New Zealand citizens visiting SA will be required to apply for a visa as of January 16 next year‚ Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba said on Tuesday.

The move follows similar visa requirements imposed on SA nationals by the government of New Zealand‚ which announced on October 3 that it was ending a visa waiver for SA passport holders dating back to 1996.

 The New Zealand government had cited the number of SA visitors who had overstayed the three-month visa waiver visit‚ the number who had been denied entry due to fraudulent documentation‚ and the number using the waiver to visit family or friends rather than for business or tourism purposes‚ Gigaba said.

That new visa requirement came into effect on November 21.

The SA government‚ like other international governments‚ applied the principle of reciprocity in international relations‚ but in a “pragmatic manner” in line with national interests‚ Gigaba said. Visa fees will remain low‚ while all other decisions on reciprocal visa requirements would be made in the interests of SA’s broader national interests‚ he said.

“We have further noted‚ in recent times‚ a number of countries have imposed visa restrictions on SA passport holders.

“After a careful consideration of this matter‚ I have directed departmental officials to look closely at the decisions of these countries and advise accordingly whether or not SA should reciprocate also in these matters‚” said Gigaba.

SA passport holders did not pose a threat to countries‚ with improved security systems on SA passports as well as the broader introduction of biometric measures to improve security at points of exit and entry‚ Gigaba said.