Rwanda to issue visa on arrival for all visitors


The development will boost tourism in the country due to the easy access by foreign nationals into the country. (Photos by Timothy Kisambira)

As part of the recent Cabinet resolution, travellers from across the world will from January 1, 2018, receive a 30-day visa upon arrival following the establishment of a new visa regime.

The move, which is set to increase Rwanda’s openness and accessibility to the rest of the world, is part of a new visa regime.

Previously, only African passport holders and a few other countries could receive at Rwanda entry points without sies or online.

On reciprocal basis, Rwanda reinstated payment of visa fee upon arrival to citizens of Hong Kong that were getting free visa upon arrival. It comes after Hong Kong re-introduced visa requirements to Rwandans since April 29, 2016.

The new visa regime will also see Rwandans living abroad with dual nationality use their IDs on entry. This will waive visa fees for Rwandans coming into the country traveling on foreign passports.

Previously, Rwandans traveling into the country on a foreign passport were only granted visa free entry only if they were in possession of a valid Rwandan passport.

The new visa regime will also enable foreign residents in the country use their resident ID cards for entry. Previously foreigners living in Rwanda would have to produce their passports on entry into the country.

According to a brief by the directorate general of Immigration and Emigration, Rwanda will immediate effect grant a free 90 day visa on reciprocal basis to the following countries: Benin, Central African Republic, Chad, Ghana, Guinea, Indonesia, Haiti, Senegal, Seychelles and Sao Tome and Principe. This is in addition to DR Congo, East African Member Community Partner States, Mauritius, Philippines, and Singapore.

Kigali International Airport passport control section.

Rwandan diplomatic and service passport holders will henceforth not require visa when traveling to select countries following a move by the government to enter into visa waiver agreements. The countries include Djibouti, Ethiopia, Gabon, Guinea, India, Israel, Morocco and Turkey.

Nationals of these countries will also not require visa while traveling to Rwanda using diplomatic and service passport.

The development will boost tourism in the country due to the easy access by foreign nationals into the country.

The development also comes at a time when the African Union is in the process of adopting a treaty to liberalize free movement of across the continent.

The treaty seeks to realize age old ambitions of opening up the continent to increase opportunities of trade, investment and opportunities for Africans.

The Directorate of Immigration and Emigration said the new move is likely to lead to a 1.9 per cent reduction in visa revenues from countries whose citizens will not pay fees as a reciprocal measure.

However, it is expected that there will be an increase in overall revenues due to the corresponding increase in tourism.

Previous visa adjustments have seen significant rise in the number of visitors coming into the country. For instance, when Rwanda moved to issue visa upon arrival to all Africans, the number of African nationals that were issued visa on arrival at Rwandan entry points increased from 31,054 in 2013 to 77,377 in 2016.

Currently on average of 350 online visa applications are received per day and processed within 3 days.