October 27, 2021


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There are only eight ways to legally travel abroad

There are only eight ways to legally travel abroad

Although level 2 lockout regulations give us a wider range of freedoms, one of the biggest limitations that South Africans still face is travel abroad. For all intents and purposes, our borders are all closed. But there are some really notable exemptions for people who have to leave the country, in the event of a pandemic or otherwise.

International travel at level 2: When can I travel abroad?

Recently published international travel laws are divided into two parts: the first deals with closing our borders and emphasizes that only a select few people get automatic exemption from our international travel laws. Transport and freight workers, foreign and domestic sea crews and humanitarian operations are the only people allowed to enter and leave the country during level 2 without any special exemption:

“(1) During the national state of disaster, all the borders of the Republic must be closed, with the exception of the entry points designated by the member of the Cabinet in charge of internal affairs, for:

  • a) Transportation of fuel, cargo and goods [and the workers involved].
  • b) The entry of foreign or national sea crews for the purpose of the exchange of sea crews in the Republic.
  • c) Humanitarian operations and movement of personnel from diplomatic and international organizations.

No quick getaways allowed – but Motsoaledi can decide who will travel abroad

The second part examines the issues for which the Department of Home Affairs is responsible. Things like emergency medical situations or ongoing repatriation sagas will need to be chaired by Aaron Motsoaledi’s office.

It will be up to his department to grant the exemption for an individual or a group. Interestingly, people living in South Africa’s “border towns” can enter and exit the country at level 2 – provided they have the correct permits:

“(2) The member of the Cabinet in charge of internal affairs, or a person designated by him, may authorize the entry or exit of the Republic for:

  • a) Those seeking emergency medical attention for a life-threatening illness.
  • b) Evacuation of a South African national or permanent resident to the Republic.
  • c) Repatriation of a foreign national to his country of nationality or permanent residence.
  • (d) Any return of a South African national or a permanent resident to his place of work, study or residence, outside the Republic.
  • e) Daily commuters from neighboring countries who attend or teach in a school of the Republic and who are allowed to enter, leave and leave the Republic may also travel ”- * subject to several health protocols at level 2.

* – Health protocols mentioned included: regular screening for COVID-19 and quarantine or isolation if necessary, wearing a face mask, and sanitation and social distancing measures in accordance with health protocols relevant to the safety and prevention of the spread of COVID-19.


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