South Africa Multiple Entry Visa: Why You Need It And What To Know If You Have It
A multiple-entry visa for South Africa is the ideal visa for any tourist who wants to get the best out of their travel to South Africa. Though South Africa has enough tourist attractions and activities to keep a tourist busy, one might want to see what the nearby countries have to offer. This is where a multiple-entry visa is required.
Why South Africa Multiple-Entry Visa?
Almost all the Southern African countries are easily accessible from South Africa. With good road networks and many buses plying these routes, it is far cheaper to see these countries while in South Africa than to plan separate trips to see them later.
South Africa shares borders with Swaziland (Eswatini), Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and Namibia, and it surrounds the whole of Lesotho.
With a South Africa multiple-entry visa, you can visit these countries and return to South Africa as many times as you wish as long as your visa remains valid.
Having a multiple-entry visa can also save you the burden of applying for an extension should circumstances require that you stay longer in the country. In this case, you just have to exit to a nearby country and return to gain a fresh entry.
What to know about South Africa multiple-entry visa
While some holders of South Africa multiple-entry visas are genuinely taking advantage to see what the nearby countries have to offer, others are abusing the visa by “border hopping” just to keep prolonging their stay in the country. So in 2014, an Immigration Regulation was introduced by the country to deal with several immigration issues including “border hopping”.
The section of the South Africa 2014 Immigration Regulation reads:
“A person, other than a resident from a country with which the Republic shares a border, who is in possession of a visa issued on the basis of an exemption contemplated in section 10A(4) of the Act, shall upon his or her readmission to the Republic be admitted on the same visa, and where such a visa has expired, may be admitted on a new visa valid for a period not exceeding seven days”.
What does the section of the Act mean?
In short, you may be allowed to stay for a period not exceeding seven days after the date your visa expires. If your visa expires on August 15, your granted period of stay won’t go beyond August 21 even if you arrived in the country days before August 15.
Your visa may have a condition stating that each visit not to exceed 30 days. You may arrive at the border thinking that you are entitled to 30 days when returning from a nearby country but you will end up with just 7 days more after the expiry of your visa.
There are two exceptions here:
- You will get the full 30-day stay if you are returning from your country of origin, the country where the visa was issued. If you are arriving from your country, then you will get the full stay as permitted by your visa.
- You will get the full 30-day stay if you arrive in the country at least 21 days before the expiry of your visa. This is calculated by adding the 21 days remaining on your visa plus the 7 days that would be granted to you after the expiry of the visa.
Note: Despite all the figures mentioned above, the immigration officers at their own discretion may decide how long a visitor can stay in the country.