COVID-19 testing is available 24/7 at ORTIA

Good news for travellers departing South Africa from OR Tambo is that they can get COVID-19 PCR-tested and collect their certificate at the airport prior to departure.

National Health Laboratory Service (www.nhls.ac.za/) is operating three mobile COVID-19 Test Units in clearly identifiable vans located opposite the InterContinental Hotel, in front of the Police Station, on the lower level of the airport complex. The service is available 24/7 according to Port Health Services, at a cost of R600 (cash, cheque cards and credit cards are accepted, except American Express). Children under five years do not require a test.


Results are available in four to six hours and the traveller is advised by SMS that the test result and certificate are ready for collection. After testing, travellers can wait for the SMS at the airport or nearby, collect the certificate, and proceed to fly. Alternatively, the test may be done a day or two prior to departure if preferred, and the certificate collected on the day of departure.

Inbound travellers to South Africa, including South Africans, must hold a negative PCR test certificate taken within 72 hours of their departure time. This certificate is valid for the duration of the traveller’s inbound journey and takes into consideration long stopovers at transit points, but the test validity has a maximum of 14 days and is for a single entry only. (Every time a traveller departs for South Africa, a new test is required prior to departure.)

On arrival in South Africa, the traveller must produce a printed copy of the test certificate. However, Port Health says travellers who receive their certificate on a mobile device whilst travelling, who are not able to print a copy, and only have the certificate on their phone/device, are permitted to email a copy of the certificate to ortia.operations@health.gov.za.

On arrival, the traveller must show the Port Health authorities the certificate on the mobile device plus proof of the email sent. The email can be sent prior to arrival in South Africa or once at the airport after arrival, but must be sent prior to reporting to Port Health for clearance

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Entry requirements for all arrivals

  • A valid certificate of a negative COVID-19 PCR test, obtained not more than 72 hours (3 days) from the time of departure from the country of origin to South Africa. The test must be conducted by a certified medical practitioner and the certificate must have the name and signature of the practitioner who conducted the test.
  • Failure to present proof of a valid and negative test will require the traveller to quarantine at their own cost.
  • Upon arrival in the port of entry, the traveller will be screened for any COVID-19 symptoms and/or for contact with people who have been infected with the COVID-19 virus.
  • Travellers must provide proof of accommodation address should they need to self-quarantine at the time of arrival in the country, subject to the accommodation allowing for self-quarantine.
  • Should the traveller display any COVID-19–related symptoms or have been in contact with an infected person, they will be expected to take a mandatory COVID-19 test. This test will be at the traveller’s cost. If the COVID-19 test comes back positive, the traveller will be subjected to a 10-day quarantine at a designated site. The accommodation at a quarantine site will be at the traveller’s cost.
  • All travellers will be asked to download the COVID Alert South Africa mobile app. Information on the app can be found here.
  • Travel insurance is mandatory for all travellers to covers any cost of testing or quarantine.
  • It is the responsibility of the airlines to check that passengers boarding flights to South Africa meet the requirements of entry.
  • All travellers need to complete an Exit Screening Health Questionnaire