africa 🇿🇦 (@PresidencyZA) September 16, 2020