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South Africa now relaxes visa rules for Kenyans

Kenyans studying in South Africa will be issued with a long-term visa in line with the duration of their courses.

The renewals of such visas will also be done in South Africa and the students will not have to travel back to Kenya.

The Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery and South African Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba on Tuesday announced that Kenyans travelling through South Africa to neighbouring states will not require a transit visa, as has been the case.

“Kenyans who study ‘critical skills’ will be issued with immediate permanent residence in South Africa,” Mr Gigaba said.

The officials, while speaking during a joint press conference at Harambee House, said both countries had discussed and agreed on mutual ways of dealing with transnational crimes including terrorism, money laundering and illegal firearms.

Kenya has also agreed to place an airline liaison officer at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport to monitor possible illegal migration from other countries to South Africa.


Kenyans wishing to travel to South Africa will also pay less following the agreement.

Though they did not specify how long a visa application would take, Mr Nkaissery said the period had been reduced to less than five working days.

South Africa also intends to enter into a visa waiver agreement with Kenya.

Kenya had submitted a proposal for waiver for government officials holding ordinary passports including control measures on the issuance of such documents. Currently, Kenyan diplomatic passport holders do not require a visa to South Africa.

The agreement is a relief to Kenya, coming over a year after South Africa imposed tough rules on Kenyans seeking to visit that country, besides imposing a service charge of about Sh6,000 for applications.

Kenya had initially retaliated with similar sanctions but suspended them in August after South African authorities asked for talks.

It had been worse for Kenyans, because the new tough rules did not allow them to apply for visa renewals from within South Africa, meaning they had to return to Kenya to apply new visas.