South Africa has scrapped short-term visa requirements for Kenyans travelling for studies, business and government duties.
Government officials on official business will be granted free, three-month visas with immediate effect.
The Kenyan business and academia communities will be issued with multiple entry visas valid for up to 10 years, in the system that is effective December 1.
Frequent fliers will also be eligible for three-year multiple entry visas.
Kenyan students in South Africa stand to benefit greatly as they have been allowed to get study visas and acquire new ones as soon as the need arises.
The common practice for short-term visa requirements imposes a travel restriction of 180 days.
With the new directive, travel restrictions between the two countries are set to reduce.
The announcement followed an agreement on Monday, between Kenya’s Interior Cabinet Secretary Dr Fred Matiang’i and South Africa’s Home Affairs minister Malusi Gigaba.
Immigration Principal Secretary Gordon Kihalangwa and Kenya’s High Commissioner to South Africa Amb Jean Kamau were also present during the talks held in Pretoria.
A statement by the Interior ministry notes that the new directive on visas will unlock the two countries’ tourism and business potential.
Currently, Africans visiting Kenya for less than 30 days do not require Kenyan visas while those intending to stay longer are issued with visas on arrival at the point of entry or through the e-visa platform
“The agreement reflects the doctrine of reciprocity after Kenya set up a more responsive and straightforward online application process for short-term visas for visitors from all African countries, a move that President Uhuru Kenyatta envisioned would foster Pan-African brotherhood and fraternity,” the statement read.
The two countries have also agreed to step up joint efforts against illegal immigration and protect the integrity of each other’s travel documents.
They are consulting on strategies to mitigate transnational crimes such as human trafficking and smuggling.