Travel Advice

South African citizens travelling abroad are strongly advised to take care not to become involved in activities which may be, or are, illegal in foreign countries. Please remember, once you leave South Africa, you are not protected by South African laws and constitutional rights. If you are arrested abroad, the South African Government cannot get you out of prison or demand your release. At most, Government can intercede with local authorities to try and ensure that your rights under the laws of the country in which you were arrested are fully observed.

It can also attempt to ensure that you are treated humanely, i.e., according to those international agreements to which the country in which you have been arrested, has acceded. The Government of South Africa has not entered into prisoner exchange agreements with other countries. Therefore, should you be imprisoned, you will have to serve your sentence in the foreign prison until your release.

Please note that the South African Government views crimes, particularly those involving abuse of women and children, the traffic in humans, illegal drugs, mercenary activities and traffic in small arms, in a most serious light. Know the country that you are travelling to, read about its laws, rules and regulations and respect them.

NOTE: Possessing or smuggling drugs is a criminal offence in almost all countries. Penalties are harsh and can lead to a life-time imprisonment or even the death penalty. Do not carry parcels, baggage or any items that you have not packed personally. Do not offer to collect parcels, letters, documents, etc. on behalf of other persons.

Important Notice:

  • The Government views the smuggling of drugs in a very serious light. Please be advised that in many countries prison conditions are extremely harsh. Attempting to smuggle drugs is not worth the payment that you may be offered.
  • South Africans who intend to work abroad, especially in war stricken countries like Iraq, should keep in mind that may find themselves in very dangerous circumstances. It is advisable to register yourself at the closest South African mission.
  • Should your passport be damaged in any way, it is advisable to obtain a new passport before travelling.
  • Always keep a certified copy of your passport and visa on your person while on holiday.
  • It is advisable to ensure that a friend or family member is in possession of your travel plan and contact details, as well as a copy of your passport, visa pages and identity document, in the event of an emergency.

Guidelines on:

Disclaimer | Contact Us | HomeLast Updated: 9 June, 2005 10:18 AM
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2003 Department of Foreign Affairs, Republic of South Africa