Namibia to waive business visa requirement for African countries

16 Jun 16

NAMIBIA

IMPACT – MEDIUM

What is the change? Namibian President Dr. Hage Geingob has announced that Namibia intends to waive visa requirements for citizens of all African countries traveling to Namibia on business.

What does the change mean? Once the waiver goes into effect, citizens of African countries who hold a valid passport will be permitted to travel to Namibia for business purposes without first needing to obtain a business visa.

  • Implementation time frame: Ongoing. The president announced Namibia’s plans for a view waiver in May, but the change has yet to be implemented.
  • Visas/permits affected:Business visas.
  • Who is affected:Citizens of African countries traveling to Namibia for business activities.
  • Impact on processing times: The change will save eligible travelers the time it currently takes to obtain a Namibian business visa.
  • Business impact:The government hopes the waiver will help jumpstart business travel to Namibia.
  • Next steps:The Namibian government is expected to announce formal and immediate implementation of the change shortly.

Background: Although citizens of some African countries (Angola, Botswana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe) are currently not required to obtain a visit visa to vacation in Namibia, all foreign nationals are required to obtain a visa if traveling to Namibia for business purposes.

President Geingob’s May announcement that business travel to Namibia will become visa-free for citizens of all African countries is, therefore, a significant change to Namibia’s current immigration policy. It follows Ghana’s recent announcement that it would introduce a new class of visas-on-arrival for citizens of all African Union members.

The Namibian visa exemption will only apply to travelers undertaking short-term business activities in Namibia, such as attending conferences, business meetings and short training courses. Those traveling to Namibia to work must continue to obtain a short-term work visa or other form of work authorization.

BAL Analysis: The change has not taken effect yet but, once implemented, will significantly reduce red tape for eligible business travelers. Travelers are reminded that the new visa waiver will not cover work activities. Contact your BAL professional if you have questions about what form of visa or permit is best for the activities you plan to conduct.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Namibia. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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