South Sudan Removes Visa Fees for Ugandans
The government of South Sudan says it is removing entry visa fees for Ugandan citizens entering South Sudan beginning Monday 4th October 2021.
The announcement came the same day the Ugandan government effected their visa waiver for South Sudan on Friday 1st, October 2021.
In the principle of reciprocity, the Government of the Republic of South Sudan today has directed the Ministry of Interior through its Directorate of Nationality, Passport and Immigration to waive visa entry requirements for the Uganda citizens holding valid passports issued by the government of the Republic of Uganda with effect from 4th, October 2021,” Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Deng Dau Deng announced at a press conference in Juba on Friday.
Ugandan Ambassador to South Sudan Ronnie Balya welcomed the move by the government of South Sudan to remove entry visa fees for Ugandan citizens entering the country.
he further said, “I want to thank the government of the Republic of South Sudan for this wonderful decision to abolish visa requirements for Ugandans traveling to South Sudan. In reciprocating our similar decision based on guidance by the leadership in the spirit of the East African Community,”
South Sudan’s Inspector General of Police, Majak Akec, says Ugandans and South Sudanese citizens holding other passports will pay visa fees while entering either of the two countries.
while in the press interview, Akec said. If there will be some Ugandans and South Sudanese entering both South Sudan and Uganda using different or non-passport of South Sudan and Uganda. We will not consider them and they will pay visa fees,
Both Kenya and Uganda have waived visa entry fees for South Sudanese citizens in a bid to implement the decision of the 36th meeting of the Council of Ministers of the East African Community ratifying the protocol on the Free Movement of Persons within the East African region.
In April 2016, South Sudan joined the East African Community which includes Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, and Burundi.
Earlier this year in March, at least 65 Ugandans have been arrested in South Sudan for not having valid visas, a community representative.
The Ugandan nationals were picked up because they had expired or no visas, according to James Nsereko, a member of the Ugandan community in South Sudan’s capital Juba.
The arrests came after South Sudan’s government announced in March that all foreign nationals must have legal documents to remain in the country which also led to hiking up of the visa fee from $50 to $100.
Following the announcement, the police and military started arresting people who did not have visas or their visas had expired. They carried out raids day and night according to Nsereko.
He said many Ugandans living in South Sudan are employed in the informal sector and rarely renew their visas unless they have to go back to Uganda.
He also said there are no official figures on how many Ugandans live in Juba or South Sudan but the number is in the thousands.
Ugandans staged a protest outside Uganda’s Embassy in Juba earlier in March this year against the increase in visa fees and the arrests of their compatriots.
Embassy officials have promised to address their complaints but which has now yielded fruits.
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