East Africa single Visa tourist form in the offing

Following the launch of the East Africa’s Tourist Visa about a month ago, experts from Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya are meeting in Kigali to discuss modalities of coming up with a common single tourist visa application form.

tzCurrently, tourists are still using individual states application forms to apply for the EAC single tourist visa.

Once they have agreed, the uniform application forms will be printed and sent to all partner states, embassies and High Commissions.

The visa saves potential tourists time and the rigorous process of having to move from one embassy to another to apply for different visas to travel across the three East African Community partner states.

“We hope the uniform application form will work as a marketing tool for us,” Monique Mukaruliza, Rwanda’s national coordinator of the Northern Corridor Integration Projects, said on Monday.

She noted that the countries are also considering opening up a joint bank account for the EAC single tourist Visa fees.

The $100 visa, valid for three months, is acquired at the point of entry or in any of the foreign missions of the participating countries. The issuing country takes 40 per cent while the remaining two take 30 per cent each.

The holder of the single tourist visa can travel around the three partner states without additional charges.

The project came into force in January this year alongside the use of National Identity cards as a travel document within the three countries.

Meanwhile, following the launch of the single tourist visa, participants at the ongoing meeting said there is need to share intelligence information to beat criminals who might want to take advantage of the single visa. Dr Ibrahim Mohammed, Kenya’s Principal Secretary in the Ministry of East African Community affairs, Commerce and Tourism, emphasized the need for security as a pre-requisite to the integration process.

The director for Immigration Uganda, Godfrey Wanzira,  who leads his country’s delegation at the three-day meeting observed that exchanging the watch list was an international standard practice that would help the three countries crack down on insecurity.

East Africa’s single regional tourist visa marks the beginning of free movement of goods and person in the regional. The visa is meant to  reduce bureaucracies involved in getting multiple visas .By adopting the single visa, he added, Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda had opened their doors to over one billion potential tourists from all over the world.

Tanzania and Burundi however have still not signed off on the common regional visa.