Official site of the South African Embassy in Washington DC

Welcome to
South Africa

Thank you for visiting our official website, we hope you will find the information useful, whether you are planning to visit South Africa or are interested in remaining current with the activities of the South African Embassy in Washington, DC. The Mission is committed to inculcating the spirit of Ubuntu and the “Batho Pele” (People First) principles, in the provision of its services; which is reflective of our country’s values of putting humanity central to all that we do. South Africa is open for business and continues to provide a wealth of opportunities for those looking at investing in an emerging market that boosts a stable democracy, incredible infrastructure and world class financial systems.

We remain a premier destination for tourism and always welcome an opportunity to welcome you to our country of beautiful scenery, wildlife, beaches and amazing climate. What is more important however is that you will meet culturally diverse South Africans, waiting to welcome you to our rainbow nation!

Should you need more information, I encourage you to reach out to me and my team through our provided contact details, which you will find on this website.

Ambassador Nomaindiya Mfeketo
South African Embassy in the United States of America

Level 1 lockdown: South Africans travelling home

  • South African citizens and holders of foreign passports will now be able to depart for SA without their SA citizenship and residence status being pre-verified by missions/DIRCO with the DHA/ Natjoints;
  • South African missions will no longer be required to issue the so-called Letters of Passage to persons travelling to SA and airlines should also no longer require such letters upon boarding;
  • DIRCO and missions will no longer assist SA nationals to be find and book flights to SA. There are no longer any dedicated COVID 19 repatriation flights to SA. Travellers should book themselves on available commercial flights as before or make other private arrangements for travel;
  • All persons entering SA should be in possession of the required negative COVID 19 Test Results not older than 72 hours and subject themselves to whatever screening-  and health related requirements are in place in SA at the time of arrival;

Ambassador’s Heritage Day Message

Dear Fellow South Africans,

Heritage Day is a time for us to reflect on our roots, diversity and rich history. It is a day in which we celebrate the various layers and cultures that make-up the fabric of South Africa’s identity.

This year we celebrate Heritage Day under the theme, “Celebrating South Africa’s living human treasures.” This is a theme which reminds us that amongst us we have an abundance of wealth through the women and men who carry knowledge about our deep histories, stories, music, food, medicines, technologies and practices – these are the custodians of our indigenous knowledge systems and ways of life.

Under this theme we are called to recognize these custodians and to value their contributions to our society. In addition to this, therein lies a challenge to preserve indigenous knowledge, pass it along to future generations and elevate its place within our society.

We must remember that we have not always been free to celebrate our diversity since our previous social structures under colonialism and apartheid marginalized the identities, cultures and histories of the people of colour in South Africa. It has been a long and hard journey to reach this pivotal moment and even so, much work still needs to be done to hoist our cultures to their proper place and recognition in South Africa and the world.

Heritage Day and all our national holidays are also tools which we use to foster social-cohesion and extend South Africa’s nation-building project. Through the joint celebration of these days we should be able to look beyond the physical markers that distinguish us and converge on our common experience of being South African!

We celebrate Heritage Day this year still in the context of the global health pandemic, COVID-19, which has disrupted life as we know it and impacted many families due to the loss of loved ones and/ or the economic hardship of income disruption and loss. In our celebrations let us also extend compassion, assistance and support to these members of our community with Ubuntu. These are indeed tough times but we also know that the South African spirit is resilient and unconquerable.  

Finally, we invite all South Africans to #FlyTheFlag wherever you are and take part in the President’s challenge to remember our joy in dance by partaking in the #JerusalemaDanceChallenge. So gather up your family and friends, take a picture of yourselves holding the South African flag or a video of you doing the dance and tag us on our social media platforms.

Happy Heritage Day South Africa, may the beauty of our colourful and rich cultures always ignite a sense of pride within you! Enjoy today and remember to stay safe!

Watch the video here: Heritage Day Message


September is Heritage Month

On 24 September, South Africans celebrate the rich heritage, diversity and history of the many cultures that make up the population of South Africa. 

Whilst Heritage Day is celebrated on 24 September, the whole of September is commemorated as Heritage Month and South Africans across the country and diaspora commemorate this occasion through partaking in various recreational activities highlighting cultural tradition, oral history, performance, art, and indigenous knowledge systems.

