#AfriTravel: Namibia takes big step toward visa-free travel for Africans

2017-11-03 15:30 - Ishani Chetty
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Cape Town - Namibia is working towards providing visa-free travel to African passport holders. 

Namibia has put plans in motion towards scrapping the visa requirement for Africans, after a recent Namibian cabinet meeting. The plans aim to provide easier access to Africans with a diplomatic or official passport, which will strengthen ties and travel opportunities for African nations.

SEE: Visa-free travel: Where your South African passport can take you

According to New Era, Namibia will soon ease more requirements for neighboring countries to travel and explore the country.

At the moment, Namibian visa policy states that tourists from certain countries can get a visa for business or tourism when coming through border control. South Africans require a passport that is valid for six months during their visit but no visa.  Holiday or tourists visas are valid for three months.

The Namibian Cabinet has authorized the process to go ahead and although it has faced minor challenges during its conception, it is now full steam ahead.

The country is hoping to provide the visa-free system in accordance with other African countries on the basis of a reciprocal visa arrangement. This is directly in line with the initiative of the South African Department of Home Affairs towards the 'Africa passport' concept.  The Namibian Minister of Information and Communication Technology, Tjekero Tweya announced the state’s intentions during a cabinet briefing in October this year. 

The African nation intends to ease the requirements in acknowledgment of the aid received from other African countries during the liberation struggle. President Hage Geingob emphasised this during his statement in cabinet.

“African nations offered refuge to our people as they fled the brutality of the Apartheid system. Many of our young people found shelter in fellow African countries, enabling them to continue with their education, which would in turn equip them with the knowledge and skills needed to contribute to the development of our country," said Geingob.

'The African passport'

South Africa's Department of Home Affairs (DHA) has also been taking steps towards the 'Africa passport' dream, including recent negotiations on a visa waiver between the country and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Home Affairs spokesperson David Hlabane told Traveller24 that while the free-travel passport is not yet in effect, “all regions will start working towards that process” to reach the goal of a visa-free Africa passport. He adds that while this process has begun, working “towards the integration from regional level” the process “needs to happen progressively, one step at a time.”

READ: #AfriTravel: How Africa's visa-free passport aims to boost tourism and trade 

Visa-free SADC countries

There are many African countries that South Africans can enter without a visa, but it is important to remember that holiday visas are easier to obtain and if one intends to work – even if you are just volunteering - it may require a work visa.  It is important to be aware of the requirements prior to travelling.

Visa-free:

Benin, Botswana, Gabon, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Saint Helena, Senegal, Seychelles, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Visa on arrival nations in the SADC region:

Cape Verde, Comores, Egypt, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Tanzania, Tongo, Tunisia and Uganda.

What to read next on Traveller24:

Warning: Your passport 'expires' three months before it expires!

Visas 101: Everything you need to know about applying for a tourist visa

How to apply for your South African Passport