Since the introduction of East Africa Tourist Visas, traveling between Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya has been made easy. It would have been more fun in Tanzania and Burundi had also bought the same idea. An East Africa Tourist Visa costs $100 each and grants multiple entry into Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya.
These visas are not applicable for Tanzania, Burundi and Congo. Your Visa expires immediately when you enter these countries and you will have to apply for another one before returning to Kenya, Uganda or Rwanda. If traveling within the countries where it is applicable, you can travel back n forth without any issues.
In this article i show you the validity of such visas, how to apply for an East Africa tourist visa on arrival in Kenya, Uganda or Rwanda, the respective links to East Africa tourist visa online application and so much more.
Why apply for one
There are scenarios when you want to go gorilla trekking in Uganda or gorilla trekking in Rwanda and visit Masai Mara in Kenya in the same trip. Instead of applying for 2 separate visas, its better you apply for one that grants you multiple entry into all the countries.
Another common situation comes when clients prefer to book Uganda gorilla trekking safaris from Kigali. Such trips are very common nowadays and instead of paying $1500 for Rwanda gorilla permits, clients pay $600 for each Bwindi permit hence, saving $900 on each permit.
Its only 4 hours from Kigali to Bwindi but you will need an East Africa tourist visa. You can even arrive and transfer to Bwindi on the same day then trek gorillas and return to Kigali for departure on the second day. One permit will let you switch between borders at no extra cost.
Validity of an East African Tourist Visa
An East African tourist visa is valid for 90 days. You can travel withing Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya freely for 90 days before your visa expires. Please note that your visa expires immediately when you cross over to Tanzania, Burundi or Congo so you have to consider this.
Who can apply for an EA Tourist Visa?
Any foreign tourists who wants to visit Rwanda, Kenya and Uganda for tourism or related purposes are eligible to apply for an East African tourist visa.
However, if you go out of the initial three countries and return to the original country where your safari started, this is considered a new entry and you have apply for another visa.
How to apply online
You can apply for an East Africa tourist visa online or on arrival at the immigration offices of the country where your safari starts from. If your safari starts in Kenya then you should apply from Kenya. The same applies to Rwanda and Uganda.
To apply through Uganda, visit this hyperlink: https://visas.immigration.go.ug/
To apply through Rwanda, visit this hyperlink: https://irembo.gov.rw/rolportal/web/dgie/east-africa-tourist-visa
For Kenya you have to visit your respective Kenya embassy’s website for more details regarding the online visa application process.
When you submit your details through each of the online application links above, you should have your visa issued in less than 5 working days.
You will need a colored passport photograph takes without glasses, a scurf or a cap.
You will also need a copy of your travel itinerary. You should ask your company to avail this to you. They should include your name, nationality, date of birth and passport number on the same document.
If you are asked to present a letter whilst applying for your East African tourist visa, rather submit your travel itinerary as long as it has your full name and corresponding details as mentioned above. Its much easier to do it this way and you do not need to worry about anything.
East African Residents & Citizens
East African residents (living in Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda) and citizens do not need a visa. Foreign residents have to present their work permits at the border along with their respective passports and they will be allowed to visit. Citizens have to present their national identity cards and they will be granted entourage to any East African country.
However, Foreign residents living in Tanzania will need to apply for a visa.
Please note that an East Africa tourist visa does not permit you to work and if found, your visa will be nullified with immediate effect. You will need a separate work permit to seek employment in each of the countries.
Uganda is the most free country among all. No one will ask you for a work permit unless you are a trying to register a company. This partly explains why there are so many expats in Uganda.