Uganda: E-immigration system launched, visitor fees reduced

Uganda has launched two changes to visa processing: An electronic system has been introduced for the filing and processing of all types of visas, work permits and passes, and the government filing fee for single-entry visitor visas has been reduced from US$100 to $50 in order to promote tourism.

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What does the change mean? Applicants seeking to travel, work or study should transfer to the e-immigration system. Work permit applications are no longer accepted manually, and companies sponsoring individuals for work permits must register their profile on the Ugandan e-immigration website before applying for work permits.

  • Implementation time frame: Immediate.
  • Visas/permits affected: All visas, work permits, student passes, dependent passes, certificate of residence.
  • Who is affected: Individuals applying to travel, study or work in Uganda; organizations sponsoring foreign nationals for work permits.
  • Impact on processing times: All visas, permits and passes are to be approved in 2-3 business days, unless additional documentation is requested. Applicants are advised to apply one week or more in advance.
  • Business impact: The system will streamline the overall filing and application process.
  • Next steps: Companies and organizations sponsoring applicants must submit their profile through the e-immigration system and receive a code via email to be used when applying for permits or passes. A list of required documents to complete the profile may be viewed here.

Background: The Directorate of Citizenship and Immigration Control announced the changes this month.

The e-immigration system is now fully implemented for work permit applications, which are no longer accepted manually. However, if a work permit applicant has already filed manually, the applicant’s family members should submit their dependent pass applications manually also.

Applicants for visas-on-arrival should transition to the e-immigration system, which issues an electronic approval before travel. Currently, manual applications at ports of entry are still being accepted, but the immigration authorities plan to set a date when they will stop doing so and notify airlines to stop accepting passengers without an e-visa.

The government is in the process of equipping its embassies and consulates with the electronic system.

BAL Analysis: The move to an online immigration system should benefit employers and foreign nationals. BAL can assist employers in the profile registration and submission processes.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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