On 30 March 2017, the Protocol between the government of the Russian Federation and the government of the South African Republic on mutual cancellation of visa requirements for owners of foreign passports (the Protocol) came into force.

Recent developments

According to the Protocol, citizens of the Russian Federation having a valid foreign travel passport can enter, stay in or transit through the territory of the South African Republic without a visa for a term of up to 90 days. Similarly, visa requirements will be annulled for citizens of the South African Republic entering the Russian Federation.

Importantly, the cancellation of visa requirements does not apply to citizens of the Russian Federation and the South African Republic entering another member state of the Protocol for work, study in educational institutions or permanent residence.

Accordingly, citizens of the Russian Federation and the South African Republic intending to work, study in educational institutions or permanently reside in another member state must obtain the visa of relevant type according to the rules established by the member state’s legislation.

Under the Protocol, in extraordinary cases the term of non-visa stay of citizens of the Russian Federation and the South African Republic on the territory of another member state can be extended.

Consequences for employers

The Protocol does not abolish the need to obtain work visas for citizens of the South African Republic entering the territory of the Russian Federation for work purposes. However, short-term trips (of up to 90 days) for a business purpose of the nationals from the South African Republic are possible without getting a visa.