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Advice on Tourist Visas and Entry Requirements

passportimageRecent changes in tourist visa requirements, and online applications now available for for KenyaRwanda, Uganda, Tanzania and Zambia, as well as the always evolving rules for minors entering South Africa, are good reminders for us all to stay up to date with official entry requirements when traveling to and from Africa.

Updates:

The KAZA UniVisa acts as a multiple entry visa for travel between Zimbabwe and Zambia.  The UniVisa is US$50, is valid for 30 days and is available at the main local airports, and land border crossings at Livingstone and Victoria Falls. It’s also applicable for day trips to Botswana through the Kazangula border.  However, please note as soon as you depart either Zimbabwe or Zambia for another country, the KAZA visa is no longer valid.  On arrival please indicate you want a UniVisa to be directed to the dedicated counter for the issuance of these visas.

The East Africa Tourist Visa is a single entry visa for foreigners visiting Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda simultaneously available at a cost of US $100.  It is multi-entry within the three countries; however, this expires automatically if a traveler goes outside of the three (3) countries.  An application for an East Africa Tourist Visa may be made manually or online by submitting EATV Form 1. The application may be made prior to the intended date of travel or on arrival at the first port or entry into Kenya, Rwanda or Uganda where applicable.

If you are in transit through Kenya from/to any other East African country and will be in country for 24 hours or less, you are only required to purchase an East Africa visitor’s pass/transit visa at US $20.  Please request this pass on arrival from Immigration and be prepared to provide proof of your itinerary.

The Basics …

For travel to all African countries  your passport must be valid for at least six (6) months after your return date.  Your passport must also have sufficient blank pages (at least two consecutive, double visa pages) for any required visas and for entry and departure stamps. Please note that you will be denied boarding in the USA if you do not have the required blank visa pages.

If you are visiting South Africa as a minor traveling alone, or are traveling to South Africa with children under 18 years of age, contact us for the latest changing requirements with regards to birth certificates and affidavits. However, the good news is that the latest advisory, dated 2 April 2019 , states that only a passport is needed for children under 18 (traveling on a USA passport) if they travel with both parents.

Tourist Visas …

Tourist visas are a requirement for many African countries including Kenya, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.  For each of these countries you can either get a visa on arrival at the port of entry airport, or for some countries, you can apply online.  You can also apply for a visa in advance of travel through the country’s embassy or consulate, either directly or using the services of a 3rd party passport/visa processing agency.  It may save you time when you arrive at the airport, and it certainly saves you from having to take extra cash with you, however, there is likely to be additional expense involved in express mail delivery services at a minimum.

If you are not traveling on a USA passport or have other entry requirement questions, we recommend you call the embassy or consulate of the country you are visiting to confirm the most current requirements. We continually update the information we provide, but rules vary depending on your nationality.

Questions to Ask When You Talk to Us and/or Call the Embassy or Consulate

  • Can the tourist visa be issued at the airport or land border, online or recommended to obtain in advance?
  • Do you need proof of an airline ticket purchase or tour itinerary?
  • How long is the tourist visa valid for?
  • Does the validity of the tourist visa start once issued, or on arrival in the country?
  • How much does it cost and what is the accepted method of payment?
  • Do you need a “single” or “multiple” entry visa based on your planned trip itinerary?
  • How long does it take to process the visa?

Once you’ve gathered all the information, make sure you get the right application form or access the correct website online and follow all the guidelines and instructions.   Please be aware the process can take up to 30 minutes of your time so you’ll need to be patient as you work through it.    While every country has a different application process online,  it’s likely you will need some or all of the following documents and information: a  passport details (pdf copy if uploading online), passport photos, a copy of your itinerary, a local address and contact details.

If you are applying for your visa online, you will want to apply 2-3 weeks in advance to ensure your application is approved and you receive your visa in good time.  Please note that a Kenya visa is only valid for 30 days so if you apply too far in advance, it will expire before your planned return date.  If you prefer to apply via the embassy/consulate before you travel, we recommend you start the visa process at least a month before you depart so you have ample time to get your passport back with the stamped visa. If you need multiple visas for a safari that encompasses several countries it may be worth using a visa agency to avoid a lot of mailing back and forth. Click here for a good option.

Part of what we strive for at African Portfolio is to provide unique, customized itineraries for our clients. We love to involve our clients with the planning and choosing of hotels, routes and safaris. By being informed about your trip every step of the way, you will know exactly what borders you may be crossing, and what cities you will be flying into.  As always we will be providing our valued clients with detailed pre-departure information tailored to your trip so you’ll have all the visa requirements at hand.  This will make it easy to ensure you get the right tourist visa in good time for your trip of a lifetime!

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