Confusion over reciprocal visa waiver agreement between Ghana and Rwanda

Rwanda3There appears to be some confusion over a reciprocal visa waiver agreement between Ghana and Rwanda.

While Ghana is allowing Rwanda citizens to enter the country without requiring a visa, Ghana citizens on the other hand need a visa to enter Rwanda. Rwanda citizens only need to show their passport at Ghana’s international airport and all they get is an immigration stamp! But Ghanaian citizens travelling to Rwanda pay for visa. There is no free entry for Ghanaians.

Ghana has similar reciprocal deals with other African countries such as Uganda, Zimbabwe and Kenya. Citizens of these countries can enter Ghana without a visa, just as Ghanaians enter these countries without requiring a visa.

The Honorary Consular of Ghana in Rwanda, Dennis Kerrera issued a statement signed on November 22, 2015 announcing the reciprocal visa waiver deal. The letter was copied to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Rwanda.

“The Government of the Republic of Ghana in a reciprocal act has waived the visa requirements for Rwandese travelling to Ghana.

Rwandese nationals will now go to Ghana visa free,” the letter said.

Kerrera letter
The letter by the Honorary Consul

Ghana’s position was confirmed to by two immigration officers at the Kotoka International Airport and a Rwandan citizen on social media – this person travelled to Ghana and didn’t even need a visa on arrival, the person’s passport was simply stamped and no fee was paid.

But Rwandan officials don’t seem to agree on the matter.

A communication between Rwandan officials seen by, shows that while the Honorary Consular for Ghana in Rwanda Mr. Kerrera is of the view that Ghanaians shouldn’t pay for visa, a senior officials at the country’s immigration department thinks otherwise.

They argue that Ghana and Rwanda have no such agreement and Ghanaians like all other Africans are required to get visa on arrival.

Mr. Olivier Kayumba, Director of Visitors and Residents Services of the Directorate General of Immigration and Emigration of Rwanda, told on the phone that like all Africans travelling from anywhere, Ghanaians are not required to apply for visa prior to entering Rwanda, but they are required to pay for visa on arrival.

When the Honorary Consul’s letter was read out to him on the phone, he said, “I don’t know about that.”

However, in a telephone interview with Mr Kerrera, he clarified that Ghana waived visa fees for Rwandans in reciprocity for Rwanda removing the need for citizens of African countries to apply for visas before travelling to the country.

He added that there are discussions going on to waive fees for Ghanaians. “I have written to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to waive the fees completely,” he said.

He also indicated that today July 13, 2016 or tomorrow, a cooperation agreement would be signed to waive the fees for Ghanaians travelling to Rwanda.

“I expect that to happen,” he said.

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi, in Kigali, Rwanda

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