PCR and Quarantine for Inbound Travellers
If you are familiar with the available options and regulations and simply wish to book:
If you would like to download the self home quarantine application form:
If you are unfamiliar with the South African inbound quarantine process and options please read on.
Register with the South African Embassy/Mission in the country you will be returning from. A list of the South African Representation Abroad can be found on this page of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation.
In notifying the relevant South African Foreign Mission please be sure to include as much information as possible.
- Country where you are at time of notifying the mission
- Full names and surname
- Passport nr
- ID number
- Contact Details where the Embassy can reach you (phone number and e-mail address)
- Name and address of host / hotel
- Date of entry into the host country
- Reason for your trip
- If you have a return ticket or not
- Details of return ticket (Airline, date of entry and scheduled return)
- Contact person with phone number and e-mail address of family in South Africa
- Place of residence in South Africa
- Nature of distress (if any)
Click on this link to complete a form which will send a template mail to your address, to be forwarded to the appropriate SA foreign mission.
Acquire a return ticket if you have not already done so. Contact a Travel Specialist to arrange a return ticket.
Decide on your quarantine options.
OPTION 1: Self-Quarantine @ Home
The Government Gazette of 17 Jul 2020 #43533 allows for “…self -quarantine at a place that complies with the criteria set out…” (section 17 b p.13)
A returning traveller who wishes to self-quarantine must submit a written application 72 hours before intended travel.
Applications should be submitted to: Quarantine@healthpmo.co.za
Applications should include:
- The address where the applicant wishes to self-quarantine
- A written declaration agreeing to abide by the self-quarantine conditions
- Copy of your ID or Passport
- Contact details of how you can be contacted while you are self-quarantining
- Details of where you have been over the last 30 days.
Travellers are strongly encouraged to sign up for Private Quarantine in addition to the submission of a written application for self-quarantine at least 72 hours before intended travel, as a denial of self quarantine will result in arriving passengers being automatically placed in state quarantine.
Should self-quarantine be approved, private quarantine bookings can be cancelled for full refund.
Note that officially arriving international travellers intending to undertake an onward domestic air travel journey – will not be allowed to self quarantine. Arriving travellers must quarantine before continuing to other provinces. Practical experience may vary.
OPTION 2: Private Quarantine @ Quarantine Hotel
Inbound travellers have the option of electing to arrange private quarantine at a designated quarantine hotel. Private quarantine allows inbound travellers to check into a designated hotel on the day of arrival (Day 0), to remain in quarantine for five nights with private PCR testing arranged on (Day 5). Depending on laboratory capacity, results are generally provided within 24 hours, and private quarantine travellers will be allowed to check out of the hotel upon receipt of their lab results and quarantine release certificates. More information on private quarantine process available here.
In order to arrange private quarantine, inbound-travellers will require a valid hotel booking, made at least five days prior to travel to allow the private facility to arrange authorisation for inbound travellers from the South African Department of Works. They will need to have to arrange a private PCR test to be conducted at their designated hotel, with a provider able to provide them with a valid quarantine release certificate.
Note that inbound travellers CAN NOT ELECT TO UNDERGO PRIVATE QUARANTINE AFTER ARRIVAL. The South African Department of Health does not allow inbound passengers to switch from government quarantine to private quarantine, irrespective of such travellers being willing to pay for private PCR testing.
Please click on or Scan the QR Code below to sign up for: Private Quarantine, PCR Testing, and Quarantine release.
OPTION 3: Government Quarantine
Inbound travellers, who did not apply for self/home quarantine as per Option One, nor registered for private hotel quarantine as per Option Two, will automatically be placed in Government quarantine. the quarantine period originally set at 14 days as per the The Government Gazette of 17 July 2020 #43533 has subsequently been reduced to 10 days, in the Government Gazette of 7 August 2020 # 43600.
Government quarantine is normally provided in similar lodging as with private pre-arranged quarantine, but differs in terms of meal options, duration ten days vs seven days (for private) and there will be no PCR testing conducted for government quarantine guests.
Note that government quarantine guests can not be transitioned to private/hotel or self/home quarantine after arrival. This is not permisable under present DoH rules.
Criteria for Self-Quarantine:
In order to qualify for self -quarantine or self-Isolation, the applicant must have the following:
- Separate well ventilated bedroom with a bathroom and toilet, or a residence that is not shared with persons who are not subject to quarantine;
- meals served in the room in disposable utensils or utensils that are separate and are washed properly, if there are persons who are not subject to quarantine;
- support from friends or family that can facilitate the drop off of food and medicine at the gate if they are not able to make use of online shopping facilities and contactless deliveries;
- thermometer that will allow him or her to measure his or her temperature daily;
- access to the internet and a phone that allows the daily reporting of symptoms;
- access to a private physician that he or she can contact should he or she be in need of medical advice or care; and
- a contact number where he or she can be reached during the period of self-quarantine or self-isolation.
Person that may be exempted from quarantine by prior written arrangement:
- Persons arriving in the country to attend the funeral of an immediate family member;
- persons who, for medical reasons, are unable to undergo quarantine;
- cross border truck drivers; and
- commuting cross border school learners, students, educators and persons transporting them.