This year #HeritageMonth will be celebrated under the theme: “Celebrating South Africa’s living human treasures”. In celebrating our living human treasures, we honor the bearers of our indigenous knowledge systems whilst also preserving and highlighting the importance of these systems within our society.

Minister of Arts and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa, launched  the 2020 Heritage Month campaign under the theme, “Celebrating South Africa’s living human treasures”.  


Here's the

From the Desk of the President

Monday, 26 October 2020 

In a country where the vast majority do not have access to private cars, the provision of efficient, reliable, safe and affordable public transport is critical to our people’s everyday lives.

Read here:


Media Statement

South Africa’s Message of Condolence on the passing of US Congressman and Civil Rights Activist, John Lewis

18 July 2020

The Government of South Africa has learned with great sadness about the death of US Congressman and renowned Civil Rights Activist, Mr John Lewis.

On behalf of President Cyril Ramaphosa and the people of South Africa, Minister Pandor expresses condolences to the family and friends of Mr Lewis.

Minister Pandor said Mr Lewis leaves behind him a proud legacy of activism and will forever be remembered for his brave and steadfast fight for equality, justice and dignity for African Americans in the United States and black people everywhere.

Mr Lewis was a Freedom fighter in the United States in the 1960s, at a time when those active in the struggle against racism and for equality were met with violence. In 1965 he led a March for voting rights in Selma, Alabama where he was brutally assaulted by police.

Mr Lewis’ distinguished service to the American people as a Congressman for over thirty years and his unflinching commitment to justice for all has cemented his place as one of the greatest civil rights icons of our time.

Mr Lewis paved the road for African Americans into mainstream politics and former President Obama has stated that his ascendency to being the first African American President would not have been possible if it was not for the activism of Mr Lewis. Mr Lewis contributions to the struggle for human rights was formally recognised when former President Obama awarded Mr Lewis with the United States’ highest civilian honour, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

As a young activist, Mr Lewis identified deeply with the struggles of the African people against colonialism and later with the anti-Apartheid struggle in South Africa. He had the honour of being the first black American to meet former President Nelson Mandela after his release from prison. Mr Lewis sponsored a resolution in the United States Congress in 2018, to mark the 100th birthday of former President Nelson Mandela.

His formidable contributions leaves a legacy that will continue to inspire activists and politicians committed to the ongoing struggle for justice, human rights, dignity and equality for Americans and people in the diaspora.


Mr Clayson Monyela
Spokesperson for DIRCO
082 884 5974


OR Tambo Building
460 Soutpansberg Road

Media Statement

South Africa’s Statement regarding protests in America following the death of Mr George Floyd

02 June 2020

The Government of the Republic of South Africa has observed the protests in the United States of America, following the tragic death of Mr George Floyd.

On behalf of President Cyril Ramaphosa and the people of South Africa, Minister Pandor expresses condolences to the family and friends of Mr George Floyd.

Minister Pandor said: “The violence that has characterised some of the protests seriously detracts from drawing international awareness to the legitimate concerns about violence against defenceless black people and other minorities in America.”

South Africa calls on all in America, especially the security forces to exercise maximum restraint in responding to the anger and frustration felt by many of its citizens’ friends and international partners.

The regrettable death of Mr Floyd presents the USA with an opportunity to address fundamental issues of human rights such as freedom dignity and equality.

Minister Pandor said: “Just as the people of America supported South Africa in its legitimate struggle against apartheid, South Africa too supports the clarion calls for practical action to address the inadequacies highlighted by protesters, civil society and human rights organisations.

“Recalling the steps post-apartheid South Africa bravely undertook as part of its new constitutional dispensation we are convinced that America – a beacon of freedom for many worldwide – has the ability to directly focus on healing and peace and achieve an outcome that prioritises respect for and promotion of fundamental freedoms for all Americans”, Minister Pandor added.

South Africa calls on all leaders to work together to end violence and to develop a set of measures that would serve to end the insecurity and harm experienced by many members of the African American community.


Mr Clayson Monyela
Spokesperson for DIRCO
082 884 5974


OR Tambo Building
460 Soutpansberg Road


The Embassy of South Africa in Washington, DC is proud to have assisted nearly one thousand South Africans to return home on our repatriation flights.

