Kenya's planning to roll out the red carpet (without requiring the paperwork) for travellers worldwide. While some countries already enjoyed visa-free entry, soon everyone gets to skip the lines and say "Hakuna Matata" to visa woes! This means smoother arrivals, easier trade, and a chance to experience Kenya's magic at your own pace.
Under its visa-free policy, Kenya is introducing the Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) system to identify visitors entering the country. This move aligns with similar initiatives by other countries such as the UK and Canada, which have also implemented ETA systems. The UK government, aiming to digitise its borders by 2025, launched an ETA in 2023. This system allows travellers from eligible countries to visit the UK without a visa for various purposes, including tourism, study, business, or visiting friends and family. Similarly, Canada’s ETA policy applies to countries that are exempt from visas.
In Kenya, as announced by President Ruto, individuals intending to visit the country will need to apply for an ETA through a digital platform. The typical application process requires applicants to have a valid passport for verification and to pay a certain fee. In some cases, additional identification documents may be required to validate the authorization. Once the ETA is approved, it is electronically linked to the applicant’s passport or travel document, streamlining the travel process.
Despite the removal of visa requirements, there will still be a $30 charge for the ETA to enter Kenya starting January 2024, as announced by the Ministry of Interior. The notice also detailed new visa fees, including $100 for a Single Entry Visa, $500 for a Multiple Entry Visa, $160 for a 5-year Multiple Entry Visa, and $200 for a visa extension after six months. Other fees include $100 for Overstay Sanctions and Referral/Multiple Entry Visa processing, $50 for a Transit Visa, and $100 for an East African Tourism Visa.
Citizens of 15 ECOWAS nations can enjoy 90-day visa-free stays, and the East African Community agreement allows visa-free travel for citizens of Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda.
The Commonwealth Agreement permits visa-free entry for citizens of certain member countries. Additionally, a bilateral agreement allows US and Canadian citizens to travel between the two countries visa-free using a passport, border crossing card, or enhanced driver’s license.