Immigration

More unwelcome visa news – Uganda and Malawi fee hikes

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UPDATE, July 30, 2016: The cost of Uganda single-entry visa has been reduced back to 50 USD, so the double price was a short experiment ending in a foreseeable failure.  For Malawi, the current visa fees appear to be 75 USD for a 3-month-visa, or 50 USD for transit visa valid for seven days.

Just as Kenya stops issuing visa on arrival, two other African countries punish tourists by significantly increasing visa fees. Reports say that the cost of Ugandan single entry visa has been doubled from 50 to 100 USD, while the Malawi visa is or will be increased to 75 USD, while previously visa-exempt nationalities have to pay for a visa.

Western tourists are used to visit most countries of interest without having to pay for a visa, but just few of those countries are in Africa. Recent fee hikes further highlight the divide. Majority of potential tourists shun Africa due to numerous image problems the continent has, and new visa rules will not improve situation.

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Kenya introduces online visa application, visa on arrival to be scrapped

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Starting from July 1st, 2015 Kenya introduced e-visa, meaning the Kenyan visa will be applied online from now on. Visa on arrival will be available until August 30, 2015, but thereafter every visitor to Kenya must have obtained the e-visa (save those from visa-exempt countries). Visa will be applied through the Kenya E-Citizen portal. Visa application process should take at least two days and up to a week. A visitor may be denied boarding a plane if he/she fails to provide a proof of a granted visa. Thus booking a trip to Kenya on a short notice will be difficult or impossible, as a consequence Kenya will lose potential tourists.

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East African Tourist Visa – cross border travel in the region made easier

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Since 2014 the East African Tourist Visa (abbreviated here as EATV), has been available so tourists can enter Kenya, Uganda and/or Rwanda using a single visa. The visa will be valid for 90 days, is multiple-entry (but read my experiences below), and can be obtained on arrival at airports (not sure about border crossing points). The cheapest single entry visas to Uganda and Kenya cost 50 USD, and to Rwanda 30 USD. So if going to Kenya and Uganda, obtaining EATV makes sense, but if going to Rwanda and only either Kenya or Uganda and not re-entering any of these countries, then it will be cheaper to get single entry visas instead.

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New South Africa immigration rules expected to hurt tourism

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Effective since the beginning of this week (1st Jun 2015), South Africa has implemented new immigration rules which are summarised on ENCA website. This affects everyone travelling to South Africa with children and those who need to apply for a South African visa. Child trafficking is being cited as the main reason for the new rules. The South African tourism industry is, however, concerned about possible negative impact on the number of international visitors.

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South Africa xenophobic attacks

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The attacks against foreigners in South Africa have been on the news last few days. South Africa has a high unemployment rate and large pool of unskilled youth looking for jobs. Understandably they don’t like if jobs are taken by foreigners, regardless if illegal immigrants or not. Anti-immigration sentiments are a commonplace all over the world, not only South Africa, just see any recent election result in Europe where parties with anti-immigration agendas are flying high. However, the violent nature of xenophobia in South Africa make the picture much nastier. Read the rest of this entry »