SAA is offering repatriation flights in coming days.
  • While SA is still discouraging non-essential travel to high-risk countries, citizens who have to return to work, to study or to their residence abroad can fly overseas.
  • They have to get clearance from the department of home affairs first.
  • SAA is advertising flights to Brazil, Argentina and Washington.
  • For more article, go to

South Africans can fly overseas to return to their place of work, to study, or to go to their residence abroad - but there are strict rules about getting clearance.

According to new government regulations, published on Wednesday, South Africans can travel overseas on “international flights permitted for evacuation and repatriation” if they are travelling to “his or her place of employment, study or residence outside of the Republic”.

However, the regulations state that government is still discouraging non-essential travel to “high risk countries” – which according to the last available list are Italy, Iran, South Korea, Spain, Germany, US and the UK.

SAA has a list of repatriation flights scheduled for coming days. This weekend, flights to Buenos Aires and Sao Paolo are available from R15,5000 one-way from Johannesburg. There are also tickets (starting from R35,000) on flights from Joburg to Washington, and from R40,000, from Cape Town to Washington. SAA destinations scheduled for next week include Hanoi and Bangkok, departing from Joburg (from around R15,000).

The new regulations stipulate that prospective SA travellers have to get travel permission from the Department of Home Affairs first. To get this, they must provide the DHA with the following (at least five working days ahead of the intended date of travel):

  • a copy of your valid South African passport;
  • a letter confirming that you have a valid visa or permit, issued by the country where you are heading;
  • if you are transiting through another country, proof of permission to transit through that; and
  • proof of the ticket, and the intended date of departure,

SAA will refund your ticket if your application is not approved by the DHA -  or if you show symptoms of Covid-19 on the day of departure.

While SAA is selling business class tickets (from around R51,000 for the flights to the US), the airline warned that this won’t include  “any business class service or amenities”. You will however get a reclining, "flat" seat.

Travellers need to bring their own face mask and hand sanitiser.

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