Kenyans to benefit from revised South Africa visa policies

Kenyans to benefit from revised South Africa visa policies

Kenyan business people and academics will get a 10-year multiple entry visa to South Africa in a bid to boost bilateral ties between the two countries.

While making the announcement, South Africa’s Minister for Home Affairs, Malusi Gigaba said that Kenyan students studying in South Africa will be offered a long-term visa which will be aligned to their course of study.

“Those who are completing their high school studies in South Africa will be offered a long term visa so that they are able to transit to South Africa without any bureaucratic hindrances. For instance, if a course takes three years, the applicant will hold a visa lasting three years,” he said.

The raft of measures also allows for Kenyan applicants to seek permanent residency visas in South Africa as part of exporting talent to the country. In addition, holders of diplomatic and official passports will have visa exemption, while frequent travellers will hold a multiple entry visa for three-years.

Frequent business and academic travellers will hold a 10-year multiple entry visa. Mr Gigaba was quick to note that they will work closely with the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry to ascertain the frequent business travellers.

“We have the records of the business and academics who travel frequently to South Africa, hence this will avoid chances of this opportunity being exploited. The Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry will assist us in verifying the various business people who qualify for this visa,” said Mr Gigaba.

Service fee for visa applications will also be cut from USD71 (Ksh 7,177.14) to USD49 (Ksh 4,953.24).

Gigaba held talks with Kenyan officials on bilateral, regional and multilateral issues of mutual interest, including updating each other on the various respective initiatives being undertaken to fight trans-national crimes such as terrorism, drug-trafficking, illegal arms, money-laundering and illegal migration.

This comes after two years of back and forth between the two countries placing measure on issuance of visas making it almost impossible for ordinary citizens of these economic powerhouses to visit each other, than it would be for either country’s citizens to visit Britain or the United States.

South Africa revised their visa regime in May 2014, making it impossible for all foreigners to renew their visas within its borders, of course with the exception of Zimbabweans under the special dispensation regime.

Two weeks later in June, Kenya responded proposing strict conditions effective from 1 September 2014 which only targeted South Africans travelling into and transiting through the East African country.

Kenya has not been issuing visas to South Africans at the port of entry making South Africans wait for a week before travelling into or transiting through Kenya.

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