Rwanda announces new visa regime easing access to the country

The Directorate General of Rwanda Immigration and Emigration has released a new visa regime.

The new regime frees hundreds of countries from upon arrival visa fees.

The update was published on March 10, 2020 and took immediate effect.

The new visa policy scraps fees for over ninety member states of the African Union, the Commonwealth and the Francophonie for a 30-day stay.

Citizens of the East African Community will not pay entry visa fees while travelling with ordinary, service and diplomatic passports. They will be issued an entry visa up to six months stay.

The new rules grant another batch of countries a 90-day valid visa free of charge with an ordinary passport. These countries are Angola, Benin, Central African Republic, Chad, Cote d’lvoire, Democratic Republic of Congo and The Federation of Saint Christopher and Nevis.

The list also includes Ghana, Guinea, Indonesia, Haiti, Mauritius, Philippines, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Sao Tome and Principe, Singapore and the State of Qatar.

Holders of diplomatic and service (official) passports from countries that have entered into a Visa Waiver Agreement with Rwanda or made unilateral decisions will be granted a 90-day entry without visa requirements including fees.

These countries are Angola, Benin, People’s Republic of China (including Public Affairs passport), Côte d’Ivoire, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Ethiopia and The Federation of Saint Christopher and Nevis.

Other countries are Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Indonesia, India, the state of Israel, Haiti, Mauritius, Mozambique, Morocco, Namibia, Philippines, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Singapore, South Africa, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.

According to the immigration office, the citizens of all countries not mentioned above will continue receiving a 30-day visa upon arrival without prior application and they will be required to pay a prescribed fee.

Rwanda nationals living abroad with dual nationality are exempted from paying visa fees while travelling on foreign passports in possession of a Rwandan Identity Card.

Foreign residents having valid residence permit with resident cards will continue to be allowed to use them on entry, including using electronic gates (Automated Passenger Clearance System) at Kigali International Airport.

The new regulations are expected to ease access to Rwanda for a significant number of countries and increase chances of Rwanda hosting global summits.

The development could also make it easier for Rwandans to access countries from across the list of beneficiary countries.

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