Kenya has recently announced a new visa policy that allows for visa-free travel for citizens of South Sudan. The agreement, signed by the interior ministers of both countries, will come into effect in October, enabling citizens of South Sudan to travel to Kenya without a visa.
This decision follows President Uhuru Kenyatta's promise to grant visa-free access to all East African Community (EAC) countries, which includes South Sudan. The EAC was established in 1967 to promote cooperation between East African nations, including Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda.
As of April 2023, citizens of South Sudan are required to obtain a visa to travel to Kenya. However, Kenya allows visa-free travel to citizens of 43 countries, including other African nations such as Sudan, Uganda, and Tanzania. Additionally, citizens of South Africa and Malaysia are visa-exempt for Kenya for stays of up to 30 days.
Most visa-free travelers to Kenya are allowed to stay in the country for up to 90 days without obtaining travel authorization. However, citizens of Uganda and Rwanda are able to use a national identification card instead of a passport to gain access to Kenya.
For all other foreign travelers, a visa is required to visit Kenya. Some foreign nationals are eligible to obtain an electronic visa (eVisa) for Kenya through an online application up to 7 days before their trip. The eVisa allows travelers to spend a maximum of 90 days in Kenya. Additionally, select foreign nationals can obtain a Kenya visa on arrival, which also permits a maximum stay of 90 days.
Citizens of an additional 14 countries can obtain a visa for Kenya by submitting an application to a Kenyan embassy or consulate in their country of residence. It is important to note that visa requirements and regulations can change at any time, so it is best to check with the relevant authorities or consult with a travel agent before planning a trip to Kenya.
The recent travel agreement between Kenya and South Sudan allows citizens of both countries to travel to each other's country without paying for a visa. Kenya now joins the short list of countries whose citizens can enter South Sudan visa-free.
Most foreign visitors to South Sudan must obtain a visa from a South Sudanese embassy or consulate before traveling. However, citizens of Botswana, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda can obtain a visa on arrival at border entry checkpoints.
Under the new arrangement, Kenyan citizens can now obtain a visa on arrival in South Sudan without paying a fee. Similarly, South Sudanese nationals can cross the border into Kenya without needing to pay for a travel document.
It's important to note that visa requirements can change, so it's always a good idea to check the latest information before traveling to either country.
Benefits of the new policy:
Prior to the new policy, South Sudanese citizens were required to obtain a visa before traveling to Kenya. They could apply for a visa through the Kenyan embassy or consulate in their country of residence. Alternatively, they could obtain a visa on arrival at the airport or border entry checkpoints, but this required payment of a visa fee.
The visa-on-arrival option was not available for all nationalities, and some travelers experienced delays or difficulties with the application process. The new policy simplifies travel requirements for South Sudanese citizens by eliminating the visa requirement altogether.
Foreign visitors to Kenya have several visa options:
Electronic Visa (eVisa): This is a digital visa that can be obtained online before traveling to Kenya. The eVisa is available for tourists, business travelers, and transit passengers. The application process is straightforward and can be completed within minutes. The eVisa allows for a single entry into Kenya for a stay of up to 90 days.
Visa on Arrival: Visitors who are not eligible for an eVisa can obtain a visa on arrival at the airport or border entry checkpoints. This option is available for citizens of selected countries and permits a stay of up to 90 days. Payment of a visa fee is required.
Visa from Kenyan Embassy: Visitors can also apply for a visa from a Kenyan embassy or consulate in their country of residence. The application process usually requires filling out a form, providing supporting documents, and paying a visa fee. This option is recommended for travelers who want to ensure they have a visa before traveling to Kenya or who have specific visa requirements.
It's important to note that visa requirements and policies can change, so visitors should check the latest information before traveling to Kenya.
Here are some important considerations for travelers to Kenya:
Passport Validity: Visitors must have a valid passport with at least 6 months validity from the date of entry into Kenya.
Health Requirements: Visitors may be required to provide proof of vaccination against yellow fever if they are arriving from or transiting through a country with a risk of yellow fever transmission. It's also recommended to check with a healthcare provider regarding any other recommended vaccinations or health precautions for travel to Kenya.
Safety and Security: Visitors should exercise caution and remain aware of their surroundings, particularly in crowded areas or at night. It's recommended to avoid traveling to certain areas, including parts of Nairobi and the Kenya-Somalia border regions.
Wildlife Tourism: Kenya is known for its wildlife tourism, but visitors should be aware of the risks and follow safety guidelines. It's recommended to book tours with reputable companies and avoid approaching or feeding wild animals.
Cultural Sensitivity: Visitors should be respectful of local customs and traditions, particularly when visiting religious or sacred sites. It's also recommended to dress modestly and avoid public displays of affection.
By keeping these considerations in mind and staying informed about the latest travel advisories, visitors can enjoy a safe and memorable trip to Kenya.
Q: Who is eligible for visa-free travel to Kenya under the new policy?
A: Citizens of South Sudan are eligible for visa-free travel to Kenya under the new policy.
Q: What is the duration of the visa-free stay for South Sudanese citizens in Kenya?
A: South Sudanese citizens can stay in Kenya without a visa for up to 90 days.
Q: When did the new visa policy take effect?
A: The new visa policy allowing visa-free travel for South Sudanese citizens took effect on January 29, 2022.
Q: What are the other visa options available for foreign visitors to Kenya?
A: Foreign visitors to Kenya can obtain an electronic visa (eVisa) online, a visa on arrival at the airport or border entry checkpoints, or a visa from a Kenyan embassy or consulate in their country of residence.
Q: Is it necessary for South Sudanese citizens to have a passport to enter Kenya?
A: Yes, South Sudanese citizens must have a valid passport with at least 6 months validity from the date of entry into Kenya.
Q: Are there any health requirements for visitors to Kenya?
A: Visitors may be required to provide proof of vaccination against yellow fever if they are arriving from or transiting through a country with a risk of yellow fever transmission. It's also recommended to check with a healthcare provider regarding any other recommended vaccinations or health precautions for travel to Kenya.
Q: What are some important safety considerations for visitors to Kenya?
A: Visitors should exercise caution and remain aware of their surroundings, particularly in crowded areas or at night. It's recommended to avoid traveling to certain areas, including parts of Nairobi and the Kenya-Somalia border regions.