On 12 August 2021, the Ministry of Nationality, Immigration and Gender Affairs will launch the Electronic Visa (e-Visa), an initiative that is intended to make the visa application process an overall friendly experience.
The ministry is responsible for provision of essential services of civil registration and vital statistics, movement of persons across borders and gender equality.
The e-Visa will allow an applicant to complete the procedure on their own through the ministry’s visa website. Introduction of the e-Visa initiative is part of President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s Reset Agenda that seeks to ease doing business in Botswana, thereby significantly contributing to inflows of Foreign Direct Investment.
The e-Visa will also allow the visa applicant to make any necessary payments online. Upon receipt of the application, immigration officers will review it in accordance with laid protocols and a visa will either be issued or denied. If the visa is approved, it will be delivered to the user`s email. The ministry says depending on the type of visa required, there may be special requirements when applying for the Botswana visa.
Speaking at a press briefing in Gaborone on Tuesday this week, immigration minister Anna Mokgethi, said the e-Visa is not necessarily different from other visas, the only difference being that the whole process can be completed online. She said along with providing the convenience of being able to apply for a visa from anywhere, provided the user has Internet access, the e-Visa also brings with it the benefit of reducing contact, especially during these times of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Botswana had in the past adopted the issuance of visas with conditions to specifically facilitate tourists,” Minister Mokgethi said. “In the long run, that will be phased out as the e-Visa system stabilises. The e-Visa will position Botswana in global competitiveness in that the country stands to benefit from universal visa agreements with other countries offering e-Visa.
“This initiative will, along with ease of access to the service, guard against issues of fraud and forgery, reduce inconveniences, improve turnaround times and ultimately increase customer satisfaction when applying for either an investor or employment visa.”
She added that the ministry has taken into consideration the potential challenges that may arise from using such a platform. As a result, measures have been put in place to address them. The challenges include poor or low Internet (the ministry is exploring options to boost connections), administrative issues (the back office has expertise to detect inconsistencies), and sustained efficiency (the ministry will continue to collaborate with various stakeholders, including Botswana missions abroad).
Minister Mokgethi outlined the general requirements for the Botswana visa as a copy of the applicant’s passport, a letter from a host resident in Botswana, previous visas if any, as well as travel schedules specifying flight itinerary and hotel bookings.