New SARS Traveller declaration
The new SARS Traveller declaration form for those returning to South Africa is still in the pilot phase and will continue on a voluntary basis until further notice.
This is a Customs declaration form. You can find all the information on the SARS website
It was implemented at King Shaka International Airport and will be rolled out at the following airports:
- Cape Town International Airport on 28 February 2023
- O.R. Tambo International Airport on 23 March 2023
- Other airports in the second and third quarters of 2023
- Land ports, namely Beit Bridge and Skilpadshek, after that.
When you convert your South African driver’s licence to a German licence, you have to hand in your SA card. If you want to drive in South Africa, or any other country outside the EU you need to apply for an International licence from the road traffic authorities (Führerscheinstelle) where you live.
Regulation 110 of the Road Traffic Act states that a foreign licence may only be accepted for driving in SA if it is issued in one of the SA’s official languages. Since the German driver’s licence is issued in German (and not English), by law you need to have an international driving licence with you.
International licence – Yes you need one!
An International licence is basically a translation and confirmation of your German driving licence that can be recognised by the authorities. It serves as a translation and an interpretation of the licence (the original licence must accompany the International Driving Permit).
Regulation 110 of the Regulations to the National Road Traffic Act states that you need an International licence together with your German driving licence, based on the fact that German driving licences are issued only in German. This approach is also summarised by the Department of Transport on this working instruction to traffic centres that deal with foreign licences: https://www.arrivealive.co.za/documents/foreign%20dl%20and%20idp.pdf (see point 1.2 regarding the handling of foreign driving licences).
Here is an extract of Regulation 110: Conditions for acknowledgement and exchange of driving licence not issued in terms of Act, and international driving permit.—(1) Subject to sub-regulation (1A) and (3), a driving licence referred to in section 23 (1) (a) of the Act, issued while the holder of it was not permanently or ordinarily resident in the Republic, shall, for the period for, and subject to the conditions under which it was issued, be deemed to be a valid licence for the purposes of Chapter IV of the Act, if
(a) (i) the licence has been issued in an official language of the Republic;
or (ii) a certificate of authenticity or validity relating to the licence issued in an official language of the Republic by a competent authority, or a translation of that licence in such an official language, is attached to it
(b) such licence contains or has attached to it, a photograph and the signature of the licence holder.
To apply for an international licence, you will need your German driving licence and a current biometric photo
An international driver’s licence costs around 16 euros. – 2022.
You can find more information here, or Google “Führerschein (international) beantragen”
Sim cards, mobile data and Wi-FI
- Try to find accommodation that offers free Wi-Fi. Many restaurants offer free Wi-Fi.
- You can use your German number to roam in South Africa. This can become expensive.
- Rent a mobile phone for your time in South Africa. Vodacom offers phone rentals
- Read about using Cellucity B4ITravel here. I have not personally used them and have no idea how good the service is.
- Airalo (e-sim) was suggested by members of our FB group. They offer data packs at local rates
- Some Car rental companies offer additional rental of mobile phones and GPS devices
If you still have bank accounts in South Africa you can transfer money to these accounts to use during your trip to South Africa.
If you do not have any back accounts in SA, you can consider the following:
- Take cash with you – always a risk
- Use your German credit card if it is open for foreign transactions. Some banks allow a certain amount of free transactions. You can also withdraw cash.
- Use your German debit card if it is open for foreign transactions
- Travelers Cheques, which you can cash in at local banks.
Please keep the exchange rate you will get in mind as well as the transaction fees.
Always have some cash with you as not everyone takes cards e.g street vendors, taxi
We are not financial advisors and therefore cannot give financial advice. The information here should not be seen as financial advice in any way.Always make informed decisions and speak to a professional when you are unsure. What is exchange control? Foreign exchange controls are various forms of controls imposed by a government on the purchase/sale of foreign currencies by residents or on the purchase/sale of local currency by nonresidents.
Identity documents and passports
When you have only a South African passport:
- To travel from Germany to South Africa, you will need a valid South African passport.
- To travel back from South Africa to Germany, you will need a valid South African passport and a valid German Aufenthaltstitel (temporary residence permit), Niederlassungserlaubnis (permanent residence card) card, or a Fiktionsbescheinigung (Temporary proof of German residence).
Please be mindful of any limitations or restrictions of your documents e.g single entry Aufenthaltstitel (temporary residence permit), in this case, usually for short student visas, you are not allowed to travel from and back to Germany on your current Aufenthalt (Residence permit).
Check the validity of your South African passport and consider applying for a new one in South Africa. The turnaround time has been very good lately.
Applying for official documents from the Department of Home Affairs in South Africa has become a whole lot easier. Apply online You can apply for your Smart ID or Passport online via the eHomeAffairs website. You will still need to
To stay in Germany longer than 90 days in a 180 period, you will need a residence permit. Qualifying for a residence permit will depend, among other things, on the type of visa you applied for. Your long-stay visa allows
Applying for a new Adult Tourist passport in South Africa can be done online via the Department of Home Affairs E-Services. This service allows you to fill in the application form online and make an appointment for your biometrics. Biometrics
Visas and dual citizenship
It is considered an offence for a South African over the age of 18 with dual citizenship to enter or leave the country using their foreign passport.
Once you’ve obtained dual citizenship, you must use your South African passport when entering and leaving South Africa.
