South Africa eases visa rules for Kenyans

FILE: Malusi Gigaba addresses Parliament in Cape Town, South Africa February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings
FILE: Malusi Gigaba addresses Parliament in Cape Town, South Africa February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

The Kenyan and South African governments have worked out a deal to ease visa requirements for students, businessmen, government officials and short term travelers.

The deal that takes effect on December 1 will see Kenyan businessmen and students travelling to South Africa issued with multiple entry visas valid for up to 10 years.

Frequent travellers will be eligible for three year multiple entry visas.

Kenya’s Interior Ministry made the announcement on Monday, following a meeting between cabinet minister Fred Matiangi and South Africa’s Home Affairs Minister, Malusi Gigaba, in Pretoria.

The reforms are part of the South Africa’s efforts to ease visa requirements at a time African nations are re-evaluating visa rules for Africans.

The common practice for short-term visa requirements imposes a travel restriction of 180 days.

With the new directive, travel restrictions between the two countries are set to reduce.

A statement from the Interior ministry indicates that the new directive on visas will unlock the two countries’ tourism and business potential.

“The agreement reflects the doctrine of reciprocity after Kenya set up a more responsive and straightforward online application process for short-term visas for visitors from all African countries, a move that H.E. President Uhuru Kenyatta envisioned would foster Pan-African brotherhood and fraternity,” reads part of the statement from the Ministry of Interior.

Kenya currently grants Africans travelling into the country visa free access for a period less than 30 days, while those intending to stay longer are issued with visas on arrival at the point of entry or through the online e-visa platform.