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SA Visa process (non-kids info)

SA Visa process (non-kids info)

Old Dec 21, 15, 6:31 am
  #1  
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Join Date: Jan 2009
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SA Visa process (non-kids info)

At around the same time that the SA immigration procedures around kids changed earlier in the year, to much fanfare, it seems other changes were made to Visa processing which impact citizens from those countries which require physical visas (even the 30-day visitor visa for tourists).

This impacts certain EU countries' Passport holders, for example, and no doubt many other countries without agreements with SA.

Anyone have any direct experience of how the documentation requirements have actually changed in practice?

I used to know "what works". Now we have two or three mutually incompatible versions of the requirements across the various DHA, Embassy and vfsglobal websites.

So far, we have discovered that the application process has materially changed.
It used to be you were not allowed to apply for the 30-day visa until 3 weeks before the trip.
Now you need an appointment at a 3rd party provider. It is unclear the lead-time permitted these days (the websites say: 4 weeks, 5 weeks or 90 days, so take your pick). The practical issue is the appointment date they give shows 3 weeks away and that then breaches the minimum processing times quoted! risking not having the Visa in time for the flight out.

I'm sure, once the practical way these applications are conducted and processed is known, then Flyertalk readers will have a stronger chance of actually complying with the process and continue to plan visits to South Africa relatively seemlessly.

Please post your experiences.
littlefish is offline  
Old Dec 21, 15, 10:13 am
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: UK
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I am a UK passport holder and visited Cape Town two weeks ago, arriving at the port by ship and leaving from the airport. I was told that I must at all costs have two empty facing pages in my passport. If I didn't I might run the risk of being turned back. Several travel organisations told me this. In the end I got three little stamps in my passport, all on one page already occupied by stamps for Honduras and Guatemala. No problem at all and another myth shattered.
Pausanias is offline  
Old Dec 21, 15, 12:43 pm
  #3  
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
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That's definitely no myth. Doesn't matter if they only really need one square centimetre; they can send you back if you don't have two blank facing pages for the same reason they have all this kiddie admin: because they're special snowflakes.
ThudAndBlunder is offline  
Old Dec 22, 15, 3:41 am
  #4  
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
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Originally Posted by littlefish View Post
Now you need an appointment at a 3rd party provider. It is unclear the lead-time permitted these days (the websites say: 4 weeks, 5 weeks or 90 days, so take your pick). The practical issue is the appointment date they give shows 3 weeks away and that then breaches the minimum processing times quoted! risking not having the Visa in time for the flight out.
This is the main problem we are facing right now with our staff trying to get Business Visitor Visas for South Africa. They won't process a visa application for more than 28 days into the future, but they require at least 4-6 weeks processing time due to the biometric collection requirements. As you point out, this leads to ridiculous situations that the bureaucrats enjoy being difficult about.

After multiple attempts at submitting a visa application and then not receiving the visa in time for the planned trip a month away, we have decided to close our South Africa office and relocate those operations to Uganda by next year.
B747-437B is offline  
Old Dec 25, 15, 11:40 am
  #5  
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
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Originally Posted by ThudAndBlunder View Post
That's definitely no myth. Doesn't matter if they only really need one square centimetre; they can send you back if you don't have two blank facing pages for the same reason they have all this kiddie admin: because they're special snowflakes.
Indeed it is not a myth. Just something they can choose to apply selectively on whim. I attended a conference locally where the organisers were embarrassed when their star guest speaker was turned back at the airport for not having 2 free passport pages!

I truly admire those of you who persist in the face of this Kafka-esque bureaucracy!
Cheetah_SA is offline  

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