Travel means Cape Town is open for film business

6 October 2020

The South African Government has eased restrictions for business and leisure travel into the country.

However, the National Command Council, the government body charged with the country’s COVID-19 response, has also identified countries which will not be permitted to enter South Africa.

While leisure travellers from countries classified as high risk will not be allowed, an exception will be made for visitors from those nations with investment or business interests in South Africa.

This means filmmakers, with business interests in the country, can be allowed into the country on condition they comply with the strict protocol put in place to ensure the spread of the COVID-19 virus is contained.

Below we will answer some of the frequently asked questions on travel into South Africa:

1. What is the process one needs to undertake to fly into South Africa?

Travellers that intend to visit SA must produce a Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test not older than 72 hours from the time of departure of their country of origin.

This test must be conducted by a certified medical practitioner and should have the name and signature of the practitioner who conducted it.

Upon arrival, travellers will be screened for Covid-19 symptoms, and they will also be screened for contact with people who were infected with the virus.

2. How will I know if travellers from my country are allowed to fly into South Africa?

International Relations and Cooperation Minister Naledi Pandor says the NCC relied on the World Health Organisation’s criteria in determining which countries may be classified as low medium or high risk. The grading is based on infection and death rates in those countries.

The list of high risk countries with limited access is available

The NCC has said the list will be revised every fortnight.

3. What is the process to follow if I have business in South Africa but I live in a medium or high risk country?

An exception will be made for business travellers with scarce and critical skills including diplomats, repatriated persons, investors and people participating in professional sporting and cultural events.

You will be required to write to the Home Affairs Minister with proof that your travel into South Africa is business-related. Applications can be submitted to with supporting documents including:

  • Copy of passport and/or temporary residence visa
  • Business activity/interest in the country
  • Proof of travel itinerary; and
  • Details of address or accommodation within SA
4. What about travellers from other African countries?

Travellers from all African countries are allowed and must be in possession of relevant travel documents, and will also be screened for COVID-19 symptoms.

To allow ease of travel from the African countries, 18 borders will be opened. 35 border posts will continue to offer restricted services due to insufficient capacity for screening, testing and quarantine.

Travellers who present themselves at borders which are unable to accommodate them will be directed to the currently operational border posts for processing.

5. What about travellers from other African countries?

All travellers flying into South Africa will be required to produce a Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test not older than 72 hours from the time of departure of their country of origin.

Should the person display any COVID-19–related symptoms, they will be expected to take a mandatory COVID-19 test. This test will be at their expense. Should the COVID-19 test come back positive, the person will have to quarantine for 10 days at a designated site. The accommodation at a quarantine site will be at the visitor’s cost.

6. Do these new protocols affect the previous VISA processes?

The Film Industry Visa Assistance Program (FIVA) is still operational and its leadership has met with Home Affairs for clarity on some details.

The FIVA program issues letters to international personnel in the film and advertising industries, to help with the visa application process.

With a FIVA letter, the visa application process is significantly quicker and requires much less paperwork.

FIVA will be issuing letters to industry travellers intending on visiting the country and also liaising with Home Affairs daily.

This to ensure the applications receive attention.