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Saturday, June 20, 2015

Kenya laments South Africa’s strict visa rules for Kenyans

Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Amina Mohammed
Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Amina Mohammed, said South Africa slammed strict visa regulations on Kenyan citizens visiting South Africa.

Mohammed said the action was a violation bilateral agreement signed by both countries. “They have violated a number of provisions in our bilateral arrangements,” Mohammed said on Friday, adding that, the new regulations may affect trade between the two countries.

South Africa’s new visa regulations require Kenyans to submit applications for clearance to travel and wait for seven working days to confirm whether a visa would be issued.

Mohammed said there was largely no guarantee that those submitting the visa applications would be granted after the seven-day wait.

She said this provision has an effect on those planning to travel on business trips to South Africa.

A plan by Kenya to impose strict visa rules on South Africans in July 2014 was dropped.

South Africa, dropped its earlier relaxed visa regime that allowed Kenyans to transit through South African airports at no charge and without visa.

Under the new dispensation, Kenyans applying for South African visa are to pay 60 dollars as processing fees and 150 dollars for visa.

Also, Kenyan citizens have been excluded from applying for South African visa at the port of entry.

“These regulations are a surprise to us. They are even a surprise to the South African Foreign Minister. They are a barrier to trade,” Mohammed said.

A South African government delegation is expected in Nairobi shortly to begin discussions on the raft of measures that Kenyan officials feel have violated the existing bilateral arrangements between the two countries.

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