By Staff Writer
Foreign nationals from neighboring Uganda and Eritrea have been given three months to legalize their stay in South Sudan.
Lt. Gen. Atem Marol Biar, the Director General for Civil Registry, National, Passport and Immigration announced the plan on Tuesday in Juba after a group of Ugandans protested the manner in which their visa renewal was being handled by immigration officers.
According to Biar, a huge number of Ugandans and Eritreans are living illegally in the country.
“A huge number of foreigners are here staying without documentation, more than 90 percent of them, especially from two countries Eritrea and Uganda,” Biar told a press conference.
“We agree to give them a temporary stay permit for one month on condition that they go back to their embassies to process their documents,” he said.
This week, several Ugandan traders stormed their embassy in Juba demanding that their visa fees must not be inflated.
They claimed immigration officials were demanding payment of $100 for a one-month visa.
Biar denied the claims saying every foreigner is being charged $50 for three months unless it carries a fine for overstaying.
A charge of $120 is charged for a multiple visa, he said.
“People come to South Sudan and when their visa expires they hide their passports and stay like that without going for registration,” Biar said.
“Those who are making noise and protesting are those who don’t have any legal documents because they want their embassy to intervene and they continue staying in South Sudan without legal documents,” he said.
“Nobody in any country should stay without legal documents. During our silent search for aliens who are staying in Juba, we have found out that there are people who stayed in Juba for 7 years without legal documents.”