Relief for Kenyans as South Africa scraps short-term visa requirements


Relief for Kenyans as South Africa scraps short-term visa requirements
President Uhuru Kenyatta and his South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa.

In Summary

  • The agreement reached on Monday by Interior CS Dr. Fred Matiang’i, and South Africa’s Home Affairs Minister, Malusi Gigaba, is aimed at easening visa application rules and entry conditions into the country.
  • According to the ministry's statement, Africans visiting Kenya for less than a month experience no entry conditions while those who intending to stay longer are issued with temporary visas.
  • The move comes a week after the historical Kenya Airways flight to the United States.

Kenyans visiting South Africa have a reason to smile after the country scrapped short-term visa requirements in a new agreement, the Ministry of Interior has announced.

The agreement, reached on Monday by Interior CS Dr. Fred Matiang’i, and South Africa’s Home Affairs Minister, Malusi Gigaba, is aimed at easing visa application rules and entry conditions into the country.

In a press statement, the ministry announced that starting December 1, Kenyans visiting South Africa for business or academia purposes will be issued entry visas valid for up to a period of 10 years while frequent travelers will be issued 3-year entry visas.

“Kenyan business and academia community travelling to South Africa will now be issued with multiple entry visas valid for up to 10 years while frequent travellers will be eligible for 3-year multiple entry visas effective December 1, 2018, ” reads a statement from the Interior Ministry.

Further, the ministry announced that government officials travelling on official business to South Africa will enjoy 3 months free-visa with immediate effect.

The two countries also agreed on working together to solve illegal immigration as Kenya strives to streamline its services.

“This move also comes as Kenya’s immigration department steps up efforts to streamline immigration services through automation of immigration services, digitisation of immigration records, and the establishment of the e-passport system,” the statement continues.

The ministry further indicated its effort of working closely with the South African government to reduce crime.

“The governments are also in consultation on the strategies to mitigate transnational crimes, especially human trafficking and smuggling emanating from elsewhere in the continent and beyond.”

Technical staff from the two governments were given three months to come up with solutions that can better reduce travel restrictions and completely remove the short term visa requirements.

“Technical officers from both countries were also tasked with finding ways of reducing travel restrictions, with a view of completely removing short term (180) days) and transit visa requirements for nationals from the two countries with ordinary passports,” the ministry reported.

Africans visiting Kenya for less than a month experience no entry conditions while those who intending to stay longer are issued with temporary visas.

The ministry attributed the major milestone to President Kenyatta’s frequent deliberations with Cyril Ramaphosa.

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Story By Wycliffe Nyamasege
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