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South Sudan Seeks Schengen Visas for Olympic Fans Traveling to Paris Amid French Scrutiny

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louis Buyisiwe

Jul 2, 2024

South Sudan Seeks Schengen Visas for Olympic Fans

South Sudanese basketball team celebrates their victory with joy and unity

South Sudan is requesting temporary visas from French authorities for government-nominated Olympic fans attending the Paris Games. This request follows discussions between officials from both nations, with French authorities emphasizing requirements to prevent misuse of visas for immigration.

A senior official in South Sudan's Foreign Affairs ministry revealed that talks have focused on ensuring that fans and athletes return home post-games, amid concerns of some using the opportunity to remain in Europe.

Assurances were provided by South Sudanese ministers and the French ambassador that all participants will return unless they hold European passports. The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Abdallah Mohammed Goch, confirmed his meeting with the French ambassador on June 28, emphasizing mutual benefits, including visa arrangements for French nationals exploring investment opportunities in South Sudan.

South Sudan is also prepared to offer temporary visas to other countries to enhance bilateral relations. The Schengen visa allows non-EU nationals to visit the Schengen area for up to 90 days within a 180-day period. This visa is crucial for South Sudanese fans, athletes, and officials traveling to Paris, given that an airport transit visa is required for non-EU nationals connecting through Schengen countries.

Goch highlighted the importance of these discussions, as many nominated individuals have never traveled abroad and need proper documentation to participate in the Olympics.

The Schengen Agreement, signed in 1985, abolished internal border checks within member countries, allowing for free movement and harmonized visa policies. South Sudan aims to ensure its citizens can benefit from these provisions during the Paris Olympic Games.

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