East Africa Tourist Visa
Traveling to East Africa before was a bit hectic especially if you wanted to visit the whole region but it has been made possible in an inexpensive way through the introduction of the East African tourist visa.
And although it has not been easy and some countries like Tanzania have not yet joined the venture, tourists can now easily travel to Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya easily as long as they acquire the tourist visa. So if you are thinking about having a safari in east Africa, grab yourself a tourist visa to ease your access when traveling. Other counties might also join in the near future to improve on the tourism sector in the country.
The East African tourist visa was made as a joint venture and it was spearheaded by the different heads of state of the three countries that is Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda. This was made to boost create and increase tourist opportunities in East Africa and also to boost the tourism sector in the region.
The East African visa allows tourists to visit the three countries of Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya freely and simultaneously and it is normally eligible only in the three countries and if you decide to go outside these countries, the visa expires immediately. The visa also expires within ninety days of its issuing.
How does one apply for the East African tourist visa?
There are several steps that one has to do when applying for an East African tourist visa and we are going to look at how you apply in the three countries.
You need to submit an application of the East African tourist visa form one either manual or online. These applications can be made at the different diplomatic offices of the Republic of Kenya, the Republic of Uganda and the Republic of Rwanda or at the different immigration offices of the respective countries. The application can also be made at the airports of the above countries and it should be made a day before you travel for better arrangements or when you arrive in the countries they are destined to visit.
Acquiring the tourist visa in Uganda
If Uganda is the first country of your visit to East Africa you can obtain the Visa on Arrival by asking for it, you can do so online, or apply at the Ugandan Embassy in your country. You can get the visa at the entry point at Entebbe International Airport and this is not expensive at all.
It is not expensive because the process does not involve filling in the forms online, no mailing fees and definitely no passport photo. And do not forget the yellow fever card as it will be asked for upon arrival at the airport if you choose Uganda as your starting point.
For other information on how to get the visa, the detailed information on how to apply for a visa is found on the consular local website of the Ugandan embassy.
Acquiring the tourist visa in Kenya
If you are beginning your journey in Kenya, the information is also found on the local embassy website of the consular. You will also need to acquire the visa before you get to Kenya but note that owning the East African tourist visa does not give you a free way to enter Kenya as you will need other documents that will be asked for by the authorities.
Acquiring the tourist visa in Rwanda
And if you are going to start your trip on Rwanda, then you will apply on the online platform which can be got on any local embassy of Rwanda. You will need to type in a search engine Application for the East Africa visa Rwanda and all you need to do is to follow the prompts till you finish filling in the form. And although some countries like Switzerland had been exempted from paying the tourist visa money, it is now mandatory for everyone to pay before they get one in Rwanda.
The requirements needed when applying for the visa
A colored passport sized photo with no head scarves, cap, glasses and a white background which is to be glued on the application form.
You need a visa application letter that is to be issued to the country that you are going to.
You will also need to show proof of financial stability in order to prove that you can sustain yourself during your tour in the three countries.
You will also need a visa fee of 100 dollars and a filled in application form of the East African tourist visa. And the visa is a single entry one.
Any travel documents are allowed as long as long as they are eligible but you should note that the documents expire after six months and all the people who are planning to travel to the three countries should apply for themselves and the visa cannot be extended.
Who is eligible for the East African tourist visa and the type of visa?
Everyone is eligible when it comes to getting the East African tourist visa irrespective of their origin and I have grouped them below with detailed information about each group, how eligible they are and what they need to acquire the tourist visa. The visa is a multiple visa meaning you can use them in the three countries.
The Nationals or Citizens
By Nationals I mean people from the three sister countries of Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda. These can use their National identity cards to travel as these act like travel documents as long as they are in the region. You can use your National identity cards to visit the countries for almost six months and this was put into effect in January 2014. This has eased the travel of the citizens.
The Visa is only eligible to foreigners who want other come and visit the three countries of Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya at the same time and for tourism reasons only. The visas can be issued at any of the local embassies of the three countries in the respective countries. This type of Visa is a multiple entry visa which can be used in the three countries but it expires after 90 days and if you have come with an aim of working, it is not allowed.
Students who are citizens of the three countries can use their National identity cards as well to travel in any of the three countries. Students tend to travel to the different countries some for studies, leisure and the introduction of the national identity cards in the individual states has allowed easy access to the East African countries.
Expatriates are people who are visitors in a specific country but have lived there for a long time and have acquire secondary citizenship. these normally stay in the country due to contract work or through marriage. All the Expatriates living in any of the three countries have been exempted from acquiring the tourists visa and they can now get the inter- state pass to travel in any of the three countries and this expires at six months. And they will also need a valid resident permit in order to be considered for an inter- pass.
Once people get the East African tourist visa, they are allowed to travel in the three countries of Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda freely and they do not have to pay for a return visa although once they leave and go to any other country that is not part of the arrangement, they have to pay once hey decode to make a return journey.
The visa allows you to visit all the tourist attraction sites in the three countries and the only thing you need is to pay for the safari company that is taking you around the different tourist attraction sites and you will need to note the following:
The trip to the three counties that is Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda is not fixed in a way that you can travel to any of these in any order that you want.
The yellow fever vaccination card is compulsory when visiting any of these countries and even if you have the tourist visa without the yellow card, you will not be allowed into the country.
The officials will also need to see a return air travel ticket because they need to record your entry and exit out of their country to avoid illegal stay in the country.
The application date for the tourist visa is two days especially in Kenya.
In conclusion, the system to registering and applying online for the tourist visa might have some hiccups, but it has greatly improved the travel arrangements of the different tourists and also improved the political relationships of the three countries. And we hope that the other remaining East African countries can join to provide easy access to the various tourist attraction sites in East Africa.