After years of paying higher visa fees, travelers can now save a few bucks when planning a trip to East Africa.
As of January 1, 2014 you can enter Rwanda, Kenya and/or Uganda with a single East African Visa (EAV).
If you are planning to visit two or more of these countries, the East African Visa will cut down on the paperwork and cost normally involved in buying individual country visas.
The joint entry-visa is valid for 90 days and costs US$100, versus US$50 for Kenya, US$30 for Rwanda, and US$50 for Uganda.
The 90-day visas will not be extended, and do not allow visitors to work in any of the three countries.
The EAV can be obtained at the embassy of any of the participating countries.
Tourist officials believe the visa will increase the number of tourists visiting the region and allow for increased commerce. It will certainly make it easier for individuals and tour companies to arrange multi-national itineraries that involve crossing borders to visit attractions in neighboring countries.
Rwanda is contributing by providing the software and personalization of the visa stickers to Kenya and Uganda. This software will allow the three countries to share fees, tourist information and tourism data.
Tanzania was initially interested in joining the scheme, but dropped out for various political and logistical reasons.
It may change course in future, which would be a great thing for travelers, as Tanzania is often visited at the same time as Kenya.
As of December 29, 2014, Tanzania is still “weighing the possible impacts of the joint visa before committing ourselves to that project,” according to Lazaro Nyalandu, Tanzanian Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism.
A visa for Tanzania currently costs $US100.
In the future, neighboring Burundi may join the scheme as well.
Travelers can apply for visas and find information online at the following embassy websites:
More about visas on AFKTravel: Which African Countries Require Visas, And How To Get Them
Joe Kennedy contributed to this article.