NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Kenyan and South Africa on Monday agreed on
measures to ease visa application rules and entry conditions for
Kenya’s ministry of
interior said that starting from Dec. 1, business people and
academics travelling to South Africa will now be issued with
multiple-entry visas valid for up to 10 years while frequent
travelers will be eligible for three-year multiple-entry visas.
officials travelling on official business to South Africa will
be granted three-month free visas with immediate effect,” the
ministry said in a statement, following extensive deliberations
between the two countries’ government officials in Pretoria.
According to the
ministry, 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 Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta
said would foster pan-African brotherhood and fraternity.
In 2014, South
Africa imposed tough rules for Kenyans seeking to visit South
Africa, in addition to a service charge for applications.
The decision by
South Africa to outsource its visa processing services to VFS
Global meant that Kenyans would have to pay an additional 60
U.S. dollars’s service charge on top of visa fees.
retaliated with similar measures but suspended them in 2014
after South African authorities reportedly called for talks.
Those talks, however, never materialized.
visiting Kenya for a period of less than 30 days do not require
visas, but those intending to stay longer are issued with visas
on arrival at the point of entry or through the online e-visa
ministry said discussions with South Africa on visa restrictions
have been ongoing and have seen Presidents Kenyatta and Cyril
Ramaphosa discuss the issue extensively.
“With Kenya Airways
already doing an average of three non-stop flights from the Jomo
Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) to South Africa daily, the
new arrangement is expected to enhance people-to-people contact
and unlock the two countries’ tourism and business potential,”
the statement said.
The two countries
also agreed to step up joint efforts against illegal immigration
and also to protect the integrity of each other’s travel
“This move also
comes as Kenya’s immigration department steps up efforts to
streamline immigration services through automation of
immigration services, digitization of immigration records, and
the establishment of the e-passport system,” said the ministry.
It said the two
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.