The era of a queue at various embassies day and night for the purpose of acquiring an entry visa is fading away quickly, thank to the introduction of the electronic visa system. Here we present to you various African countries that offer electronic visa (evisa) systems.
What’s the electronic visa (evisa) system?
An electronic visa popularly called evisa is a system of visa whereby the applicant apply online and the result is sent by electronic mail (email) into the applicant inbox.
It is quite embarrassing and preposterous to struggle for an ordinary visitors visa at any embassy like someone obtaining long-term visas such as relocation or student visas.
WHY DO FOREIGN MISSIONS PREFER PHYSICAL PRESENCE
Besides the recently introduced biometric system adopted by various embassies which is just a formality because all international travellers will still undergo the same procedure on arrival at their destination Airport. There is nothing spectacular converging at any embassy for a visa.
DISADVANTAGES OF PHYSICAL PRESENCE AT EMBASSY
1. It is a waste of man-hours
2. It exposed the visa applicant to danger and health hazards.
3. Arm robbers have turned the venue and routes leading to various embassies into the easiest spot to commit crime because they know for sure that applicants must be in possession of foreign currency and vital documents. I was once a victim along Eleke Crescent, Victoria Island, Lagos, Nigeria while returning from an embassy.
4. Applicants spent more resources on human and material whenever they appear at the embassy.
5. Embassies make more money at their designated Embassies or Visa Application Centres. It is a known fact that most Embassies especially the Western countries are making a huge profit from non-refundable visa application fees. They provide scanty services but charge huge unquestionable non-refundable fees. That’s the reason why most of them refused to change to the modern system of visas which is evisa. Furthermore, the rate of visa denial or rejection is so high compared to the number of applications received, that you wondered if the embassies concerned have not turned their missions into money-making ventures.
6. Countries such as Canada and the United States are known for making huge money from Nigeria visa applicants, no matter how you satisfy their draconian visa requirements or pay heavy school fees, your chance of getting these two countries visas are very slim. They make noises about their needs for immigrants to boost their workforce and cleverly advertise to lure visa applicants to apply for visas. Whereas, they know quite well that the chances of getting the visa are slim. What’s an absurdity.
ADVANTAGES OF ELECTRONIC VISA
1. Electronic visa eliminated most of the anomalies enumerated above.
2. Application and the processing of visa is done at the convenience of your home.
3. No physical interview thereby eliminating humanly biased.
4. The result is faster and personal, with no need for the stress and apprehensions experienced while waiting for visa results at the embassy.
5. It leads to the introduction of visa on arrival.
AFRICAN COUNTRIES THAT OFFERS AN ELECTRONIC VISA (EVISA) SYSTEM
These are the African countries that offer electronic visa popularly called evisa:
Rwanda is our number one pick because when it comes to the evisa system Rwanda of today is highly civilised and exceptional in the international arena. Rwanda evisa system is not exploitative but a foreign visitor’s friendly.
All East African citizens are granted free visas on arrival. The visa is valid for 6 months. All citizens of the African Union, the commonwealth and The Francophonie are allowed a visa-free entry or visa on arrival valid for 30 days. Furthermore, anyone who is a citizen of Singapore, Qatar etc. are granted 90 days visa on arrival. Equally, anyone not mentioned above can apply for a Rwandan evisa and get a visa on arrival.
Kenya as a tourist-oriented country happened to be one of the earliest countries that introduced electronic visas to facilitate the entry of visitors. Kenyan immigration authorities allow about 148 countries to apply for its single entry, courtesy and transit visas. Anyone from those approved countries coming on tourism, business or medical purposes is granted evisa which is a single entry visa on arrival.
The visa allows the holder permission to stay in Kenya for a period of 90 days, and 72 hours for anyone on transit.
Nigeria is operating a vibrant electronic visa system, which allows business travellers, tourists or regular visitors from all over the world to apply for evisa online. The main point or issue which anyone interested in obtaining Nigeria’s evisa popularly called (VOA) visa on arrival is to follow strictly the issue of applying online and wait for approval before setting out or boarding a plane. The validity of the visa is 90 days for a single entry and 72 hours for anyone on transit.
Please note that you cannot board a plane unless you received approval from the Nigeria immigration authority.
Gabon is granting electronic visas that are much more liberal than many other African countries. The beauty of the Gabonese evisa system is that an applicant can apply for multiple entries depending on your capacity to pay the non-refundable fees. Furthermore, you have the freedom of choosing how long you intend to stay. The important aspect of the Gabonese evisa is that you must apply online prior to your trip to Gabon.
STILL ON AFRICAN COUNTRIES THAT OFFER ELECTRONIC VISA (EVISA) SYSTEM
Angola evisa system is moving wider than some of their counterparts in that in addition to it offering a single entry visa on arrival, it granted some long-term evisa on arrival. Angola evisa allows the holder to stay for 90 days within a year. Unlike some other countries Angolan evisa has a validity of two years from the day of arrival, it depends on the validity of your passport.
6. SAO TOME AND PRINCIPE
The island country of Sao Tome and Principe can pride itself as one the earliest country to introduce an electronic visa system. Business and tourist visas are granted through the evisa system. Anyone coming for business or tourism purposes are allowed to apply online and be granted the visa on arrival. The visa holder is allowed 30 days entry and the visa has 30 days validity.
