Home Affairs (Interior) Minister Malusi Gigaba says South Africa has decided to take reciprocal action and withdraw the visa exemption which New Zealand passport holders enjoy in response to New Zealand’s withdrawal of visa-free travel arrangements for South African passport holders.

He told the media here Tuesday that South Africa had, for some time now, adopted a visa policy which is based on the principle of reciprocity.

Holders of New Zealand diplomatic, official and ordinary passports, who arrive at a South African port of entry on or after Jan 16, 2017 and who are not in possession of a visa for the intended purpose and duration of stay, will not be allowed to enter South Africa.

“We have been of the considered view that South Africa on its part should not unduly impose severe restrictions on other states and their citizens wishing to travel to our country,” he said.

“It is not our policy to deter foreign visitors or to reduce the flow of tourists, business people and other travellers to our country. Immigration, particularly for development, is high on our agenda, and thus the current endeavour on our part comprehensively to review our international migration policy.

“We remain ever committed to the vision of a country, region, continent and world in which people are and feel safe, and shall not be distracted from working for the creation of a better continent and a better world for all of humanity.”

On Sept 19, this year, the New Zealand High Commission (Embassy) here officially informed the South African government of a decision by the New Zealand government to introduce visa requirements for all South African nationals wishing to travel to New Zealand with effect from Nov 21, 2016 and on Oct 3, 2016, an announcement in this regard was made in the media.

The New Zealand Government attributed certain factors which led them to the decision to withdraw the visa waiver arrangements for South African passport holders. It listed as among the factors:

* The number of South African visitors who exploit the visa waiver arrangement to visit family and friends in New Zealand, as opposed to travelling to New Zealand for tourism or business purposes;

* The number of South African visitors who had overstayed the three-month visa waiver limit or who did not return to South Africa; and

* The number of South African travellers who had been refused entry at the New Zealand border because of counterfeit or fraudulently obtained South African passports.

New Zealand ordinary passport holders should visit the department’s website at to acquaint themselves with the supporting documents that need to accompany a visa application before visiting the South African High Commission in Wellington to submit a visa application form and supporting documents in person.