Health Alert: Update on Special Repatriation Flights – U.S. Embassy Pretoria, South Africa (May 20, 2020)

Health Alert: Update on Special Repatriation Flights– U.S. Embassy Pretoria, South Africa (May 20, 2020) 

Location: South Africa 

Event:  The South African Ministry of Health confirmed 17,200 cases of COVID-19 within its borders. 

Ethiopian Airlines Flight 

We have been notified by Ethiopian Airlines that there is an abundance of seats available on their special repatriation flight this Friday, May 22.  If you registered interest in this flight and we have submitted your names to DIRCO, we strongly urge you to take advantage of this opportunity if you desire to return to the United States.  Please contact Ethiopian Airlines directly immediately. 

If you have already booked a ticket for the May 22 Ethiopian Airlines flight, you should receive a travel letter and instructions for the required assembly point soon.  If you have not received this information by noon on Thursday, May 21, please email saevacuation@state.gov with your ticket confirmation.  Letters are sent individually so members of the same party may receive letters at different times.  Please wait until noon tomorrow to email us if you do not receive a letter.

For information regarding price details, payment methods, baggage allowances, and other specific questions, please contact Ethiopian Airlines directly.  For information on quarantining once you return to the United States, please see the regulations currently instituted at your destination.  We are unable to answer questions about individual localities’ specific regulations.

South African Airways Flight

We have no information on any future South African Airways flights.  We are not currently coordinating with SAA on a May 22 flight.

Qatar Airways Flights

We have been notified that Qatar Airways has limited availability for flights on May 26 and May 28 departing Johannesburg and arriving in Doha.  Please contact the airline to book a ticket or for further information about the flight, including costs and baggage allowance.  You will be responsible for booking onward travel from Doha and will not be permitted to enter Qatar due to COVID-19 related entry restrictions.

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 special repatriation flights will continue, nor can we guarantee that currently scheduled flights will depart as planned.  We have no information on when South African government lockdown restrictions will end or when commercial flights will resume.

To date, the U.S. Mission to South Africa has coordinated on eight repatriation flights with many airline and friendly mission partners since the government lockdown, returning over 1250 U.S. citizens, legal permanent residents, and visa holders to the United States.  We will continue to advertise any information we receive about special repatriation flights via STEP (sign up at step.state.gov).

Please see all past alerts at the U.S. Embassy website: https://za.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/security-and-travel-information//.

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.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 3 Travel Notice for South Africa.

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Operating Status:  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 visit our websites for additional information.

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