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Rwanda to Issue Visa on Arrival to All Visitors

by Jean dAmour Ahishakiye
6:40 pm

passengers on arrival at Kigali international airport

Starting January 1st, 2018, citizens of all countries travelling to Rwanda for short trips will no longer need to apply for a visa.

According to a government announcement, Rwanda will now issue a 30-day visa upon arrival to citizens of all countries, without prior application, a privilege that was previously enjoyed by only nationals of African countries and few others.

In the same communiqué that was issued by the Directorate General of Immigration and Emigration, it indicates that it has entered into ‘Visa Waiver Agreement’ for holders of diplomatic and service passports with the countries of Djibouti, Ethiopia, Gabon, Guinea, India, Israel, Morocco and Turkey effective November 16th, 2017.

It was also brought to public attention that based on reciprocal basis, citizens of 18 countries wishing to visit Rwanda will no longer need to apply or pay for a visa.

For those countries, a multi-entry waiver will be issued free of charge at the port of entry, upon presentation of valid travel documents, ranging from nation ID for some of them to a valid passport for others.

Countries whose citizens are concerned are those with passports issued by Benin, Central African Republic, Chad, Ghana, Guinea, Indonesia, Haiti, Senegal, Seychelles and Sao Tome and Principe, Democratic Republic of Congo, Mauritius, Philippines, and Singapore.

Presenting an ID upon arrival will be for all the East African Community member states– Burundi, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and South Sudan.

COMESA member states nationals will also not have to apply for a Rwandan visa under a 90-day visa application exemption announced on Thursday November 16th, 2017.

They will get visa on arrival but on payment of the prescribed fee, as provided by the COMESA Protocol on Free Movement of Persons, Labor, Services, Right of Establishment and Residence. Currently, citizens of COMESA member states were getting 30 days on arrival as other holders of African Passports.

Another measure in the announcement concerns Rwandans living abroad with double nationality that will now and onward be allowed to use national IDs on entry. Initially Rwandans travelling on a foreign passport in possession of a valid Rwandan passport were the only ones granted free visa on arrival.

To foreigners living in Rwanda, it was also communicated that they will start using their Resident ID cards for entry and if they have valid residence permits they’ll also be able to use electronic gates, which facilitate the clearance (Automated Passenger Clearance System) at Kigali international Airport.

From 1st January 2013, nationals of all African countries traveling to or transiting through Rwanda have been having their visas upon arrival at any Rwandan entry point.