Free visa for S. Sudanese to Uganda
By Martin Manyiel Wugol
The Uganda government has waived visa fees to South Sudanese nationals entering Uganda with effect from the first of October. However, the gesture will be tested for a month while expecting South Sudan to reciprocate without which it would be canceled.
Addressing media yesterday, the First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for East African Affairs, Rebecca Kadaga said, South Sudan had been given a month to reciprocate, or else Uganda will reinstate the fees.
“The move to waive visa fees among East African Community (EAC) partner states is premised on the decision by the heads of the state of the EAC made in 2016 to allow free movements of people as laid down in the common market protocol,”
A source at the South Sudan embassy in Kampala confirmed to Juba Monitor “As a true spirit of integration of the people of EAC to achieve common market development”.
Efforts to get comments from relevant departments in Jubawere futile. No comment was forthwith coming from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or the Immigration department.
Well-placed sources, however indicated that Juba was working on the modalities of the visa fees and would unconditionally make a significant step toward achieving the dreams of the EAC of an open market.
Last month, Kenya and South Sudan announced an end to visa requirements for their nationals visiting the two countries in the latest move to boost regional integration.
The decision means South Sudanese traveling to Kenya will be entitled to enter the country free as long as they carry a valid passport and meet other health conditions for travelers. In return, Kenyans will no longer need to apply and pay for South Sudanese visas online or otherwise before travel, an exercise which is already in place.
South Sudan joined the EAC in 2016, but was late in adopting crucial protocols of the Community including the Customs Union and the Common Market Protocol, which allowed harmonization of levies, exemption of certain taxes on produces of the region and visa-less movement in the region.