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Kenya’s President William Ruto (right) with his South African counterpart Cyril Ramaphosa during their meeting in Nairobi on November 9, 2022. The two witnessed an agreement that could end decades of complaints from Nairobi on immigration policies by South Africa. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU | NMG

Kenyans’ visa-free stay in S. Africa comes with costs if one overstays

Kenyans planning to travel to South Africa will from January next year enjoy a visa-free stay of up to 90 days per calendar year, but those who overstay their welcome, or enter illegally will pay a huge penalty.

On Wednesday, Kenyan President William Ruto and his South African counterpart Cyril Ramaphosa witnessed an agreement that could end decades of complaints from Nairobi on immigration policies by South Africa.

It means that Kenyans will no longer need to apply for e-visas or regular visas before travelling to South Africa for business or tourism. The tradition has been that Kenyans apply for a ‘free’ visa from an agent of the South African High Commission who charges an ‘application fee’ to handle the paperwork. The visa often comes out after four working days.

With the new agreement, all Kenyans will need is an invitation and return ticket, as well as proof of vaccination for yellow fever and Covid-19; and proof of financial ability to stay in South Africa during the intended duration for tourists.

“This has been a challenge that has been with us for many years. Under the new dispensation, we can build a greater relationship,” said President William Ruto at a joint press conference in Nairobi. His South African counterpart said the deal could take business and tourism “to greater heights.”

Deportation costs