South Africa and Russia will launch visa-free travel at the end of February, when the two countries will mark 25 years since they established diplomatic relations, South African Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba told Tass on Tuesday.
“The agreement will be finalized by the end of February,” the minister said. On January 18, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev signed an instruction on concluding a protocol between the countries on visa-free travel up to 90 days for holders of regular international passports.
“We have already responded to the Russian government. We are eager to see more travelers from Russia and other BRICS countries,” Malusi Gigaba said, noting that last year South Africa introduced ten-year visas for the management of Russian companies.
Home Affairs Deputy Director General for Immigration Services Jackie McKay told Tass that administrative formalities of the agreement on visa-free trips are to be finalized and all points of entry into South Africa are to be notified in February. “It was our initiative and the Russian government agreed with it,” he said.
Meanwhile, general rules concerning entry into South Africa for minors stay in place for the Russian nationals. The birth certificate and permission from the second parent if the child travels with one of them are necessary. Both documents must be translated into English with the translation authorized.
The home affairs minister said that 90 days of a visa-free stay in South Africa is in effect once every calendar year.
Tourist flow to South Africa expected to rise
The Association of Tour Operators of Russia (ATOR) believes the new visa-free rules will trigger a flow of tourists to South Africa. “A growth will come first of all due to tourists from regions, as for the past several years they have had to attend in person the consulate in Moscow,” the association said. According to official data, 15,000 Russian tourists visited South Africa in 2015.