Rwanda New Visa on Arrival Process

November 1, 2014 Rwanda instituted a visa on arrival process for the US and several other countries that had previously been visa-free. Other impacted nationalities are Australia, Germany, Israel, New Zealand, South Africa and the UK. All other nationalities must get visas in advances, except certain African countries, while nationals of Hong Kong, Mauritius, Philippines, and Singapore remain visa-free for stays up to 90 days. See announcement from the Rwandan Embassy in Washington, DC.

Visas are available at all ports of entry and cost US$30. Only single-entry visas are available on arrival. No free transit visas.

Kigali Airport accepts cash or Visa credit cards, subject to a $2 fee that is not disclosed until it is too late to cancel the transaction. At the airport you pay at one desk, collect a receipt and then present that to an immigration officer along with arrival card.

On land borders, at least at the DR Congo border at Gisenyi, it is necessary to go the immigration officer first , then go to a separate window to pay, and then return to the immigration officer with the receipt.

Waterfront Resort Lake Kivu Gisenyi Rwanda 01

I passed through both this week and the process was smooth.

It is also possible to apply online for the same $30 or to get a visa in advance at a Rwandan diplomatic mission. Multiple-entry visas are $60. See details for US citizens from the Rwandan Embassy in Washington, DC.

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  • KFM

    Thanks for the info. How has your experience in Rwanda been? Have you traveled to any other nearby countries this trip?

  • Bummer.

    A few years ago I did Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Kenya, Turkey. I think Rwanda was the only one with free entry. Maybe Kenya too. The others were $100, $50, $20. It’s an annoying cost especially when you’re on a shoestring budget.

  • Rapid Travel Chai

    @KFM – I went through Uganda, Burundi, DR Congo, Rwanda and now heading to Zanzibar on the way back to the US. First time through Rwanda saw only Gisenyi and Lake Kivu, lovely places, good stop en route to the gorillas and volcanoes of Rwanda and DR Congo. Today I spent the day in Kigali, which was pleasantly deserted on a Sunday, nice, hilly city, and visited the poignant, horrific museums and memorials for the 1994 genocide. Everyone has been friendly and Rwanda’s great road network is a boost.

  • Rapid Travel Chai

    @Scott Grimmer (MileValue) – I don’t fault them for exercising their right to do it, however I wish this cluster of countries would have free or cheap transit visas, I had to pay Rwanda 2x because the first time was just getting from Kigali airport over to DR Congo. These do add up, so far this trip has been Uganda $50, Burundi $40, Rwanda $30, DR Congo $105, another Rwanda $30, and heading to Zanzibar.

  • Sean M.

    Why didn’t you get the East African Common Visa which allows multiple entries into Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya over a 90 day period for $100? It is also available via online application from the Rwanda Immigration website or on arrival at Entebbe airport.

  • Joey

    That sucks. Is it possible to at least get a multiple entry visa at the Rwanda embassy in DC before the trip?
    @Scott, I had to pay a visa-on-arrival when I went to Kenya back in 2010 (US passport holder here.)
    @RTC, I wish they’d be similar to the visa entente countries in West Africa in regards to the tourist visa.
    In Rwanda, did the customs folks search for luggage for any plastic bags? I recall they’d throw out any plastic bags.

  • Rapid Travel Chai

    @Joey – the multiple is $60 so for me a wash.

    I did read in the paper that there supposedly is a $100 multiple-entry visa for Kenya, Rwanda, and Uganda now available and Tanzania plans to join. The article said few have applied because few know about it. Would have saved me $20 on this trip. I will research.

    Air border they did not search, land border they did, I left one dummy one out so they would take that and not look for the buried others.

    Departing from Kigali they painstakingly searched my carry-on and insisted on confiscating my extra AAA batteries, very irritating, I could keep the ones in devices but not the spares. Last time that happened was some time ago in Azerbaijan and they eventually relented.

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  • TJ

    Rwanda and Uganda are on my list! Thanks for posting this!

    Isn’t there a visa for all these nations combined?

  • Rapid Travel Chai

    @TJ – I did a follow-up post when I learned of the borderless visa, see here.

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