Briefing statement on the re-opening of the borders and ports of entry for international travelers

Fellow South Africans, esteemed travelers and visitors to our beloved country and members of the media, thank you for allowing us, the Ministers tasked with immigration, tourism, health, transport and international relations and cooperation the opportunity to come before you to explain and to give necessary clarifications on how the South African borders will be reopened for international travel from 1 October 2020.

We are also here to explain the requirements that the travelers will be expected to abide by as they visit our country.

On 15 March 2020 President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the National State of Disaster in terms of the Disaster Management Act.  In his address President Ramaphosa announced that government was taking urgent and drastic measures to manage the spread of COVID-19 infections, protect the people of this country and reduce the impact of the virus on the society and the economy.

One of the measures announced by the President entailed the introduction of restrictions on international travel and the closing of borders and ports of entries until the COVID-19 infection rates were reduced into manageable levels. On 20th September 2020, President Ramaphosa announced that the country was moving to Alert Level 1 of the Risk Adjusted Approach. Under Alert Level 1, the country eased some of the stringent restrictions which were imposed on citizens under lockdown. 

He further announced that on 1 October 2020 South African borders will be opened for business and leisure travel for international traveler’s subject to a number of restrictions for travelers. These restrictions included that all travelers visiting the country will be expected to abide by the regulations which include mandatory wearing of masks at all times, practising social distancing in public spaces, regular washing or sanitizing of hands and presenting a negative COVID-19 test result not older than 72 hours from the time of departure.

Easing of travel restrictions

As a country we have adopted a gradual reopening of borders and ports of entry for international travel for business, leisure and other travel guided by the communique published by the Word Health Organisation (WHO) on Public Health on considerations for international travel on 30 July 2020.  The gradual reopening of borders and ports of entry informed by a cautious approach means that a limited number of ports of entry and borders will be opened from 1 October 2020. In reopening these selected ports of entry and borders we will be guided by epidemiological and transmission rates both in South Africa and the traveler’s countries of origin.

As Government we will constantly monitor the transmission rates both in the country and the countries of origin and respond accordingly.

In the past month, the country’s health care capacity has significantly improved to treat those infected with the COVID-19 virus. To date the country has conducted over 4 million COVID-19 tests in both public and private health care facilities.  Furthermore, the recovery rate is currently at 90 percent and the numbers of those infected with the virus is drastically reducing at an encouraging rate.

Due to the sacrifices made, the cooperation and determination of many South Africans we can now confidently declare that the country now has sufficient hospital capacity, including beds, ICU space and ventilators.

We can confidently say that the country is in a position to manage the number of infections and to provide adequate medical care and treatment for those who present COVID-19 symptoms.  These response measures and the cooperation of the South African has been made possible for us to decide to re-open our borders for international travelers and visitors.

The country has also put measures in place to mitigate the risk of resurgence or a second wave of the spread of the virus by improving its contact tracing and isolation measures. One of the ground-breaking innovations that has been introduced is the COVID-Alert APP which alerts subscribers and provides relevant information if they have been in contact with any person who has tested positive for the virus.  The APP helps to minimize the risk of spreading the virus.

All these measures have put the country at the cutting edge of managing the spread of the virus. We encourage the international travelers who intend to visit the country to download the APP so that they are able to monitor and minimise their risk of exposure to the COVID-19 virus.

Travelers intending to visit the country will be expected to produce a PCR  (polymerase chain reaction) test that is not older than 72 hours from the time of departure from the country of origin to South Africa. This test must be conducted by a certified medical practitioner and should have the name and signature of the practitioner who conducted such test.

Upon arrival in the port of entry, the traveler will be screened for any COVID-19 symptoms or for contact with people who have been infected with the COVID-19 virus.

Travelers will also need to provide proof of accommodation address should they need to  self-quarantine at the time of arrival in the country.

Should the traveler display any COVID-19–related symptoms or been in contact with an infected person(s), they will be expected to take a mandatory COVID-19 test.  This test will be at the traveler’s cost.  If the COVID-19 test comes back positive, the traveler will be subjected to a 10 day quarantine at a designated site.  The accommodation at a quarantine site will be at the traveler’s cost.

South Africa has developed a risk categorisation model for different international travelers. This model classifies international travelers according to a scale of high, medium and low risk.  High risk travelers are those who come from countries with higher numbers of COVID-19 infections and reported deaths compared to South Africa.

Medium risk travelers are from countries with relatively equal number of infections and death toll to South Africa and low risk travelers obviously originate from countries with lesser number of infections of COVID-19 and death toll than South Africa.

