Traveller FAQs Updated April 2022
Travel restrictions are easing all over the world, but travellers are still cautious when planning their upcoming trips. Whether you’re travelling for business or pleasure, here’s a list of FAQs that will help you board your next flight with peace of mind.
WHAT HEALTH TRAVEL DOCUMENTATION DO I NEED TO PRODUCE WHEN I ENTER SOUTH AFRICA?
Fully vaccinated travellers arriving in the country are required to produce a valid vaccination certificate.
Unvaccinated travellers arriving in the country are required to produce a valid certificate of a negative Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test, taken not more than 72 hours before the date of travel. Both fully vaccinated and unvaccinated travellers are required to complete the Traveller Health Questionnaire (THQ).
ARE FULLY VACCINATED PERSONS ALLOWED TO ENTER SOUTH AFRICA WITHOUT A NEGATIVE PCR TEST RESULT?
Yes, fully vaccinated travellers arriving in the country no longer need to show proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test but are required to produce a valid vaccination certificate.
CAN I GET VACCINATED WHEN I ARRIVE IN SOUTH AFRICA?
Yes, all unvaccinated travellers entering the country who want to be vaccinated will be offered a vaccination.
IS THE 72 HOURS FOR THE PCR TEST COUNTED FROM DATE OF SAMPLE ANALYSIS OR FROM DATE WHEN THE TEST RESULT WAS RECEIVED?
The 72 hours is counted from the time of sample collection.
CAN I USE A NEGATIVE ANTIGEN TEST RESULT TO ENTER SOUTH AFRICA?
No, only a negative PCR test result will be accepted on entry.
CAN A PCR TEST TAKEN BEFORE LEAVING SOUTH AFRICA BE USED ON RETURN IF THE RETURN DATE IS WITHIN 72 HOURS?
If you depart and return to South Africa within 72 hours of the sample collection date, then the test result can be used on your return. If your return is delayed for longer than 72 hours, the test result will no longer be valid, and you will need to retest before arriving in South Africa.
HOW LONG BEFORE TRAVEL CAN I COMPLETE THE TRAVELLER HEALTH QUESTIONNAIRE?
The health questionnaire can be completed up to 48 hours before travel or on arrival into the country. You can download the entry questionnaire here and the exit questionnaire here.
WHAT SCREENING MEASURES ARE IMPLEMENTED ON ARRIVAL IN SOUTH AFRICA?
On arrival at the port of entry, you will be screened by port health officials to determine whether you are experiencing any symptoms related to COVID-19. The screening will include having your temperature taken, analyses of the THQ provided, and testing where required.
WHAT IF DURING SCREENING AT THE PORT OF ENTRY A TRAVELLER IS FOUND TO HAVE BEEN EXPOSED TO COVID-19 OR EXPERIENCING SYMPTOMS RELATED TO COVID-19?
If a traveller is found to have been exposed to or is experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19 during the screening that is done at the port of entry, further assessments will be conducted which may include testing.
CAN I COMPLETE MY ISOLATION AT HOME IF THE TEST CONDUCTED DURING THE ASSESSMENT AT THE PORT OF ENTRY COMES BACK POSITIVE?
If the test result comes back positive and the traveller is symptomatic, a decision will be made on whether the isolation can be completed at a traveller’s residence.
ARE THERE ANY CATEGORIES OF TRAVEL EXEMPTED FROM PRODUCING A NEGATIVE PCR TEST RESULT?
Yes, the following categories of persons are exempted from producing a negative PCR test result:
1. Fully vaccinated travellers in the procession of a valid vaccination certificate
2. Daily commuters from neighbouring countries who attend or teach at a school in the Republic
3. Children below the age of five years
4. Cross border freight operators
5. Airline crew on official duty
6. Medical evacuation crew conducting medical evacuations
I HAVE RECENTLY RECOVERED FROM COVID-19 AND MY PCR TEST RESULT HAS COME BACK POSITIVE; DOES THIS MEAN I CAN’T TRAVEL TO SOUTH AFRICA?
Persons who have recently contracted COVID-19 may continue to test positive for weeks on PCR after full recovery. Most travellers who have recently recovered will not be able to produce a negative test as required by Regulations.
If you are unable to produce a negative PCR test result due to having recently recovered from a COVID-19 infection and wish to travel to South Africa, you must send a request to the Department of Health for a letter of exemption. This is only applicable to travellers who have fully recovered and intend to travel within 90 days of the initial PCR test result that confirmed the infection. The request can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org and must be accompanied by a copy of your passport, the PCR test result that confirmed your initial infection, and a letter from a medical practitioner confirming that you have fully recovered, you are not experiencing any new symptoms and you are fit to travel.
The letter from the medical practitioner must have your name and surname as reflected on your passport, and the date, signature, physical address, and contact details of the medical practitioner. The request should be submitted well in advance of the intended travel to allow for sufficient time for processing.
WHAT IS DEEMED AS A FULLY RECOVERED TRAVELLER?
A person who was infected with COVID-19 who has completed the required isolation and is no longer consider infectious is deemed fully recovered.
I TRAVEL FREQUENTLY TO AND FROM SOUTH AFRICA, DO I NEED TO GET A NEW PCR TEST RESULT EACH TIME I TRAVEL?
The test result of people who travel on more than one occasion within 14 days to and from South Africa remains valid for 14 days, but the test result that is presented on the first entry into South Africa must still be within 72 hours of sample collection.
I AM EXPERIENCING SYMPTOMS RELATED TO COVID-19 AFTER TRAVELLING TO SOUTH AFRICA, SHOULD I GET TESTED FOR COVID-19?
If you experience symptoms consistent with COVID-19, after arriving in South Africa you must contact a medical practitioner and inform them of your travel history.
IF I TRAVEL OUT OF THE COUNTRY, DO I STILL NEED TO UNDERGO TESTING AND DO I HAVE TO DO THE SAME WHEN I COME BACK?
On departure from South Africa, you must check the entry requirements for the country you are travelling to. The need to do a test before departure will depend on the protocols for the country you are visiting. When you return, you are expected to comply with South Africa’s entry requirements. For a list of where to get tested, visit Pathcare, Lancet and Ampath.
WHAT OTHER HEALTH MEASURES DO I NEED TO COMPLY WITH AS A TRAVELLER?
Travellers must comply with South African regulations put in place to contain the spread of COVID-19. Travellers are required to wear a face mask in indoor public spaces (masks are not required when outdoors), observe social distancing, and practice good hand hygiene by washing hands or using a hand sanitiser regularly.
For more information visit sacoronavirus.co.za