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Travel allowed for some expats

The Department of Home Affairs (DHA) has confirmed that international travel will be permitted for South Africans to travel out of South Africa, should they fall within one of the (limited) categories as outlined by the DHA.

The main categories which are being considered for those who are required to travel are: work, study, to take up permanent residency, medical conditions and/or family reunions.

These categories provide concessions towards many situations South Africans find themselves in, and where international travel is an important consideration, there is a special onus on the reconciliation of family members globally.

According to Marisa Jacobs, director at Xpatweb, an expatriate management network, many families are undergoing severe distress due to separation and isolation following the travel bans that have been implemented globally. The family reunion category announced by the South African Department of Home Affairs provides the perfect window of opportunity for concerned Saffa expats abroad to be reunited with their parent(s) and/or grandparent(s) currently stuck in South Africa.

A typical application would require a copy of valid South African passport page, a letter from the country they will be travelling to confirming admissibility, permission for transiting countries, proof of means of travel and the intended date of departure, says Jacobs.

The international travel is however subject to the South African Department of Home Affairs’ approval and which is required before one may proceed with any travel arrangements. Currently, the complexity of this process is unclear, and albeit one would expect the normal strict Home Affairs protocols to be followed, there will be the normal leniency on properly motivated cases.

The new dispensation additionally makes provision that a ‘group application’ may be submitted to the DHA should there be more than one relative required to travel out of South Africa, according to Jacobs.

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