Kenya offers visas on arrival to Africans

President Kenyatta says Africans will be eligible to receive a visa at the port of entry.

Travellers at Kenya's main airport in Nairobi. Kenya will now offer visas to Africans at the port of entry. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

IN SUMMARY

  • AU has set a 2018 deadline for the removal of visa requirements for all African citizens in all African countries.
  • Only 14 countries offer visas on arrival for Africans.
  • EAC nationals will only need an identity card to work and do business in Kenya.

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Any African travelling to Kenya will now not be required to apply for a visa before leaving for the East African country.

This is after President Uhuru Kenyatta abolished the pre-visa requirement on Tuesday when he took the oath of office for a second and final term.

"Today, I am directing that any African wishing to visit Kenya will be eligible to receive a visa at the port of entry," Mr Kenyatta said.

The move is in line with the Free Movement of Persons and the African Passport policy adopted by the African Union at the 27th ordinary session held in Kigali, Rwanda in July 2016. African states are expected to adopt the African passport and work closely with the AU Commission to facilitate its issuance at the national level based on international, continental and national policy provisions and continental design and specifications.

The passport issuance, however, is yet to take off.

AU has set a 2018 deadline for the removal of visa requirements for all African citizens in all African countries.

"To underscore Kenya’s commitment, this shall not be done on the basis of reciprocity," Mr Kenyatta said.

"The freer we are to travel and live with one another, the more integrated and appreciative of our diversity, we will become," President Kenyatta added.

Only 14 countries offer visas on arrival for Africans. They include Rwanda, Seychelles, Uganda, Djibouti, Somalia, Madagascar, Comoros, Mauritius, Togo, Guinea Bissau, Mauritania, Mozambique and Benin.

AU Commission chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat said he was delighted by President Kenyatta's announcement on the visa-on-arrival for Africans.

"Congratulations on this historic decision! I urge all African states that have not yet done so, to take similar measures towards free movement for all Africans across Africa," he said in a tweet.

EAC nationals

President Kenyatta also said nationals of the six-member states that make up the East African Community will be treated as citizens.

"Like your Kenyan brothers and sisters, you will need only your identity card. You can now work, do business; own property, farm and if you wish, and find a willing partner, you can marry and settle in Kenya," he said.

-Additional reporting by Victor Kiprop.

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