Archive from April, 2018

UK Ancestral Visa: 3 Common mistakes SA applicants make

UK Ancestral Visa: 3 Common mistakes SA applicants make
2018-04-10 19:00 – News 24
Cape Town – It seems more than ever that South African’s are wanting to explore and work in other countries. There has been an increase in popularity of South Africans heading to the United Kingdom – with the help of their ancestral visa.
Many South Africans hold ancestral roots with the United Kingdom – owing to a thriving expat community of about 200 00 South Africans living in the UK. If you’re wanting to join these up and coming individuals there are a number of things to consider.
Overall, the process of applying for an ancestral visa can appear daunting as you want to ensure that it is successful. While some might be concerned about the implications Brexit – since the decision to leave the EU has caused much uncertainty for immigrants within the UK – it does not directly impact South Africans in the UK or those locals wanting to visit on an ancestral visa.
Here’s what necessary and crucial information you need to know about – to make this process easier and to ensure a smooth application overall.
3 Common mistakes ancestral visa applicants make

SA’s British High Commissioner spokesperson, Isabel Potgieter has stressed that there are three common mistakes applicants make during or prior to initiating the process.
Firstly, it is important to understand and read the guidelines thoroughly and to fully understand the process and its requirements, advises Potgieter.
The situation of applying for a visa is not as straightforward as many would hope due to individual specific circumstances or conditions.
Secondly, applicants are strongly encouraged to understand their ancestral heritage/lineage to the countries needed specifically for the application to be considered. This means that one must check whether the grandparents was born in a country that is seen as applicable when applying for an ancestral visa to the UK. In many instances applicants are unaware of whether their lineage applies and how it does.
A third common mistake made is not obtaining the proper birth certificate information for the relevant grandparent – meaning it must be intact and valid.
It is crucial to adhere to the requirements and to thoroughly read the instructions – to ensure that your application has a strong chance of being accepted, states Potgieter.
Key information
Before you go ahead and book your ticket to whisk you away to the UK there are a few important factors you need to know. It is important that you are able to tick yes with these three requirements before you begin the process and check off on the complete list of eligibility requirements to get a UK ancestral visa.
Apply if:
1. Are a commonwealth citizen – you can find out if this is applicable to you here.
2. Able to prove that one of your grandparents was born in the UK
3. If you are able and planning on working in the UK
Cost:
Application cost: R8 444.45
There is a cost for the healthcare surcharge – this cost is either paid online or at premium service centre. You can calculate this online here.
When will I know?
Applications take three weeks to process.
Duration of validity:
Visa valid for 5 years.
When to apply:
You can apply three months before you travel.
Basic DOs and DONT’s
You can: Work, study and bring family members
You can’t: Switch to a UK visa if you are in the UK on another type of visa and you cannot get public funds.
There is a full list of eligibility that must be read and is a strict requirement of the application process. Even though you might have ticked some of the requirements mentioned above there is a more detailed list of requirements –
Are you eligible?
Here are the strict requirements:
1. 17 years +
2. Enough money to support yourself or dependents without public funding.
3. Able and plan on working in the UK
The question of ancestry is often misunderstood as each individual has different circumstances that cater to themselves. However, there are rigid rules as to whether you can be considered for an ancestral visa on the basis of your ancestry.
It is very important to take note of this and ensure that your ancestry is applicable.
Ancestral requirements
In order for one’s ancestry to apply you must prove that one of your grandparents were born under the following circumstances –
1. Have documented proof of birth in the UK, Isle of Man or Channel Islands – this proof must be produced in birth certificate form.
2. Have documented proof that they were born in the Republic of Ireland before 1922.
3. In the circumstances that they were on a British registered ship or aircraft
You can also claim for ancestry if either you or your parents have –
1. Been adopted
2. Were born within or outside of marriage in the UK.
It is important to know that ancestry cannot be applicable if applied through via step-parents or grandparents.
Documentation required
General application documents:
1. Proof of passport – it must be currently valid and have a single blank page for the visa.
2. Bank statements – proof of financial support.
3. Tuberculosis test results – test costs must be paid for independently and is applicable if you are entering the UK for 6 months +.
South Africans are considered on the list to conduct a tuberculosis test as a part of their application process. There are designated testing centres chosen by the British Commission across SA. It is a process that must be adhered to.
When taking the Tuberculosis test ensure that you take the following with you:
– Two passport photos
– Passport
– Proof of payment for Tuberculosis test
Ancestral documents:
1. Your full birth certificate.
2. Marriage certificate or civil partnership certificate if your partner wants to join you.
3. Full birth certificates of the parent or grandparent that your ancestry claim is based on.
4. Marriage certificates of either your parents or grandparents.
5. Legal adoption papers if you or your parents were adopted.
There is a more detailed list that one can review
Apply
The application process is carried out online.
Part of the application requires that biometric information – a photograph and finger prints be taken at the nearest visa application centre. They are located across South Africa and are known as The TSL contact centre in SA.
When applying online – follow this process:
1. Fill the application form out in English
2. Pay the visa fee – online
3. Print out the form
4. Ensure you have all the necessary documentation required
5. Visit the nearest Visa application centre.
There is an online site for applying for UK visas, Visa4UK.
Residency and visa extensions
The ancestral visa lasts 5 years and one can apply for residence once your ancestral visa validity has ended. This proves to benefit many South Africans because they can easily assume permanent residence in the UK upon the ending of their ancestral visa.
There is also the option to extend the ancestral visa for another 5 years and this application process can be carried out individually via post or through a premium service provider. A form can be downloaded
Cost: £993 (about R16 923 via post and £1 583 (about R26 979 at R1) in person and through a premium service provider.
Decision:
– postal applications are provided with a decision in 8 weeks
– in person applications will find out the same day if they have been successful
.

