South Sudan Asks France to Grant Schengen Visas to Fans Ahead of Olympic Games

South Sudan has called on France to issue more visas to South Sudanese fans during the Olympic Games, hosted in Paris between July 26 and August 11.

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In a meeting, the South Sudanese Foreign Minister, Ramadan Mohammed Goc and the French Ambassador, Christian Bader, discussed the matter and visa challenges that weigh down South Sudanese sports fans, Schengen.News reports.

The French government has introduced requirements for some fans, in an effort to reduce the risks of South Sudanese overstaying their visas, Schengen.News reports.

The Minister welcomed the ambassador and extensively discussed matters concerning visa challenges to South Sudanese nationals as well as France nationals visiting South Sudan for official business. 

South Sudan Foreign Minister, Ramadan Mohammed Goc

France Pledges Support to South Sudan

The French Ambassador Bader has expressed support for the people of South Sudan pointing out also investment opportunities that can be made in the world’s newest country.

He also acknowledged how important a visa is for South Sudanese fans, while his homologue pointed out that for some of the fans, this will be the first time they can travel abroad.

Foreign Minister Goc also told Sudan Tribune that they are examining all possibilities, including those of some athletes or fans continuing their stay in France even after the Olympic Games are over.

Assurances have been given during several meetings held by the minister of youth and sports and the minister of foreign affairs and international cooperation on the one hand and the ambassador of France on the other and assurances have been made that all our fans and players, at least they are carrying the passport of French and other the European countries. Those who do not have these other passports apart from holding a passport from South Sudan will return after the games are over.

Foreign Minister Goc

He expects that the relations with France will also grow closer as South Sudan is interested in developing mutual relations with many other countries.

Fears of Overstaying Visas Make France Skeptical to Grant South Sudanese Schengen Visas

South Sudan is the newest country in the world, which emerged from a war with Sudan. This country declared its independence in 2011 and has one of the youngest populations – 16.4 is the median age of South Sudanese for 2022.

In addition, the country is one of the poorest, considering that 80 per cent of people live below the absolute poverty line, as Relief Web reveals. According to the same, 8.9 million people need humanitarian assistance.

These can be some of the reasons why France is thinking twice about granting visas to South Sudanese fans. Similar cases of fans or even athletes taking advantage of Schengen visas to apply for asylum in the EU have occurred in recent years, especially for nationals of African countries.