German Passport, staying longer than 90 days
A German citizen can travel to South Africa without a visa for up to 90 days, thereafter they need a visa.
If you renounced your South African Citizenship and are travelling on a German passport, you still have the right to permanent residence in South Africa. Make sure you take along all your supporting documentation for example your original renunciation certificate and if you already have one, your new non-Citizen Identity document.
You can apply for your new Non-citizen identity document as soon as you received confirmation of your renunciation of South African citizenship
The rules for travelling with children to South Africa accompanied and unaccompanied can be found on the Department of home affairs website.
– Here is a link to the Suggested Parental consent letter from the Department of Home Affairs. It does not need to be notarised.
When you want to travel during a German school term, you can apply for special leave (Beurlaubung).
The school rules in Germany are very strict and every student is obliged to attend classes and other school events. You therefore cannot take your child out of school before the term ends. They must attend school for the whole term, with only certain exemptions like ill-health, participation in sports competitions, or an important personal reason like the marriage of siblings, death in the family or serious illness in the family, see the next section on Beurlaubung.
Make sure your medical costs will be covered. You can take out additional medical cover, or have it included in your travel insurance.
The major airports in Germany are Frankfurt, Munich, Berlin, and Düsseldorf.
Direct Flights between SA and Germany
Direct flights to SA are only from Frankfurt and Munich (Seasonal)
- Lufthansa has flights between Frankfurt and O.R Tambo Intl and well as to Cape Town
- Condor reinstated their Frankfurt to Cape Town flights. They also have two flights a week between Frankfurt and O.R. Tambo, but both destinations are only during their Winter flight plan. Get up-to-date info on their 2023 Winter and Summer flight plans.
- Emirates has flights from Berlin, Hamburg, and Düsseldorf, connecting in Dubai and flying to O.R Tambo, Durban, and Cape Town
- Turkish Airlines flies from Berlin, Bremen, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Friedrichshafen, Hamburg, Hannover, Karlsruhe, Cologne, Leipzig, Munich, Nuremberg and Stuttgart to Istanbul. From there they fly to O.R Tambo
- Qatar Airlines, British Airways, and KLM all have connecting flights to South Africa
“I didn’t know it at the time of booking, but Condor is a cut-price airline. My priority was direct flights there and back, so it suited me fine.
The planes were quite old A330’s in which a few of the screens do not work as well as the remote control was stuck so as to be unusable.
The food was vegetarian, i.e. pasta, with a varying sauces for the return trip. Breakfast was not eggs, bacon (or sausage), and fried tomato, but rather a type of (tasteless) cheese in pastry (made in NL). On the return trip, it was a cheese croissant. The seats, however, seemed somehow much narrow than normal.”
Seat Info – You can search your flight details either on the airline’s website or read reviews on Seatguru
Connecting Flight in SA
If you have an onward flight for instance to Hoedspruit, you will have to clear passport control and customs at the arrival airport of your international leg.
International – domestic connections
After clearing customs and collecting your bags at the international carousel, you must check in your luggage for your domestic flight. There should be a fast bag drop re-check desk available but not guaranteed. Once you have dropped your bag, head to Domestic Terminal and pass through security before heading to your gate.
Recommended minimum connecting time is 90 minutes. Please allow extra time if you require special assistance or you are travelling with children.
For luggage restrictions in the EU, a single bag may not weigh more than 23 kg.
The amount of bags you are allowed to take with you will depend on your airline, ticket class and fare conditions.
Laptops and electronic devices containing Lithium Batteries may not be transported in checked luggage and must be in your hand luggage.
Travel advice and bookings
We have Travel agents listed on our website. These businesses are owned and run by South Africans living in Germany.
Contact them to get expert advice and assistance with bookings.
Mon Voyage Travel and Tours is an IATA and ASATA accredited Travel Agency based in Port Elizabeth, South Africa Waiting, willing and ready to assist
The Expat Travel Shop is full-service travel agency with over 2 decades of experience in global travel. Our personal approach meets client needs in both
From the Hocheifel to the world! With a destination knowledge of over 140 visited countries on all 6 continents, we help you to make the
- Cuckoo clocks
- Beer Krüge / Beer Stein
- Music boxes
- Handmade wooden toys
- Garden Gnomes
- Hummel handcrafted Figurines
- Anything from Käthe Wohlfahrt
- Tulip glasses (beer or wine)
- Authentic/Branded Beer glasses
- Glassware from Riedel
- Rosenthal Porcelain
- Zwilling products
- WMF Products
- Raclette Grill
- Haribo sweets, Hannuta, Giotto
- Decent Marzipan like Niederegger
- Mozart Kugeln
- Canned Venison
- Mustard and “Pommes Mayo”
- Obstbrände and Schnaps like Williams Pear Schnapps
- Nürnberger Lebkuchen for example from Lebkucken Schmidt
- Steiff Teddy bear
- Dr Hauscha Skin care
- Dr Beckmann Gallseiffe
If you’re planning a trip to Germany, we’ve got some travel tips that we think you’ll find incredibly helpful. If you’ve got your own tips
It is very tempting to take some German goodies with you when you travel to South Africa, and while most items are allowed, please make
It is very tempting to bring some South African goodies with you when you travel to Germany, and while most items are allowed, there are Restrictions.