Rwanda starts implementing open border policy

On 3 January 2018 at 09:52

Effective Monday January 1, 2018, all visitors to Rwanda started to get a 30-day visa upon arrival without prior application, the Rwandan Directorate General of Immigration and Emigration has announced.

“To Citizens of the World; Welcome to Rwanda where, starting from Today (01/01/2018), you can ALL get visa upon arrival (without prior application),” reads the Rwanda Directorate General of Immigration and Emigration’s tweet.

Under the new visa policy first announced last November, citizens of other East African Community member states are entitled to six months visitors pass (renewable) upon arrival with no fee.

In view of bilateral agreements, nationals of Benin, Central African Republic, Chad, DRC, Ghana, Guinea, Indonesia, Haiti, Mauritius, Philippines, Senegal, Seychelles, Sao Tome and Principe and Singapore may visit Rwanda without a visa for a period of 90 days.

Previously, only nationals of African countries and few others were getting a visa upon arrival.

Usually, foreign nationals wishing to obtain a Rwandan visa submit their applications online or at the Rwandan diplomatic missions of their country of residence.

Nationals of Australia, Germany, Israel, New Zealand, Sweden, United Kingdom, and United States of America will be given an entry visa valid for a period of 30 days and pay $30 upon arrival without prior application.

However, the migration directorate notes that the visitor’s visa should not be used for employment.

This decision removes the necessity for pre-clearance requirement of acquiring an entry visa before travelling to Rwanda. Nationals of African countries who prefer to continue applying for entry visa online or through Rwanda diplomatic missions may do so if they so wish.

Payment of visa fee where applicable was not removed despite this decision.

“Nationals of all African countries traveling to or transiting through Rwanda obtain an entry visa upon arrival without necessarily making prior application and pay for a visa ($30) where applicable,” reads the statement.

Nationals of the countries mentioned above not exempted from visa may also choose to get visa at Rwanda diplomatic missions (except the UN Mission in New York) or online.

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs in November said that the new visa regime is in line with the African Union spirit of encouraging free movement of people across the continent and is expected to increase the number of tourists and foreign investors coming to Rwanda.

When Rwanda started to issue visa upon arrival to all Africans in 2013, the number of African nationals that were offered visa on arrival at Rwandan entry points increased from 31,054 to 77,377 in 2016.