#AfriTravel: How Africa’s visa-free passport aims to boost tourism and trade

#AfriTravel: How Africa’s visa-free passport aims to boost tourism and trade
2018-04-13– News24
Town – South Africa and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have recently signed a visa waiver agreement for official and diplomatic passport holders.
Not only is this a step towards enhancing relations between South Africa and the DRC, but it also facilitates easy movement of officials between the two countries.
Although this only applies to the countries’ officials for now, it certainly is one step closer to achieving the much-anticipated “visa-free” Africa passport that the continent hopes will foster better relations and boost trade and economies
Striving towards attaining the visa-free Africa passport is one of the African Union’s Agenda 2063 main aims. According to Agenda 2063, one of its aspirations is to achieve “An integrated continent, politically united, based on the ideals of Pan Africanism and the vision of Africa’s Renaissance.”
However, in its International Migration White Paper, the South African Department of Home Affairs states, “Our obligations are to serve our people first; the people of the region and the member states of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) second; the people of Africa third; and the rest of the world last.”
Department of Home Affairs media spokesperson, David Hlabane, told Traveller24 that while the “Passport for Africa” is not yet in effect “all regions will start working towards that process” to reach the goal of a visa-free Africa passport.
He adds that while this process has begun, working “towards the integration from regional level” the process “needs to happen progressively, one step at a time.”
‘Each African region is working on breaking travel barriers’
So far, each African region is working on breaking travel barriers between countries within the region, in an attempt to slowly make travelling smoother across borders. Thereafter, Hlabane explains, the regions will work together to implement visa-free travel across the continent.
Hlabane told Traveller24 that in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region, countries “have to work together as members towards reaching that goal” explaining that “each member state needs to be ready for that movement”.
“With regards to diplomatic passports, all members [in the SADC region] have a waiver – except Angola and Madagascar – with South Africa,” he says.
“All countries need to be ready before we take his great leap,” he says, adding that South Africa, the region and the continent will benefit from the passport.
How will this affect South Africa?
Hlabane told Traveller24 that “in the interest of trade and development” the passport will facilitate free movement within the continent.
Facilitating trade – thereby encouraging and growing business opportunities – as well as boosting tourism within the continent are some of the ways the passport will benefit South Africa and other African countries, according to Hlabane.
“By attracting tourists we will address economic challenges, with more people flowing [into the country], offering better chances for growth,” he adds.
He says that members of SADC are also working together to “address issues of security” for those outside the region.
Here is the full list of African countries we can enter without visas:
Most SADC countries are accessible to us without a visa, as long as we’re going there for vacation. Any form of work – even volunteering – requires some form of a visa, so make 100% sure what the rules are beforehand.
Benin, Botswana, Gabon, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Saint Helena, Senegal, Seychelles, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
And then a few where we get a visa on arrival:
Cape Verde, Comores, Egypt, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Tanzania, Tongo, Tunisia and Uganda.

Warning: Your passport ‘expires’ three months before it expires!

