WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
INTRODUCTION: The main objective of establishing the EAC Common Market is the realization of accelerated economic growth and development through the attainment of the free movement of goods, persons, labour, right of establishment and residence, free movement of services and capital as provided for under Article 2 of the Protocol on Establishment of the EAC Common Market.
Under Article 5 (2) of the Protocol, Partner States agreed to ease cross – border movement of persons and eventually adopt an integrated border management system. Article 7 of the Protocol specifically provides that Partner States guarantee the free movement of persons who are citizens of the other Partner States within their territories and each Partner State shall ensure non-discrimination of the citizens of the other Partner States based on their nationalities.
The Partner States’ commitment on non-discrimination of citizens shall be exhibited in the following ways:
a) No visa requirements at entry into the territory of a Partner State.
b) Citizens of the other Partner States are allowed to stay in the territory of a Partner State without any restrictions.
c) Partner States shall guarantee protection of the citizens of the other Partner States while in their territories.
However, the free movement of persons shall not exempt from prosecution or extradition a national of a Partner State who commits a crime in another Partner State.
Free movement of persons is also subject to limitations imposed by the host Partner State on grounds of Public Policy, Public Security or Public health. But a Partner State imposing a limitation is obliged to notify other Partner States accordingly.
The implementation of Article 7 is to be in accordance with the East African Community Common Market (Free Movement of Persons) Regulations (Annex 1 to the Protocol) that stipulate the scope of categories of citizens of a Partner State who move to, stay in and exit another State as:
b) Persons who seek to enter a Partner State for medical treatment purposes;
c) Persons in transit through the territory of a Partner State;
d) Persons who are admitted as students in training establishments in a Partner State; and
e) Persons entering a Partner State for any other lawful purpose other than as a worker or as a self employed person.
REGULATION 5 PROVIDES THE DETAILED PROCEDURES OF ENTRY, STAY, AND EXIT AS FOLLOWS:
1. A citizen of a Partner State who seeks to enter or exit the territory of another Partner State shall do so at entry or exit points designated in accordance with the national laws of the Partner State and shall comply with the established immigration procedures.
2. A citizen of a Partner State who seeks to enter, transit or exit the territory of another Partner State shall:
a) Present to the immigration officer a valid travel document; and
b) Declare all the information required for entry or exit.
3. Upon fulfillment of the requirements at the entry point, a citizen shall be issued with a pass which shall entitle the holder to enter the territory of the host Partner State and stay for a period of up to six months.
4. A citizen whose pass is due to expire and who wishes to stay for a longer period shall, before the expiry of the pass, apply to the immigration office of the host Partner State for an extension of the pass and the pass will be renewed where the applicant provides justification for a longer period of stay.
5. A citizen transiting through the territory of a Partner State shall be issued with a transit pass entitling the citizen to transit within the period stated in the pass.
6. A pass issued under this Regulation shall be issued without a fee.
REGULATION 6 PROVIDES FR STAY OF STUDENTS:
1. A citizen admitted as a student in an approved training establishment of another Partner State shall, within thirty das of entry apply for a student pass.
2. The information needed to apply for students’ pass is as follows:
a) A valid travel document
b) A confirmation of admission in an approved training establishment in the host Partner State;
c) A confirmation of sponsorship for the training to be pursued; and
d) In the case of a child, the identification of the guardian to be responsible for the child while in the host Partner State.
3. Student’s pass shall be issued, subject to the terms and conditions, for a period not exceeding one year and shall be renewable, annually, for the duration of the study.
4. A study not exceeding two months shall be exempt from applying for a student’s pass.
5. Student’s pass may be cancelled if the citizen of the Partner State ceases to be a student in the establishment for which the student’s pass was issued.
6. The person in charge of the training establishment shall ensure that all students from Partner States comply with this regulation.
7. Student’s pass shall be issued without a fee.
NOTE: A citizen issued with a Student’s Pass shall not undertake any employment in the territory of the host Partner State except where the citizen is a student on internship or Industrial Training.