There is a little bit of good news on the South Africa Film Visa requirement front. Contact Film Fixers for a more comprehensive update on the implications this will have on film visas and permits for film and TV production in South Africa.
One of the strong points about South Africa was the ability for foreign nationals to film their projects in South Africa with relative ease. The Film Industry Visa Assistance programme was established as a partnership between the broader production industry in South Africa and the Department of Home Affairs post-2014, primarily to ensure that the newly implemented South Africa Film Visa regulations would not compromise this – primarily by reducing the workload of officials managing the system. The result was the formation of a body – FIVA – that would allow seamless online interaction with the Ministry – effectively an online booking system where legitimate South African Production companies – of which Film Fixers is one – are able to register and can apply for the required Letters of Authorization from this structure, and at the same time reducing the workload at government level when actually applying for their South Africa film visa. The relationship is ongoing, with constant engagement to further streamline the process – primarily in recognition of the need to grow this sector of the economy.
We are pleased to announce however that FIVA have successfully negotiated the following further concessions for foreign production companies:
1. Wording on the South Africa Film Visa
Where the current South Africa film visa is issued with the name of the specific company who applied, in future the Embassies have been instructed that should an applicant present a FIVA letter, the visa will be issued to read “To work in the Film Industry as [job description] ” as opposed to “To work for company X”. This concession in effect means that all applicants who are traveling on a visa will be able to work for various companies and not only the company who initially applied for the visa.
NOTE : This concession will NOT apply to models – all Models will be bound to the company they applied to work for.
The condition here is that such applicants MUST apply for a FIVA letter each time they enter the Country in order for us to be able to account for their whereabouts to the Department. The company who brings them in is thus still responsible for their travel and this responsibility will not lie with the company who brought them in the first time for the full period.
2. Frequent Travelers such as Director, DOP & Photographers
We had hoped that the department would allow us to transfer Director, DOP & Photographer to the “Oversight” list if from visa exempt countries – this however was not agreed upon as the department would then be in direct contravention of their own laws. The above concession, however, means that the majority of challenges surrounding getting these frequent travelers into the country will be resolved. In essence a director can apply for a three year visa, and obtain it in 5 working days and then work for any company and come in and out as many times as he likes for three years – as long as they get a letter from FIVA each time they enter, after they have received the South Africa film visa.
3. Turnaround times for Visas
Whilst the agreement was a turnaround of 5 working days, many embassies take up to 30 working days to process the visas. Going forward these South Africa film visas will be processed within 5 working days or in extreme cases 10 days.
4. Discrepancies with wording on the LOA
Some of you might have noticed that there is a discrepancy between the waivers on the directive and the wording on the letter. The department has agreed that we may change the working on our letters to resolve this confusion.
5. Extensions at VFS in Cape Town
Currently the VFS in Cape Town only accepts application for extensions if the visa is valid for 60 days or more. Additionally the VFS has insisted on medical and radiology reports for extension of visas. This concession ensures that you can apply for an extension to your visa at any point as long as your visa is still valid. (we would still advise however to allow enough time. This concession also removes the need to present medical and radiology reports when applying for an extension to a South Africa film visa.
6. DHA84 Form
Currently the requirement is that people coming in on “Oversight” from visa exempt countries need to complete and present the DHA 84 form at port of entry, even though they are in essence only receiving visitors visas. The Department has agreed that in fact these travelers do NOT need to complete and present the DHA 84 form going forward, please note that everyone else including “oversight” travelers from visa non exempt countries still need to complete and present the DHA 84 form at the Embassy/ VFS/ Mission.
Oversight travelers from Visa exempt Countries only need to present the following at port of entry:
– The Fiva letter printed in colour
– Valid Passport (must be valid for 30 days after intended return – MUST have 2 blank pages marked “visa”)
– Flight itinerary – confirmed reservations
– Yellow fever certificate where applicable
Please contact Film Fixers for more information regarding South Africa Film Visas and Film Permits as well as other Southern African countries.