South Sudan waives visa fees for foreigners fleeing conflict in Sudan

JUBA, May 8 (Xinhua) -- South Sudan said Monday it will waive visa fees for foreign nationals fleeing conflict across its border with neighboring Sudan.

File photo: AFP

Atem Marol Biar, director general at the Directorate of Civil Registry, Nationality, Passport, and Immigration, has directed immigration officers at all border-crossing points with Sudan not to charge visa fees to foreigners.

"On the issue of people coming from Sudan, we have clear directives and that is also international law. Once people are coming while running away from conflict they have to be received well. I have directed officials to receive them without asking for visa payment," Biar told journalists in Juba, the capital of South Sudan.

He said that foreigners who opt to stay in the country as refugees will be registered by authorities with support from humanitarian agencies.

"What we are doing is a plan. We need to be very careful. Juba is not a refugee camp. When you want somebody to stay on transit there is no problem. You have to indicate the days for staying while you make arrangements," Biar said.

He said most foreign nationals fleeing conflict in neighboring Sudan are being hosted in Renk County and Paloch areas of Upper Nile State.

Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management Albino Akol Atak said South Sudan has received more than 50,000 people who crossed into the country since conflict erupted on April 15 between the Sudan Armed Forces and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces.

The United Nations Refugee Agency UNHCR has warned of a deepening humanitarian crisis, due to the unexpected influx of people into South Sudan, which is already hosting 2.2 million internally displaced people.