COVID-19 Information (Updated July 27, 2020 | 15:00 SAST)

Country-Specific Information

The South African Ministry of Health has confirmed 459,761
cases of COVID-19 within its borders. 

If you are an American citizen in South Africa desiring more information on prospective travel to the United States, please ensure you are enrolled in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) at for the most current information affecting U.S. citizens in South Africa.  The U.S. Mission to South Africa’s American Citizen Services will push any updates to the public by email through STEP, which is the U.S. Department of State’s central platform for mass email communication. Even if you have previously emailed the U.S. Mission about yourself or members of your family to, you must be enrolled in STEP to receive updates and alerts. 

Additionally, all of the U.S. Mission’s STEP messages can be read on the U.S. Embassy to Pretoria website HERE:  

U.S. Mission Repatriation Efforts

If you would like to depart South Africa, we highly recommend you avail yourself of any available opportunity, even if it is not your desired flight route.  We cannot guarantee frequency of special repatriation, nor can we guarantee that previously scheduled commercial flights will depart as planned.  We do not have further information about when regular international commercial flights will resume.
To date, over 40 repatriation flights have departed to the United States in coordination with airlines and friendly mission partners since the government lockdown, returning over 2000 U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, and visa holders to the United States.  For questions about other potential upcoming repatriation opportunities, please contact the airlines directly for details.

Consular Services

The U.S. Mission’s routine American Citizen Services as well as immigrant and non-immigrant visa services are closed during the South African government’s declared lockdown. 

American Citizen Services: Should you require emergency American citizen services at your nearest U.S. Consulate in South Africa, please write or call using THIS contact information 

Visa Services: The United States Embassy and Consulates in South Africa remain unable to resume routine immigrant and non-immigrant visa services at this time. We will resume routine visa services as soon as possible but are unable to provide a specific date. The MRV fee is valid and may be used to schedule an interview appointment in the country where it was purchased within one year of the date of payment. If you have an urgent matter and need to travel immediately, please follow the guidance provided by our Visa Appointment Service  or call our call center at +27 (0) 87 550 2160 to request an emergency appointment.

Applicants for H1B, H2B, H4, L and certain J categories covered by Presidential Proclamation 10052 should request an appointment only if you have reason to believe you may qualify for one of the exceptions listed in the Proclamation.


The government of South Africa lowered the lockdown alert level for South Africa to level 3 on June 1, 2020. However, some areas, designated as “coronavirus hotspots” may have a “differentiated approach.”  For the time being, the government has identified these areas as hotspots: Tshwane (including Pretoria), Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni, Ethekwini (including Durban), Nelson Mandela Bay (including Port Elizabeth), Buffalo City, and Cape Town The government also announced that, if necessary, hotspots could return to alert levels 4 or 5 if the spread of infection is not contained.

Five stages of Lockdown

Travel to South Africa

Per the lockdown, all airports in South Africa are closed to commercial traffic.  Additionally, as of March 28, U.S. citizens are not currently eligible for the “visa on arrival” option, and any visas issued to U.S. citizens prior to the lockdown have been revoked.  Once commercial flights resume, please do not plan travel to South Africa until you speak to the nearest South African Embassy or Consulate in the United States to determine current entry restrictions.  We have no information on when commercial flights will resume, or if visa restrictions will be lifted.  

If you are a U.S. citizen in South Africa and your visa is expiring, please see the Department of Home Affairs announcement regarding measures put in place to address these concerns.  We are unable to answer questions about visa extensions or when DHA will reopen

Effective March 26, 2020, U.S. Consulates General Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Durban have suspended routine consular services. For emergency American Citizens Services, including emergency passports, please consult our American Citizen Services.

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