Leisure Travelers from high risk countries will not be permitted.

The exception will be business travelers with scarce and critical skills including diplomats, repatriated persons, investors and people participating in professional sporting and cultural events will undergo the same health protocol screenings.

If the passport of the traveler from a high risk country indicates that he/she has spent 10 days or more in a low risk country before departure, he/she will be considered to be arriving from a low risk country.

Travelers from medium and low risk countries will only be allowed into the country subject to the prevailing visa requirements.

Airlines from high risk countries are not necessarily banned, but their crew will be required to isolate in facilities at designated accommodation at the cost of their employer.

Long term visa holders who visit the country for business purposes will be allowed to travel to South Africa. These travelers will also be subject to health screenings for COVID-19 symptoms at the port of entry.

In the interest of all citizens, and the continuing public health efforts, South Africa reserves the right to deny entry of any traveler who is travelling from a high risk country for tourism purposes.

Re-opening of airports for travel by air   

Three airports will be opened and operational for international air travel.  These airports are OR Tambo International (in Johannesburg, Gauteng), Cape Town International (in Cape Town, Western Cape) and King Shaka International in (Durban, KwaZulu-Natal). All travelers landing at these airports must present a PCR test which is not older than 72 hours from the time of departure from the country of origin to South Africa.  Furthermore, the international travelers should possess a mandatory travel insurance which is supposed to cover the COVID-19 test and quarantine costs.   All these travelers will be subjected to COVID-19 screening on arrival.  Those who present COVID-19 symptoms which include elevated body temperatures and flu-like symptoms, will be required to take a COVID-19 test which should be covered by the travel insurance. Should the test results come back positive, the traveler will be subjected to mandatory quarantine, which will also be paid for by the traveler or the travel insurance.

Travelers from African Countries

To facilitate free movements of people, goods and services from South Africa, SADC and the African continent, travelers from the neighbouring countries are allowed to visit our country.

Travelers from all African countries are allowed and must possess relevant travel documents, and will also be screened for COVID-19 symptoms.

To allow ease of travel from the African countries, 18 borders will be opened. 35 border posts will continue to offer restricted services due to insufficient capacity for screening, testing and quarantine. Travelers who present themselves at borders which are unable to accommodate them will be directed to the currently operational border posts for processing.

Daily commuters who reside in cross-border areas/towns and those who are from neighbouring countries including those with relevant work permits and school children and teachers will be allowed to enter and exit the borders for work purposes.  These commuters will be screened for COVI-19 symptoms and where necessary will be subjected to quarantine and isolation.  Furthermore, these commuters will be expected to wear face masks, wash hands and sanitise regularly and practise social distancing measures.

Sea ports operations

To facilitate ease of transportation of goods and medicines to and from the country, ships will be allowed to dock, load and off-load cargo. Crew members from the cargo ships will be allowed to crew changes. These crew members will also be medically screened for COVID-19 symptoms. Passenger liners for luxury travel are still not allowed to dock and off-load passengers.

Ladies and gentlemen, we want to appeal to all travelers and tourists for cooperation and increased vigilance in observing all the health and hygiene protocols we have announced today so that we stop the spread COVID-19. Even though we celebrate the reduced numbers of infections, there is still no vaccine to the virus.

We should continue to protect ourselves and those who are close to us from the devastating effects of this pandemic. We call on international travelers to enjoy the diverse tourist attractions of this country and to meet our friendly hospitable people.

I thank you.

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Consular Services

The Embassy of South Africa is responsible for the states of Alabama, District of Colombia, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Texas, Virginia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

White House Tour

The Embassy of South Africa cannot arrange tours of the White House for South African citizens. The US Department of State has advised us that, at present access for foreign citizens to White House tours as part of an Embassy-sponsored public tour group, is on hold. We are therefore unable to process any requests at this time. We will post an update to the website immediately if conditions change.

Visiting the South African Embassy

There are no parking facilities for the public at the Embassy, although street parking spaces sometime can be found nearby. However, if you plan to visit the Embassy for consular services, please plan to arrive by public transportation or drop-off.

Attention Applicants:

The South African Embassy in Washington DC will no longer accept $16.00 fee but prepaid envelope from FedEx and USPS with tracking number with immediate effect to facilitate return services.