Travel restrictions

Update on travel restrictions for South Africa in early 2022


Germany and the United States have relaxed some travel restrictions in South Africa, as global concerns about the Omicron variant continue to ease.

In one proclamation Released in late December, US President Joe Biden said health officials have made substantial progress in evaluating the Omicron variant since its discovery in late November.

He added that there is clear evidence that people who have been vaccinated will have significantly higher protection against hospitalization and death.

Explaining his decision to ease the restrictions, Biden said the variant has now spread to more than 100 countries – making travel restrictions less viable – and that the United States has introduced new testing rules for them. travelers to make travel safer.

In a separate noteGermany has said it will ease restrictions on South African travelers from Tuesday, Jan.4, as it no longer sees it as a variant of concern.

This implies that most of the major travel restrictions have been lifted, he said. However, he noted that South Africa is still considered high risk for travelers and that some entry restrictions will remain in place.

Current restrictions

Despite these relaxed restrictions and a drop in local Omicron cases, South Africa still faces various travel bans in early 2022.

A mapping tool developed by the travel site Skyscanner shows that as of January 4, South Africa had put in place 92 “major restrictions” from other countries. This is an increase from around 60 significant restrictions in mid-2021. These countries have suspended travel, may be closed to entry or entry is only possible if you are a citizen / meet strict entry requirements.

Skyscanner data shows that there are currently 24 moderate restrictions for South Africa, where travel is possible, but only if travelers meet specific entry requirements, including passing Covid-19 tests and putting in quarantine.

Some of the key areas to know include:

Australia – Australia lifted part of its travel ban on South Africa in mid-December as part of the general reopening of borders for the first time since the start of the pandemic. However, this mainly applies to Australian citizens, and significant restrictions remain in place, including a blockade of international travelers, as well as mandatory quarantine and testing.

New Zealand – As with Australia, international travel to New Zealand is only permitted for “essential reasons”. This does not apply to nationals and residents. Travelers are also required to present a valid international certificate for a full vaccination against Covid-19, with the use of an approved vaccine. The final dose should have been administered at least 14 days before travel. Vaccine requirements do not apply to New Zealand citizens.

Great Britain – The UK was the first country to reinstate a travel ban on South Africa after the discovery of the Omicron variant, but then relaxed restrictions in mid-December as the variant quickly spread across the world . Some quarantine and testing requirements remain in place.

The European Union – While the news that Germany has eased restrictions will be welcome, large parts of the EU continue to have travel bans to South Africa. France for example, has placed South Africa on its scarlet list, and almost all countries in the Union require some form of testing and quarantine for entry.

United States – Biden administration relaxed restrictions on travelers at the end of December, but certain entry conditions remain in place. International air travelers to the United States from all countries, regardless of nationality or vaccination status, must take a Covid-19 test within one day of departure and show a negative test result before boarding on a flight to the country. Non-nationals traveling to the United States must be fully immunized, with limited exceptions.


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