update (26 Oct 2015): Brand South Africa's information gateway to South Africa, SouthAfrica.info, has set up a list of what we need to know about the changes to the country's visa rules:
- In countries with no South African mission or embassy, Home Affairs will accept applications by registered mail, applicable to tourist and medical visitors only.
- These postal applications will then be finalised with the capture of traveller biometrics: finger prints and photos at selected port entries to South Africa – OR Tambo/Johannesburg, King Shaka/Durban and Cape Town international airports.
- South African children travelling out of the country will still be required to submit the current child-travel requirements, including parental consent affidavits as a means to protect the minors. These documents are valid for six months.
- Full details and identification and biometric information of parents will also be printed in the children's passports; therefore they will not be required to carry the birth certificates. Home Affairs, however, does advise that this form of identification still be carried as an additional form of proof.
- For inbound travellers, proof of original birth certificates or certified copies will only be required during the application process, as this is in line with practice in many other countries.
- The South African government has agreed to amend the law that includes the term "unabridged birth certificate", changing it to "birth certificate containing parental details".
- Home Affairs is currently considering the possibility of issuing long-term multiple entry visas for frequent business travellers.
- The IMC takes the position that where visas are required, provision of original birth certificates or certified copies of required documents should continue during the visa application process as this is in line with practise in many other countries.
- Travellers who are from visa exempt countries traveling with children will be strongly advised (!) to bring along proof of the relation and consent from the absent parent/s or guardian/s.
- Concessions that will take effect within the next three months include allowing countries where no South African missions exist to post their application to enter the country by post as they will be accepted by the Department of Home Affairs.
- The Department of Home Affairs will implement the biometrics, including fingerprints and photos, at the pilot sites which will be at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, King Shaka International Airport in Durban and Cape Town International Airport in Cape Town.
- The Department of Home Affairs will introduce an Accredited Tourism Company (ATC) Programme for China, India and Russia with possible extension to other visa requiring countries.
- Within three months to a year the Department of Home Affairs will increase Visa Facilitation Centres (VFC) in China, India, United Kingdom, Nigeria Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola, Ghana, Kenya and Uganda.
- The Department of Home Affairs will fast-track the opening of Visa Facilitation Centres (VFC) in Zimbabwe, United Arab Emirates and Botswana.
- Measures which will be implemented beyond one year include the installing of systems for pre-flight checks at international airports.
- The IMC accepts the implementation of the current child-travel requirements, including the parental consent affidavits as these seek to protect children.
- Allowances which will be made as part of the new measure regarding children within the next three months to a year include details of the parents printed on the passports so that children whose particulars are printed would not be required to carry birth certificates.
- In the next three months school principals will issue letters confirming permission for children to travel or school tours. This authority will also be extended to include registered sports bodies.(via sanews.gov.za)