Warning: Your passport ‘expires’ three months before it expires!
2018-04-12 News 24
Receiving your first passport is an exciting milestone! It means you’re finally set to add globetrotting explorer to your list of achievements.
But there are a number of finicky things about passports, any newbie traveller wouldn’t know about – for instance certain countries’ entry rules mean that your passport actually expires well before the date stipulated in your green mamba, as the South African passport is affectionately called.
Travelling has the ability to change our perception and gives us an adrenaline rush. It provides you with a thrill and excitement of jetting off into the unknown – but before we dive into the many opportunities our ‘green mamba’ can take us to, it’s important to be in the know about your South African passport application too.
For instance, did you know that in 2014 South Africa decided to do away with the temporary passports – meaning that unless it is an emergency you have to keep your expiring date in check.
With the country moving forward through digitisation and the introduction of the eHomeAffairs system, you can now apply online for ID’s and passports – a virtual and far more efficient experience!
And turn-around times have improved too, passports processing is done in 10 weeks, with home affairs updating you with sms notifications when ready for collection.
You can also apply for your passport through your nearest state-affiliated bank such as Absa – so the idea of standing in long lines are now,more often than not, a thing of the past.
Have you checked the passport validity window period for your destination?
Remarkably, South Africa allows for a narrow 30-day passport validity window. And while visas are granted on the nature of the visit, things can get tricky for a foreign visitor planning around a 90-day visa-on-arrival. If they stick to this 30-day window validity their passport would expire two months before their stay – so always double-check!
We’re slightly boggled by this window period and have contacted the department of home affairs to confirm but have yet to receive a response.
In the interim, if you’ve got your proposed trip diarised but you haven’t checked your passport validity – best you confirm that you have the required validity window period.
South Africans have the privilege of being granted visa-free access or visa on arrival to 92 countries
To help you along here are the basics on passport validity and visas upon entry for the top five.
1. Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is a really interesting destination for South Africans right now.
Visa required for South Africans?: 30 day e-visa.
Sri Lanka’s Passport validity period: 6 months from date of arrival.


2. Indonesia
Indonesia is known for its lush vegetation and exotic flavors, South Africans flock to Indonesia, with Bali being a hot favorite.
Visa required for South Africans?: 30 – day visa upon arrival, proof of return ticket, accommodation and sufficient funds.
Indonesia’s Passport validity period: 6 + months from date of arrival.
3. The Maldives
The Maldives can certainly be an affordable luxury holiday destination with an ultimate selection of beaches.
Visa required for South Africans?: No-cost 30 day visa upon arrival.
The Maldives passport validity period: Passport valid at time of entry.
4. Morocco
Morocco is known for its cascading architecture and eastern flavors. South Africans are visa- free unless the stay extends 90 days, requiring a visa application.
Visa required for South Africans?: None – over the 90 day period requires a visa application.
Morocco Passport validity period: Passport must be valid at time of entry.

5. Seychelles
Seychelles is visa- free for South Africans and requires passport validity for the duration of stay. It is the ideal place to disconnect and unwind.
Visa required for South Africans: Visitors permit upon arrival – proof of return ticket, accommodation and sufficient funds.
Syechelles’ passport validity period: Passport must be valid for duration of stay.

Visas 101: Everything you need to know about applying for a tourist visa

Visas 101: Everything you need to know about applying for a tourist visa
2018-04-11 – Tourism Update

