6 January 2013

Rwanda: New Formalities for Visas Come Into Force

Photo: Timothy Kisambira/The New Times
The country's international airport.

At least 80 African nationals have so far benefited from the new initiative of issuing entry visas upon arrival for those who travel to Rwanda, a new immigration and emigration policy effected early this week.

Among those, 73 of them who came through Kigali International Airport got visas shortly after touchdown.

Ange Sebutege, the head of communication and customer care at immigration and emigration offices, said the feedback has been outstanding as many people are in awe of the new arrangement and find it convenient. He, however, added that citizens from East African Community member states and the DR Congo do not require a visas.

"Twenty African nationals from outside the EAC applied online, while the majority acquired their visas upon arrival at the airport and the different entries to the country. This facilitation is also helping many Africans to have a chance of visiting Rwanda without going through hardships of getting a visa," he added.

The new system is in a bid to ease visa acquisition for foreigners travelling to Rwanda and also remove the formalities that make it difficult for them to access the country, according to Anaclet Kalibata, the director of immigration and migration.

Kalibata said the reception to the new government policy was so far good and many people welcomed it.

He noted that it would help travellers to avoid delays in acquiring a visa and also remove the condition of having to pass by their respective embassies, thus overcoming the risk of missing all requirements while applying online.

Kalibata also said the new system is also expected to motivate tourists and African nationals with business interests in Rwanda.

"With this new system, one doesn't need a prior request to come to Rwanda, hence making it easy for African nationals travelling here. Many people have welcomed the new initiative and we hope that many more make use of it to ease their travelling," he said.

The new policy was effected at the dawn of the New Year.

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