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Uganda, South Sudan facing lawsuits over EAC visa charges

The East African Community is facing a lawsuit in the East African Court of Justice after some of its member…

The East African Community is facing a lawsuit in the East African Court of Justice after some of its member states insisted on charging citizens visa fees in contravention of the regional common market protocol, an authoritative source disclosed Monday.Following complaints from some of the countries, regional lawmakers have issued the ultimatum.

According to official literature on the EAC website, “there is a host of bus services connecting all East African capitals and major cities, but with EAC-enhanced co-operation in the area of transport, East Africans can now drive private cars across borders and across the entire EAC region, free of charge.”

Rwanda fully adheres to the requirements as clearly indicated on its immigration portal.

“A citizen of East African Community Member States (Burundi, Kenya, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania and South Sudan) shall be issued a pass/entry visa free of charge upon arrival to stay for the period of six months,” according to Rwanda Immigration.

However, for the past ten years, Uganda and South Sudan still charge U$50 to each other’s citizens crossing the border. They also charge work permit fees.

According to Paul Musamali, the Ugandan representative at EALA, “Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania also still charge visa fees making it difficult to achieve full regional integration.”

In 2018, the EALA passed a motion urging the council of Ministers to implement the protocol provisions but this has since been ignored.

“They were expected to address these visa and work permit issues but there has been no response,” Musamali said.

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