Kenyans can now visit SA without a visa for three months

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South African President Cyril Ramaphosa (L) is welcomed by Kenya's President William Ruto (R) before their meeting at the State House in Nairobi on November 9, 2022
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa (L) is welcomed by Kenya's President William Ruto (R) before their meeting at the State House in Nairobi on November 9, 2022
SIMON MAINA / AFP

  • Kenyans can now visit South Africa visa-free for up to three months.
  • The agreement was reached when SA President Cyril Ramaphosa visited Kenyan President William Ruto in November last year.
  • Previously, Kenyans could only visit South Africa visa-free for a month.

Kenyans can now live in and enjoy South Africa without a visa for three months a year at most, thanks to a new law that came into effect on 1 January.

This was revealed in a statement by the High Commissioner of the Republic of Kenya to the Republic of SA, Kingdom of Lesotho and Kingdom of eSwatini, Catherine Muigai Mwangi.

She said the move was a "concrete demonstration of the deep bonds of friendships and a commitment to nurturing closer ties."

Kenya and South Africa have found themselves linked when it comes to regional and international matters.

The cessation of hostilities in Ethiopia's Tigray civil war brought together envoys from South Africa and Kenya, supported by former South African deputy president Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka and Kenya's former president, Uhuru Kenyatta.

Talks were held in Pretoria in November and a continuation took place in Nairobi, Kenya in December.

South Africa is the biggest economy in southern Africa and Kenya is the biggest in the East African Community (EAC).

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However, trade between the two nations isn't big. South Africa exports vehicles, fruit, food and beverages and imports include coffee, tea, edible fats and oils, cut flowers and chemical products.

Talks for the visa-free movement occurred last year and in November 2022, the agreement was reached.

Mwangi said: 

The conclusion of the longstanding negotiations on the visa exemption further reflects conscious efforts and political will by the leaders of our two countries to eliminate any barriers to building greater business, cultural and communal relations.

In the past, Kenyan nationals were exempted from paying visa fees if their stay in South Africa was less than 30 days.

If they intended to stay longer, visa fees of R 661 were required.

The visa-free movement dovetails with the African Union (AU) 2018 policy of "free movement of persons protocol."

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The initial announcement of the visa-free movement was made in Nairobi on 9 November last year when SA President Cyril Ramaphosa made his first state visit to the EAC country at the invitation of the President William Ruto.

Coincidentally, it was a year after then-outgoing president Kenyatta's visit to South Africa.

South Africa and Kenya have agreements in the field of correctional services, meaning they can exchange jailed persons, cooperation in housing and resettlement, multi-media and many other fields.


The News24 Africa Desk is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation. The stories produced through the Africa Desk and the opinions and statements that may be contained herein do not reflect those of the Hanns Seidel Foundation.

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