Obtaining a visa to visit Rwanda is relatively easy, as long as you plan ahead. Rwanda allows for visas on arrival or you can apply ahead of time online.
Note that this guide does not take into account any additional, temporary requirements in place during the Covid pandemic. For the most up-to-date Covid requirements, visit the Rwanda embassy website.
- Visa needed for US citizens: Yes
- Visa types for US citizens: Tourist visa, transit visa, or East Africa Travel Visa (EATV)
- Visa application: Online or on arrival
- Visa issued: Online or on arrival
- Cost: $100 for multiple entry e-visa, $30 for transit visa
- Timing: 2+ weeks in advance
- Length of validity: 12 months
- Max length of stay: 3 months for tourist visa, 7 days for transit visa
There are numerous different types of tourist visas that are broken down into categories; however, most of these don’t apply to American citizens. In most cases, you are primarily going to be applying for a tourist visa, a transit visa, or an East Africa Travel Visa (EATV).
Who Needs a Visa to Visit Rwanda?
All American travelers who plan to leave the airport and travel around Rwanda will need a visa. Anyone who is just transiting through Rwanda and wants to leave the airport can apply for a transit visa. For longer stays, a tourist visa is required.
What Types of Visas are Available for Rwanda?
As an American citizen, you are most likely planning to get a standard tourist multiple-entry visa (there is a single-entry tourism visa, but Americans aren’t eligible). The multi-entry tourist visa is valid for 90 days if you apply online. If you opt to wait and get a visa on arrival, it will be valid for 30 days.
Transit visas are for American citizens who want to explore Rwanda for up to 72 hours before departing for a different destination.
There is also an East African tourist visa that will allow you to visit Rwanda, Kenya, and Uganda. The EATV is valid for 90 days and it allows for multiple entries between these countries. You must apply for this visa through the country you plan to enter first from. This means that if you apply through the Republic of Rwanda, this should be your first entry point into the three countries.
How to Apply for a Rwanda Visa
- Upon arrival: citizens of all countries, including the US, can apply for a visa on arrival at land borders and the Kigali International Airport. Since this option is available to every country passport holder, you can expect the lines to probably be slow.
- Online: if you prefer to apply in advance, there is an online application available for tourism, transit, and EATV visas.
Required Documents and Information
- Copy of your passport; Rwanda requires your passport to have at least six months of validity remaining.
- Supporting information on your visit.
For EATVs, you will also need a recent passport-sized photo on a white background from the last six months. Uploading a photo is not required for the transit or tourism visa.
The cost of visas is the same no matter whether you apply online or on arrival. The current fees are as follows:
- A standard multiple entry visa is $70.
- The transit visa is $30.
- East African Tourist Visa (EATV) is $100.
For online applications, you have two payment options. You can apply and pay online at the time of your application, or you can apply online and pay on arrival in Rwanda.
The online application for the tourism, transit, and East Africa Travel visas typically take around three days to process. If you apply for your multiple-entry visa online, the processing time is also around three days.
How to Apply
For the standard tourism visa, transit visa, and EATV for Rwanda, American citizens can wait and apply on arrival when they land in the country.
If you prefer to apply ahead of time, the process is the same for the tourism, transit, and the East Africa Tourist Visa, except the application forms are on different pages.
- To apply for the East Africa Tourist Visa, visit the EATV page on irembo, the Republic of Rwanda’s site.
- The tourist visa can be found on the Holiday/Family Visit Visa page.
- The transit visa is on the Transit Visa page.
- Click on either APPLY AND PAY ONLINE or APPLY AND PAY ON ARRIVAL.
- Enter your identifying information.
- Enter your trip information, including projected arrival date and departure dates, information on where you will be staying, and your proposed entry point. You also need to enter details about what you plan to do in Rwanda.
- Upload a copy of your passport, photo, invitation letter (details of your trip), and supporting documents. Confirmation should be emailed to you. If you don't hear back, contact the numbers on the visa application website.