IN a move to speed-up visa processing at Terminal II of Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA), the arrival area will be extended to allow other departments to increase its workforce.
It usually takes more than one hour for foreign passengers to process their visas, contrary to international standards that require one passenger to take not more than 45 minutes.
This was revealed in Dar es Salaam this week by the Deputy Minister for Works, Transport and Communication, Engineer Edwin Ngonyani, after a tour at the three terminals of the country’s main gateway for air transport.
“In addressing this challenge, Tanzania Airports Authority (TAA) will extend the arrival terminal to create a balance in service provision, some of the administrative offices will be demolished for the exercise to be possible,” he noted.
Eng Ngonyani further said that he will also consult with the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and East Africa Cooperation to encourage all foreign passengers to apply for their visas at Tanzania’s embassies abroad instead of applying it on entry.
Accompanied by his counterparts from the Ministry for Natural Resources and Tourism, Mr Ramo Makani and Hamad Masauni from the Ministry of Home Affairs, they vowed to put an enabling environment that will attract more tourists in the country.
It was observed that the National Microfinance Bank (NMB) had only two bank clerks to receive payments for handing out the visas while the immigration had 10 counters charged with the task, something that causes delay at the terminal.
Earlier, TAA Acting Director General, Mtengela Hanga, said Terminal II was officially opened on October 1984 with a capacity to accommodate 1,500,000 passengers and 30,000 tons of cargo annually.
“Increase in number of passengers does not go hand in hand with the improvement of service, providing that there have been delays in issuing visa,” he noted.
Mr Hanga said it takes one to three hours for one to get a visa due to some technicalities, including one where some immigration laws allow only Euros and US dollars to be used while issuing visa, where some foreign passengers are forced to go out of the arrival lounge to change money.
Expounding further, he said another challenge includes few visa issuing machines at the terminal, where there are only two machines while 10 heavy duty machines are required to speed up the process. It was also observed that there is need to increase immigration workers from the current 30 to 50.