The South African High Commission (SAHC) in New Zealand has announced the launch of two South African Visa Application Centres in New Zealand – in Auckland and Wellington – which will be run by VFS Global.
This follows the outrage since the introduction of the visa last month, with New Zealand passport holders having to travel to Wellington HC to present in person.
Many of the people who have been affected are South African expats wishing to travel home to visit family and friends. They complained (even cancelled their holidays*) because of the time and cost in travelling to Wellington… and the chaos at the HC with phone calls and emails going unanswered.
The new SA visa application centres, which will hopefully make the process smoother, will go live Tuesday 14 February 2017, according to a press release from the SAHC.
From tomorrow, Kiwi applicants no longer need to travel to the High Commission in Wellington as these two new centres will be responsible for receiving all applications from 14 February 2017.
The SAHC says “the new VFS Global Visa Application Centres (VAC) will offer an easier, more accessible visa application process for applicants, with the help of an appointment-based system, easy fee collection, along with a secure dispatch system. Walk-ins will also be accommodated.”
The South African High Commission remains the sole authority for processing and issuing visas.
The news has been welcomed although many South Africans who wrote in to SAPeople pointed out that it is still not convenient for those who don’t live in Auckland or Wellington; that there is now an extra $86 service fee and that it would be far more convenient if the process were migrated to an online system, similar to how South African passport holders can apply online for a visa to New Zealand.
According to the press release, key features of the centre include:
- Conveniently located and easily accessible visa application centre
- Staff equipped to handle visa queries
- Dedicated website for easy access to information including visa categories, requirements, checklist and applicable fees
- 100% secure handling of passports, documents and personal information
- SMS tracking service
Auckland Visa Application Centre (VAC) Address & Details:
South Africa Visa Application Centre
Address: Regus Business Centre, Plaza Level, 41 Shortland Street, Auckland 101O Helpline: O9363 9616, o9363 9617 Email: info.sanzGvfshelpline.com
Hours: 08h30 to 15h00 (Monday – Friday)
Please see note below.
Wellington VAC Address & Details:
South Africa Visa Application Centre
Address: Regus Wellington, Plimmer Towers, Level 31 Plimmer Towers, 2-6 Gilmer Terrace, Wellington, 6O11 Helpline: o9363 9616, o9363 9617 Email: info.sanzGovfshelpline.com
Hours: 08h30 to 15h00 (Monday-Friday)
PLEASE NOTE: VFS Global will be responsible only for accepting applications for client missions. All applications submitted will continue to be assessed and processed by the respective client missions. Timelines for turnaround of visas are as per the discretion of the authorities.
The fees for this service are made up of the visa processing fee of NZ$95 together with the service fee of NZ$86 which will cost a total of NZ$181. Payments can be made by EFTPOS/Credit Card/Debit Card.
If you are on a New Zealand passport, living in Australia, and wish to visit South Africa – you should apply for your visa at the South African High Commission in Canberra. Likewise, those in other countries around the world can also submit their applications at the nearest South African Embassy, High Commission or local VFSVAC.
*Apart from being unable to afford the extra time to travel and the cost, some South Africans have had to cancel their holidays after discovering their children are South African citizens (after acquiring New Zealand citizenship whilst still minors) and therefore require a South African passport, by law, to enter and depart South Africa. Anyone with dual nationality must enter and leave SA on their SA passport.