August 9, 2005

This is the question being asked in the study that was launched by the Southern African Development Community (SADC). SADC has launched a study to explore the level of preparedness of member states to introduce a new visa regime next year. The new visa regime as explained in the SADC treaties will be to implement a visa exemption system for regional travelers and the single visa for international travelers into the SADC region. This would mean for example, that a Zimbabwean traveling to South Africa or Mauritius would not need a visa prior to traveling which is currently the case.

The ongoing study is also to assess the challenges that member states were facing in making their immigration laws consistent with the expectations of the envisaged visa requirements.

The proposal is a mirror of the Schengen Treaty that was signed in Luxembourg in 1985 and groups 15 EU countries in a common visa policy. Travelers from other countries beyond the region would just need to obtain a single SADC visa to enable them to travel in any of the grouping’s member states. The member states of the SADC Treaty are Angola, Seychelles, Botswana, South Africa, DR Congo, Swaziland, Lesotho, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Mauritius, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Namibia.