Foreigners living in Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda will from next month get a six-month East African tourist visa under a preferential deal agreed on last week as the states sought to fully implement the issuance of a joint visa for the region.
According to a report on last week’s Northern Corridor Integration Project Summit held in Nairobi, the visa will be issued by the country where the foreigner resides, subject to the validity of the work/residence permit taking into account the visa regimes.
The deal will give non-citizen residents an edge over their travelling counterparts, who get a 90-day visa.
Since its launch in Kampala last month, officials say, tremendous progress has been realised in the implementation of the joint visa, which is expected to sell the East African region as a single tourist destination.
The ministers’ report says the countries have opened special visa fees accounts and agreed to transfer revenue from the joint visa to each partner state by July 15.
The meeting directed Kenya to develop a sample application form for the visa and share it with partner states.
Working like the Schengen visa for European Union countries, the East African visa is expected to allow tourist to enter any of the three countries and move freely within the other two.
“The national audit agencies of the partner states will conduct the auditing of the accounts of the East African visa on an annual basis,” said the ministers in their report.
The design of the application form has also been completed and, according to the ministers, tourists can start applying for their visas as from May 15 from all the partner states. To enhance the use of the visa in the countries, the ministers mandated Rwanda to lead the co-ordination of an awareness drive.
The three East African countries participated jointly at the Indaba Fair in South Africa and World Travel Market in London. At the Berlin International Tourism Fair in March, Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda shared a pavilion, at which they launched the single tourist visa.
On national identity cards and student IDs as travel documents, the partner states have resolved that travellers coming from outside the three countries will use standard travel documents.
Source: The East African
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