By Roy Mabasa
Filipinos who wish to travel to the central African country of Rwanda can now do so without the need for a visa and stay there up to a maximum of 90 days.
In an announcement posted on its website, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said the visa-free policy for Filipinos was granted by Rwanda’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Cooperation, and East African Community on the basis of reciprocity.
Rwanda is the second country after Taiwan to grant the Philippines visa-free access in the last six months.
This new visa-free policy from the central African nation actually took effect on November 16 last year, according to the DFA.
Under the reciprocity agreement, Rwandan nationals can enter the Philippines without a visa for a period not exceeding 30 days, provided that they hold valid tickets for their return journey or their next port of destination.
The Philippine Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya currently oversees the bilateral relations between the Philippines and Rwanda.
Located in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda is the world’s 149th largest country, comparable in size to the state of Massachusetts in the United States, which is more than 26,000 square kilometers.
In July 2016, Taiwan implemented a visa-free entry to Filipino tourists and businessmen, on a one-year experimental basis. However, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) recently said it is closely studying the possibility of extending the said policy if there are no reported major infractions of their immigration laws.
Similarly, TECO has appealed to the Philippine government to extend the visa-free reciprocity to Taiwanese nationals visiting the country.