As a South African with only a Green Mumba passport, you quickly realise that to visit many international destinations you have to go through the admin and documentation nightmare of applying for a visa.
Don’t worry, here’s your How To, basic guide to keep it simple and get your stared on your visa application.
And if it all gets too much, check out our map below of the many visa free countries us Saffa’s can enjoy. As of 1 April 20178 South African citizens had visa-free or visa on arrival access to 99 countries and territories.
Visa applications general requirements
Different consulates require varying documents, so please view the documents need for your application with the consulate you will be applying to and rather be over-prepared than underprepared. Examples of documents usually required are:
Passports & Visa photos
You will need your passport and a copy of it for your visa application. Check the current validity of your passport and ensure that the expiry date is at least 3 months after your return travel date and has a minimum of 2 or 3 blank pages left, for stamps upon your arrival and departure.
For your visa application passport photos, you will generally need two photos. Check the specific destination size and image requirements – eg: ears showing, not smiling, 50mm x 50mm etc.
Proof of funds & bookings
You need to prove, in most visa applications, that you have sufficient funds to support yourself while travelling. The exact monetary requirements differ from one country to another but you will in all cases need to supply 3 months’ worth of bank certified and stamped statements showing your available funds. Skip the bank queue though and get these certified statements direct. Capitec Banking App offers this feature to all clients and allows you to email your certified statements.
On most visa applications you will also have to indicate that you have accommodation and flights booked and some form of itinerary for your trip. The only consulate who does not require this is the USA, who suggests ‘applicants should obtain a visa before purchasing tickets or making irrevocable travel plans.’
You need to provide a copy of your return airfare tickets and also a confirmation of the address of your accommodation. There are two different ways to prove this depending on your accommodation type:
• If you are staying at the home or residence of a friend / family member, they need to send a letter with their address and their ID or Passport number and signature. It can be typed or hand written.
• If you are staying at a hotel, B&B etc, you can fill in the details in the section provided in the tourist visa form.
Other documents usually required
• Signed and completed tourist visa application form – these can be found on each consulates website for download on online submission.
• A letter from your employer stating that you are taking leave and that you will be returning to work after you return from your holiday.
• Letter from your health insurance company/ travel insurance documentation
These are just a few documents required and there may be more. Please read the visa requirements on your travel destinations applicable consulate website.

When should I apply for a visa?
There is no fixed answer to this particular question due to different time-frame policies of the embassies/consulates. However, it is recommended that you apply for a visa around six weeks to 60 days prior to your departure. Processing a visa can take anywhere from 3 days up to 21 days, depending on a variety of factors, so plan ahead and get your visa done in time. Applicants are free to apply up to 90 days prior to their date of travel.
Where do I apply?
This again varies from consulate to consulate. Most allow you to make the application online and then book your visa application appointment at your nearest consulate or affiliated visa processing company. For your appointment you will be required to submit biometric information (photographs and fingerprints). Your application will then be sent to the relevant embassy/consulate for processing.
Shengen visas can be the trickiest for some travellers as this visa covers 26 European countries. The rule of thumb is if you are visiting several Schengen Areas, you need to apply to the consulate of the member state where you first enter; or the member state where you will be staying the longest. For example: If you are travelling to Holland for 7 days and then France for 15 days, you would need to apply at the French Consulate for your Schengen Visa. However, if you were staying in Holland for 7 days and then going to France for 7 days, you would apply where you first landed and stayed, in this case the Dutch Consulate.
Non-refundable application fees
Keep in mind that if your visa application is unsuccessful, you won’t be refunded your application fee, so read the requirements carefully and submit everything needed the first time.
Don’t let a complicated list of documents prevent you from getting your visa. Keep it simple and work though the requirement.

Passport control

Passport control
DailyVoice / 13 April 2018, 09:00am / Genevieve Serra
A Pakistani national has opened a case with police after a fellow countryman allegedly stole R70 000 from him, after promising to get him a visa and passport for his brother.
Syed Jafry, 40, of Woodstock, admits he tried to smokkel his brother into Cape Town through a contact.
But the businessman says after hassling his contact to get his money back, the man started sending him death threats.
He now wants to lift the lid on a “syndicate” who scammed him out of R70k, after his brother was blocked in Qatar, in transit, by officials who spotted the fake documents.
Syed says the man, whose name is known to the Daily Voice, was supposed to “secure” him a visa, passport and working permit for his brother, Arslan Jafry, who is still living in Pakistan.
Syed has been living in Cape Town for 12 years and owns a cellphone repair shop in the CBD.
He says he received the travel documents from the man last year, and sent them on to his brother in Pakistan.
But when his brother showed the papers to officials in Qatar, they said the documents were fake and sent him packing back to Pakistan.
Syed claims his contact is part of a syndicate making fake documents and selling them to foreign nationals at steep prices.
Following more death threats, he laid a charge against the man in March.
He says the man is a business partner of his friend.
“They buy cars from the auction and sell it again,” he explains.
“He said he helps people with visas, passports, birth certificates and working visas. The documents would even have the stamps on it.
“I paid him R70 000 because my brother, Arslan, was coming from Pakistan and needed the documents to work here. I wanted a visa, passport and a working visa.
“But when my brother came to Qatar, they said his working visa was fake and he had to pay a penalty over there and was sent back to Pakistan.
He says after insisting that he pay him back, the man started threatening him.
“He said he would kill me and my children,” the father of three says.
Syed says he then reported the matter to police and Home Affairs.
“I believe this person has contacts in Home Affairs who helps to make fraudulent documents,” he adds.
Police spokesperson, Sergeant Noloyiso Rwexana, confirms: “A theft case was opened on 27 March by the Athlone police and it is still under investigation with no arrest at this stage.”
The Department of Home Affairs did not respond to queries.
The Daily Voice attempted to contact the alleged scammer on the number provided, but he did not take the calls and did not respond to messages.