Sao Tome and Principe allows citizens of the Schengen zone, Canadians, The United States etc to enter the country visa-free.
7. BENIN REPUBLIC
Besides the fact that all citizens of the African Union are exempted from applying for visas to enter Benin. All other countries are free to apply for Benin evisa. The evisa is applying online for business traveller, tourism or transit visas. The applicant has a choice of choosing between 30 and 90 days.
Furthermore, please note that you have to apply for the evisa on arrival at least seven days prior to your departure for Benin.
8. SOUTH SUDAN
The newest African country is granting 206 countries approval to apply for a South Sudanese electronic visa for either a single entry or 6 months multiple entries evisa. Any other countries not on the list are free to apply online for business and tourist evisa on arrival.
Zimbabwe, a South African country with emphasise on tourism, operates a vibrant electronic visa system that offers tourists, visitors, business, conference and transit evisa on arrival. The system divided countries into different categories. Some are allowed visa-free entry while others are permitted to apply online for evisa on arrival.
Zambia like many other East African counterparts operates electronic visas for countries not permitted under its visa-free policy which enables citizens of about 63 countries to visit Zambia visa-free entry. Anyone intending to get the evisa should apply online before the commencement of the trip to Zambia.
STILL ON AFRICAN COUNTRIES THAT OFFER ELECTRONIC VISA (EVISA) SYSTEM
Egypt operates an electronic visa system for anyone coming for tourism purposes, business travellers and those on transit. The high point of the Egyptian system is that it is compulsory to apply 7 days before the commencement of your trip. The evisa on arrival allows the holder to stay for 30 days and has a 90 days validity.
Tanzanian visa policy is similar to other East African countries in that it operates electronic visas with a liberal attitude towards foreign visitors. Tanzania allows 29 countries to enter through the evisa on arrival. More than 68 countries are permitted to enter visa-free. Tanzanian Immigration allows foreign visitors, business travellers, tourists, transit passengers and others to process evisa and enter through evisa on arrival.
Ethiopia operates a robust electronic visa system. Different categories of visa are granted through the evisa system. Short-term visas such as business traveller, conference, tourist, visitors, journalist, service personnel, investor, Non-government-official, etc are granted through the evisa system.
Ethiopian electronic visas are granted on a single entry basis and they are valid for 90 days. The validity commences from the day you stamped your visa on arrival on your travel document.
Ghanaian authorities issued one of the fastest electronic visas in Africa. Anyone on urgent function or business in Ghana are granted evisa 48 hours on application online. Business travellers and tourists are granted evisa. The evisa is valid for single and multiple entries. That is part of the Ghanaian policy of ease of doing business.
Malawi, a Southern African tourist-oriented country operates electronic visas to facilitate the issuance of short term visas devoid of the usual operational bottlenecks. Malawi issue evisa such as tourist, business, official personnel, conference, diplomatic, etc. The evisa could be a single entry or multiple entries depending on the circumstances. The validity of a single entry evisa is usually 3 months, while multiple entries are six or twelve months.
Guinea, a West African country operates various categories of electronic visas mainly short-term visas, such as service personnel visas, tourist visas, business traveller visas, visitors visas, investor visas, transit visas, conference visas etc. The system allows an applicant to place in a visa application online. The system is fast and it is possible to get an answer within 72 hours of submission. All you need to do is to present your travel document at the point of entry and you will be issued with an evisa on arrival.
Besides its policy of visa-free which enables a large number of countries to enter Bissau visa-free, the country equally has an electronic visa system that enables some countries to apply for different visas online and on getting responses, the applicant can board a plane and on landing the person can present his/her travel document for stamping of evisa on arrival.
The Guinea Bissau evisa is valid for 90 days and there are possibilities of extension on request.
18. SOUTH AFRICA
South Africa operates a robust electronic visa system. The evisa system is adopted to grant faster entry into South Africa without recourse to any Embassy in the applicant’s country of residence.
Eligible foreign citizens who intend to come to South Africa for tourism, business, conference, transit etc is free to apply for the South Africa visa via a simple online application form, to receive an approved evisa electronically linked to the applicant travel document.
The South African evisa is a single entry visa on arrival that allows the holder to stay in the country for 30 days.
Djibouti a strategically situated country on the northeast coast of the Horn of Africa is our last pick of African countries that offers an electronic visa system. Due to its importance by location, Djibouti grant evisa of different categories to countries that transact business and social services, largely shipping businesses in the Horn of Africa.
Business travellers, Tourists, People on transit and many more can get Djibouti electronic visa by placing in an application online giving their full details and paying the appropriate fees and submitting accordingly. The response is usually very fast. The evisa issued has a single entry and is valid for 90 days.
THE BOTTOM LINE ON AFRICAN COUNTRIES THAT OFFERS AN ELECTRONIC VISA SYSTEM
This is where we shall stop for now on African countries that offer electronic visa systems. For more countries that operate a similar system, we shall include more in due course.
Importantly, please note that an electronic visa is mainly an online transaction that requires a response from the country you intend to travel, therefore you must receive a response. Never travel unless you receive express approval from the country concerned.