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
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
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.
- 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.
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.
your passport be damaged in any way, it is advisable to obtain a new passport
- 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.