The president of South Africa in a meeting with President William Ruto on Wednesday said they have resolved a long-standing visa dispute and Kenyans will be able to visit South Africa visa-free for up to 90 days in a calendar year starting January 2023.

The two leaders also agreed on a return policy when immigration laws are breached. Travellers who breach the law will be subjected to hefty penalties.

“Kenyans holding ordinary passports will be allowed to enter South Africa on a Visa-Free regime for up to 90 days per calendar year,” President Ruto said.

South Africans already get free visas on arrival in Kenya.

President Ramaphosa said, “this new agreement could take business and Tourism between Kenya and South Africa to greater heights”

From January 1 2023, Kenyans will no longer need to apply for e-visa or regular visas before travelling to South Africa for business or tourism. Originally, Kenyans have been filing an application for a ‘free’ visa at an agent of the South African High Commission which charges an ‘application fee’ that takes care of the paperwork. The visa comes out after about four working days.

With the new agreement, all Kenyans will need is an invitation and return ticket, as well as proof of vaccination for yellow fever and Covid-19. They will also need proof of financial ability to stay in South Africa during the intended duration, for the case of tourists.