May people would like to travel to Rwanda. This may be for business, leisure or to visit relatives and friends. If you are planning to visit Rwanda, you should have a valid passport. In other cases, any other internationally acceptable travel documents including Rwanda Visa is acceptable. Other documents would be regional identification documents that are agreed upon between countries.
Does Everybody Need a Rwanda Visa?
Not all visitors travelling to the land of a thousand hills will Rwanda Visa. However, they must have passports valid at least for 6 months or other travel documents. People from the following countries do not need Rwanda Visa for a period of between 30 to 90 days. They include:
- South Africa
- the United States of America
- Democratic Republic of Congo
- United Kingdom
- Hong Kong
Requirements You Need for a Rwanda Visa
- All those applying for Rwanda Visa should present a passport. The passport must have a validity for at least 6 months before expiry.
- The aapplicants must present an appropriately completed one (1) visa permit application form. You can download the Rwanda Visa permit application form here. Fill the form in your own hand writing or one that is in type.
- One applying for the Rwanda Visa must present two passport photos. The photos must have a white background showing both ears clearly.
- One must present a signed associated letter detailing the reason for your entering Rwanda.
- You will need to present an invitation letter together with / or confirmation of your hotel accommodation reservation.
- Provide a copy of your yellow fever vaccine Certificate. Note that only a copy can be submitted along with application as a requirement.
- For exceptional cases for applicants with no yellow fever shots a doctor’s recommendation must be processes. This is often the case with senior citizen and people whose health conditions do not permit this vaccine.
- There must be a proof that you made payment to the High Commission’s Bank Account. The fee is not refundable or neither is it transferable.
- One will need a stamped or prepaid, registered as well as self addressed envelope. This should come together with an application if it was submitted through mail. On the other hand, an applicant could organize to collect their passport through a courier.
Rwanda Visa Types and Validity
TYPE OF VISA
East African Travel Visa
How to apply for a Rwanda Visa
There are two ways for which you can apply for your Rwanda visa
The first option is:
- You must download a Visa application form from the link given above.
- Fill in the Rwanda Visa permit application PDF
- Present the fully filled application form to the mission in person or through post
Option Two. You may apply online for a single-entry visa on this link.
In order to obtain a Visa to Rwanda, you are required to submit your applications. This is at the Embassy of Rwanda or Diplomatic missions in your country of residence. This will enable the processing of your Rwanda Visa to start straight away.
For those coming from countries where Rwanda has an Embassy or Diplomatic Mission, the work is made easier. You should request for an entry facility on line. This will be used to obtain a visa on any official point of entry in Rwanda.
The Rwanda visa should not used for employment.
Most Rwandese High Commission and Embassy no longer accepts hard cash. Postal orders or even cheques are no longer acceptable for the visa applications.
Whoever is applying for a visa must pay or transfer online the money. This is into the account of the Rwanda High Commission, embassy or consular. You will then submit in person or post the documents showing proof of payment.
Rwanda Visa fees
It is important to note that in case one’s application is refused, or withdrawn by the applicant, fees are no refundable.
In view of bilateral agreements, nationals of the following Countries may visit Rwanda without a visa. This is for up to 90 days: Hong Kong, Philippines, Mauritius, Singapore and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Rwanda Visa Exempt countries
All the East African Community countries are Rwanda Visa Exempt. This include holders of EAC Partner states passports including Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi and Uganda. They shall be issued with 6 months renewable visitors pass upon arrival at no fee.
Rwanda Visa issued Upon arrival
A Rwanda visa valid for up to 30 days on arrival without prior application will be issued to nationals of all African countries. Others on this list include Australia, Germany, Israel and New Zealand. Also, in this list is Sweden, United Kingdom, and United States of America. The fee for this is US $ 30 payable up on arrival.
Holders of US Travel Document
Applicants with the United States travel documents must obtain visas before traveling to Rwanda. Failure to obtain visas from the Embassy or online will result in refusal to board the plane to Rwanda.
New Rwanda Visa Regime
As of the 16th of November 2017, a new visa regime for the Republic of Rwanda was established. The Directorate General of Immigration and Emigration would like to inform the public of the following New Visa Regime:
- Reciprocity – Rwanda will grant visas free of charge with 90 days validity. This is to the following countries on a reciprocal basis: Benin, Central African Republic, Chad, Ghana, Indonesia, Haiti, Senegal, Seychelles and Sao Tome and Principe. This is in addition to the Democratic Republic Congo, East African Community Partner States, Mauritius, Philippines, and Singapore. This takes immediate effect.
- Rwanda Visa waiver for Diplomatic and Service Passports – The Government of Rwanda has entered into a Visa Waiver Agreement for holders of Diplomatic and Service Passports. The countries under this category include Djibouti, Ethiopia, Gabon, Guinea, India, Israel, Morocco and Turkey.
- 30 Days visa upon arrival – Citizens of all countries to get visa upon arrival without prior application. This came into effect starting the 1st of January 2018. Before that, only nationals of African countries and a few others were getting a visa upon arrival.
- COMESA Member States to get 90 days visa upon arrival – Citizens of COMESA member states to get 90 days visa on arrival. This is up on payment of the prescribed fee. This is provided by Article 4 of the COMESA Protocol on Free Movement of Persons, Labour, Services, Right of Establishment and Residence. Rwanda ratified the protocol on the 13th of July 2016. Currently, citizens of COMESA member states were getting 30 days on arrival as other holders of African Passports.
- Rwandans living abroad with dual nationality allowed to use national IDs on entry. Waive visa fee to Rwandans travelling on foreign passports in possession of a Rwandan Identity Card for countries that permit dual nationality only. Initially, Rwandans travelling on a foreign passport in possession of a valid Rwandan passport were the only ones granted a visa free on arrival.
- Foreign residents to use their Resident ID cards for entry. Returning residents holding valid residence permits with corresponding resident cards will be allowed to use them on entry. This include using electronic gates (Automated Passenger Clearance System) at Kigali International Airport.
WORK PERMITS FOR RWANDA
Most nationals are required to apply for a visa in order to enter and stay in Rwanda. You can find an overview of the different types of visas, from tourist to job seeker ones, on the website of the Rwanda Directorate General of Immigration and Emigration.
As an expatriate planning on working in Rwanda, you also need to apply for a (work) permit. This is in addition to your Rwanda visa, as the latter only allows you entry into the country.
Permits for working in Rwanda are split into a number of different categories. They are as follows; first, they are split between temporary and permanent work permits. There are various different types of permits available, depending on the reason for your stay in Rwanda. For example, there are five types of different temporary permits that describe different natures of employment:
- A skilled worker on an occupation on demand (H1)
- A skilled worker sponsored by an organization (H2)
- Journalist or media (H3)
- Semiskilled or artisan workers (H4)
- International Organization employees (H5)
In addition, there are many more permit categories available for different purposes, from student passes to investor or entrepreneur permits.
A set of relevant documents in either French or English is required to complete the application and gain your work permit.