Uganda next country to introduce E-visa

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UPDATE, July 30, 2016: Uganda now issues E-Visas, but visas can still be obtained on arrival. Meanwhile, the cost of single-entry visa has been reduced back to 50 USD, For latest information, it is recommended to visit the Brad Uganda update blog.

Following neighboring countries Kenya and Rwanda, Uganda is now set to introduce online visa application. It was to be effective since June 1, 2016, but has now been delayed indefinitely. Once the e-visa system is up and running, visa on arrival is expected to be scrapped altogether (though, as a precedent, this has never materialised in Kenya).

The website for Ugandan visa application is already online, but as far as I’m aware, they are not issuing visas online yet. Once working, the e-visa site will allow application for Single, Multiple-entry, Transit, and East African Tourist visas (oddly all costing USD 100). Also diplomatic, business and student visas can be applied through the portal. Required attachments include Passport Copy, Passport-size Photo, Vaccination Certificate, and a valid travel document. The visa form seems quite complex, and it requires information not always easily available (such as numbers of previous passports).

In a nasty move, Uganda doubled their visa fee from 50 to 100 USD last year. Recent reports say some visitors to Uganda have had trouble getting East African Visa on arrival, instead getting only Ugandan visa. Both visas cost the same 100 USD, thus Uganda immigration officials try to push the local visa, so all the proceeding go to their country. Hopefully those applying for East African Tourist Visa online will not encounter similar problems.

Kenya, on the other hand, does not allow applying the East African Tourist Visa online. It seems both countries are unwilling to grant the EA visa. This is a pity since the very idea of this visa was to promote regional tourism. This is not the only troubled cross-border visa, as the Zambia-Zimbabwe Univisa is no longer issued.

The delayed introduction of Ugandan E-visa clearly demonstrates they lack capacity to run the system properly. A rushed introduction only a month after its announcement would simple have been impossible. The same applies to Kenya, who almost a year after introducing E-visa are still still issuing visa on arrival, in contrast to the original plan where visa on arrival was to be scrapped in one month.

In unrelated Uganda travel news, the ridesharing app/platform Uber has  been launched in Kampala today, making Uganda the fifth African country to be served by Uber (check our previous blog post on Uber in Africa).

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