International Travel is Open Once Again!

September 30, 2020

It’s all systems go! On the 11th of November 2020, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the easing of more travel restrictions and regulations.

The “red travel list” has been scrapped, which means all international travellers are now allowed to travel to and from South Africa. The easing of restrictions has resulted in more airlines recommencing with scheduled services to South Africa. South Africans are allowed to travel freely across South African borders, only requiring a negative COVID-19 PCR test that is no older than 72 hours upon your return. The entry requirement of the country you are visiting will apply on arrival.

A summary of the easing of restrictions is as follows:

Partial re-opening of borders

The 18 land borders which were partially operational, will be fully operational, and the 34 land borders which were closed, will remain closed. Travelling to and from South Africa is allowed, subject to:

  • The traveller providing a valid certificate of a negative test which was obtained no more than 72 hours before the date of travel

  • In the event of the traveller’s failure to submit a certificate as proof of a negative test, the traveller will be required to quarantine him or herself at his or her own costs

All restrictions of international travel are lifted – but stringent health, safety and hygiene protocols remain.

International air travel remains restricted to the following airports:

  • OR Tambo International Airport:

  • King Shaka International Airport;

  • Cape Town International Airport.

The resumption of services for visa applications shall be determined in directions issued by minister of Home Affairs, Aaron Motsoaledi.

These amendments and easing of restrictions were brought into effect as of 00H01 on 12 November 2020.

The health & safety protocols to expect include:

  • Screening for COVID19 symptoms and quarantine where necessary

  • Wearing of face masks

  • Sanitisation of hands and touchpoints as well as social distancing where relevant

  • Other precautions and protocols as required by travel/transport suppliers and destinations travelled to.

The government has released further requirements around Health Questionnaires and other safety protocols and procedures stipulated below:

Domestic travel requirements

  • Face mask
  • Photo ID – ID Book, South African Driver’s Licence or Passport. Children must have a Birth Certificate or a certified copy of a Birth Certificate no older than 3 months. (This does not need to be an Unabridged Birth Certificate)
  • Copy of E-Ticket AND boarding pass
  • Printed Domestic Screening Questionnaire (Return flight passengers must have TWO copies for both legs of the trip).
  • The Traveller Health Questionnaire must be completed before your arrival at the airport. Failure to produce this form may result in denied boarding, resulting in your ticket being non-refundable.


Overland travel

  • 18 Land borders will be fully operational.
  • Scholars and educators needing to commute daily from neighbouring countries are free to do so, subject to entry requirements.
  • Travellers must wear face masks.
  • Travellers will be screened for Covid-19 upon arrival.
  • Upon arrival into South Africa, travellers must present a negative PCR test result not older than 72 hours from departure time.
  • Travellers must provide proof of address in the event they need to self-isolate if tested positive.
  • Travellers must present a completed Traveller Health Questionnaire.
  • Domestic flights between provinces are allowed and all accommodation, hospitality venues and tours are open, subject to safety protocols.


International exit requirements out of South Africa

  • Valid passport and E-Ticket
  • Quarantine arrangements upon arrival (if applicable)
  • Any additional documents
  • Face mask
  • Completed Exit Health Form
  • Travel insurance to cover Covid-19 related risks (highly recommended)
  • Always check entry requirements at your arrival destination (visas, PCR tests, any additional requirements).

Certain countries require negative PCR when transiting through them, e.g. All passengers travelling to the UAE, including those connecting via Dubai (Emirates) and Abu Dhabi (Etihad) must present a negative PCR test certificate. Children under the age of 12 and passengers who have moderate or severe disability are excluded. The test date must not exceed more than 96 hours before departure. For return flights to South Africa, the PCR test must not be more than 72 hours old.


International entry requirements into South Africa

  • Valid passport and E-Ticket
  • Visa to enter South Africa (if applicable)
  • Upon arrival into South Africa, travellers must present a negative PCR test result not older than 72 hours from departure time.
  • Any traveller who exhibits Covid-19 symptoms upon arrival will be required to take a Covid-19 test at their own expense. Should the test come back positive, the traveller will be subject to mandatory quarantine for 10 days at their own expense.
  • All travellers must complete an Questionnaire for entering RSA either prior to or on arrival.
  • All travellers will be screened by Port Health Officials upon arrival and departure. Those presenting symptoms must remain in quarantine until a repeat COVID-19 test is carried out.
  • All travellers must wear masks at all times within the airport or port of entry.
  • Travellers must have travel insurance that covers the costs of testing, quarantine and hospitalisation (if needed) before boarding their flight to South Africa.
  • Travellers must show proof of accommodation or address in South Africa in the event self-quarantine is required.
  • Travellers may use one of the three main airports: OR Tambo, King Shaka and Cape Town International Airport.
  • Long-term visas will be reinstated, and South African visa application centres abroad will be opened.
  • Travellers are encouraged to install the COVID Alert SA mobile app.
  • South African citizens and permanent residents will always be allowed entry into South Africa, regardless of where they are travelling from.
  • Anyone from a high-risk country wanting to travel into South Africa for business purposes must send an application to [email protected] along with a passport copy, proof of business activities, travel itinerary and proof of accommodation.