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Kenyans to visit South Africa Visa-free starting January next year

South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa and Kenya's President William Ruto at State House, Nairobi on Wednesday, November 9, 2022.  [Twitter]

Kenyans will no longer require Visas to travel to South Africa beginning January 1, 2023, Presidents Cyril Ramaphosa and William Ruto have announced.

The announcement was made at State House, Nairobi where President Ruto held bilateral talks with President Ramaphosa who is in the country on a two-day State visit.

“From January 1, we will have a different regime. Kenyans holding ordinary passports will be able to enter South Africa on a visa-free regime for up to 90 days per calendar year. The two countries have also agreed on a return policy when immigration laws and regulations are breached to make sure that bad elements that try to infiltrate our borders are dealt with firmly and decisively,” said Ruto.

The two Heads of State also agreed on a sustainable mechanism to identify, monitor and resolve non-tariff barriers that limit the trade potential between Kenya and South Africa.

“We can only reap the full benefits of the MOUs and agreements we have signed through the full and effective implementation of all the undertakings we have committed ourselves to,” said Ruto.

Ramaphosa on his part divulged more details of the visa-free agreement.

“You and I also took the opportunity to discuss the thorny issue between our two countries, of visas between South Africa and Kenya, with a view of allowing Kenyans to visit South Africa on a free visa basis. That is without having visas; we agreed that indeed Kenyans should be able to visit South Africa without requiring them to have visas and that this dispensation will commence on January 1, 2023,” he said. 

The two presidents expressed confidence that the issue will be expedited.

“Our officials will speed up the processes of putting this into effect. This dispensation will be available to Kenyans for a 90-day period in a given year. Meaning that you can use the 90 days cumulatively or separately,”

The duo also signed three memoranda of understanding touching on Kenya-South Africa relations.

They include co-operation in the fields of correctional services, cooperation in the fields of housing and human settlement, cooperation between the Kenya School of Government and the National School of Government of South Africa, and the agreement on audio-visual co-production.