The Minister of Nationality, Immigration and Gender Affairs Dorcus Makgato says the ministry is committed to facilitate movement of people across borders to promote investment, tourism and relations with other countries.
Speaking at a media briefing at the ministry boardroom on Tuesday, Makgato said they had identified impediments to delays in the issuance of VISA as well as the Work and Residents permits.
She added that her ministry has decided to decentralise VISA processing to Embassies where people can be able to apply for VISAs at their countries instead of coming back and forth to the country which will save them time and money.
For tourists, Makgato said VISAs will be issued at port entry, and that Kasane and any other border posts near national parks are authorised to grant VISA on arrival to tourists who were travelling into Botswana as a tour group for day trips.
“We will also allow group applications as opposed to individual application. For example, we will allow family to make one application that included all members than previously where each family member would be expected to fill an application form. We will also allow visitors’ maximum of 90 days VISA instead of the current 30 days practice, which poses an inconvenience to other people. We want to reduce queues in our offices,”
Makgato added that they would automatically grant VISA to applicants who have been granted Work and Resident permits instead of granting a person one or two of those which was a long process and inconvenienced people.
She said the process where people where expected to apply for each of those permits where some people ended up taking their business somewhere else due to the long procedure.
She added that she would give VISAs to family members more especially the parents of foreign business people that are contributing to boosting the country’s economy.
Investors’ wind up period would also be increased from the current 30 days to six months period where they can be able to sort out their things before going back to their respective countries.
Makgato added that her ministry was also looking onto giving foreigners that have been staying in the country using resident permit for more than 10 years a permanent residence if that is what they want.
However, she said all the legal processes would be followed to curb criminal acts as some people may try to abuse the new regulations.