Two Basarwa women hide from the scorching sun in Metsiamenong, a remote village in the heart of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, a place popular with tourists visiting Botswana. Picture: AP
Two Basarwa women hide from the scorching sun in Metsiamenong, a remote village in the heart of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, a place popular with tourists visiting Botswana. Picture: AP

Botswana visa system goes digital

By Travel Reporter Time of article published Jul 22, 2020

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Travellers to Botswana will soon be able to complete visa applications online.

Israel’s Pangea has been selected by the government of Botswana to integrate its eVisa solution as part of the southern African country’s efforts to expand its digital and online services.

This will enable visitors to Botswana to obtain a visa online and will provide seamless entry at land and air arrival points in the country. Pangea is also modernising Botswana’s computerised immigration and citizenship system.

The new process is expected to minimise the government’s investment of money, time, paperwork and manpower allocated for visa applications, and to better serve its visitors.

It is believed that eVisa transfers the entire management of the visa application process to the digital space. The traveller enters the country’s eVisa portal, submits the application and the supporting documents, pays online and communicates with the authorities over the internet.

If and when the application is approved, the eVisa can be downloaded, printed, brought to the airport, and help both authorities and travellers to minimise queues and paper-based documentation.

Uzy Rozenthal, Pangea EVP, general manager government division, said they expect the eVisa solution to be launched at the end of the year.

"By then, we hope that the global tourist industry and tourism to Botswana, in particular, will begin to recover. Botswana’s world-class safari parks and lodges have enjoyed increasing popularity in recent years. eVisa will dramatically speed up the entry process in Botswana and will translate into a substantial savings in both administration costs and time needed without compromising border security," he said.

Online visas are becoming more popular as both governments and travellers are increasingly embracing the digital age. Visa requirements for many countries are already available online, and more countries have also introduced the option to obtain a visa online soon.

The Covid-19 global health crisis is expected to accelerate the trend, as tourists will be looking at reducing their contacts at consulates or embassies in their home countries and entry points at the travel destination.

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