Kenya and South Sudan have recently reached an agreement for free visa travel for citizens of the neighboring countries, an official from South Sudan has confirmed.
Mawien Mako, an Ambassador at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that a deal was reached in early September and that visa fees will be lifted from October. The agreement was signed by the ministers of the interior of both Kenya and South Sudan.
The announcement follows comments previously made by the president of the Republic of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta, in which he promised visa-free access to Kenya for Ugandan nationals, as well as citizens of all East African Community (EAC) countries. The EAC was founded in 1967 to promote co-operation between East African nations and is composed of Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda.
Kenyatta also previously said he didn’t expect reciprocity in his intention to grant visa-free status, but it now appears that Kenya and South Sudan have come to an agreement to lift mutual visa fees.
Countries Able to Travel to Kenya Visa-free
The new agreement means that travelers from South Sudan will join the citizens of 43 countries who are able to visit Kenya without paying for a visa, including a number of other African nations such as Sudan, Uganda, and Tanzania.
Citizens of South Africa and Malaysia are visa-exempt for Kenya for stays of up to 30 days, while the majority of visa-free travelers to Kenya are able to visit the country for up to 90 days without obtaining travel authorization. Ugandan and Rwandan citizens are able to travel to Kenya without a passport, as they are able to use a national identification card to gain access to the country.
All other foreign travelers who wish to visit Kenya are required to obtain a visa to visit the country. A number of foreign nationalities are able to obtain an electronic visa for Kenya through an online application up to 7 days before traveling to the country. The eVisa for Kenya allows its holders to spend a total of 90 days in the country. The Kenya visa on arrival available to select foreign nationals also permits a maximum stay of 90 days.
Citizens of an additional 14 countries are able to obtain a visa for Kenya by submitting an application to a Kenyan embassy or consulate in their country of residence.
Visa Requirements for South Sudan
The new travel arrangement also means that Kenya has become one of the few countries whose citizens are able to travel to South Sudan with a free visa. The majority of foreign visitors to the land-locked African county are required to obtain a visa from an embassy or consulate of South Sudan before traveling, with the exception of a small number of nationalities who are able to obtain a Sudanese visa on arrival.
The only travelers who are able to get a visa on arrival for South Sudan at border entry checkpoints are citizens of a few countries in south-west Africa: Botswana, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda.
Following the new deal, Citizens of Kenya are now able to obtain a visa on arrival without paying visa fees. Likewise, South Sudan nationals are now able to cross the border into Kenya without being expected to first pay for a travel document.