Zimbabwe: South Africa Approaches Minister Mpofu

Zimbabwe: South Africa Approaches Minister Mpofu
4 April 2018 – The Herald (Harare)
South Africa’s Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba has approached Government to discuss immigration issues. Home Affairs and Culture Minister Dr Obert Mpofu confirmed the discussion with his South African counterpart. He, however, noted that further discussions, which have been delayed due to the Easter Holidays, will be held in due course.
“I was contacted by South Africa’s Home Affairs Minister Gigaba just a few days ago. But because of the holidays I have not managed to talk to him. But I will call him when I get back to the office,” said Dr Mpofu.
“I am sure he would want us to talk about Zimbabweans that are in South Africa and the attitude of some of the immigration officers at the border posts, especially at Beitbridge where Zimbabweans have been subjected to unfair treatment by the South Africans.”
The imminent meeting between the two follows complaints by travellers over the ill-treatment they receive at the hands of South Africa’s immigration officials.
Last month, an immigration officer and her three supervisors were suspended after a viral video of her on social media sparked outrage.
The alleged harassment of travellers prompted Minister Gigaba to visit the South African side of the Beitbridge Border Post, where he uncovered security breaches by SA immigration officials.
The security breach could have led to some individuals entering and exiting the neighbouring country without being accounted for.
Dr Mpofu said the country will also assess whether travellers are not being harassed at the entry and exit point or not.
“We also want to check on our side if travellers are not subjected to harassment and certain influences which impede free movement of people,” he said.

100 injured in major student protests in Bangladesh

100 injured in major student protests in Bangladesh
09 Apr 2018 – The Peninsula
Dhaka: Thousands of students across Bangladesh staged protests and sit-ins Monday after clashes at the country’s top university left at least 100 people injured.
Police fired rubber bullets and tear gas at Dhaka University students fighting what they consider “discriminatory” government job quotas in favour of special groups.
It was one of the biggest protests faced by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in her decade in power.
A minister was due to meet protest leaders in Dhaka on Monday.
But students at state-run universities in Chittagong, Khulna, Rajshahi, Barisal, Rangpur, Sylhet and Savar boycotted classes and staged sit-ins, police and media said.
“More than 1,000 students joined the demonstrations at Jahangirnagar University,” said Ataur Rahman, a protester in Savar where the university is located.
The clashes, which began Sunday night and went into the early hours of Monday, turned Dhaka University into a battleground.
Copycat protests soon started in other major cities as thousands of students boycotted classes and staged sit-ins.
Organisers in Dhaka said they were holding peaceful protests when police started firing tear gas and rubber bullets. They used batons and water cannon to clear a central square.
As violence spread across the campus, thousands of male and female students launched into pitched battles with police.
“More than 100 people were injured,” police inspector Bacchu Mia told AFP, adding they were treated in hospital but their condition was not serious.
Protesters threw rocks, vandalised the home of the Dhaka University vice-chancellor, torched two cars and ransacked the fine arts institute, said senior police officer Azimul Haque.
Fifteen people were detained, police said.
The students are angry at the government’s decision to set aside 56 percent of civil service jobs for the families of veterans from the 1971 war of independence and for disadvantaged minorities. That leaves most university graduates to fight for only 44 percent of the jobs.
Hasan Al Mamun, a leader of the protests, said tens of thousands of students joined the demonstrations nationwide. Police declined to estimate the number.
Al Mamun said the quota for top-grade jobs should be reduced to only 10 percent.
“These quotas are discriminatory. Due to the quota system, 56 percent of the jobs are set aside for five percent of the country’s population. And 95 percent of the people can compete for the 44 percent,” he said.
Students are particularly upset at the 30 percent quota set aside for descendants of veterans of the independence war.
Sheikh Hasina, whose father was the architect of the country’s independence from Pakistan, has rejected demands to slash the quotas.

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