Electronic visa system replaces Visa-on-arrival scheme in Kenya
November 3, 2015
Foreign nationals requiring a single-entry visa for travel to Kenya for business or tourism, or a transit visa, are now required to obtain an eVisa. This visa must be obtained online before travel, rather than applying manually for a visa-on-arrival in Kenya.
The eVisa pre-approves entry to Kenya and is granted online by the Department of Immigration Services. Payment must be made with a Visa or MasterCard debit card, and approval officially takes two business days, although it may take longer in practice.
The eVisa is issued in PDF format and should be printed out and carried upon entry to Kenya. It allows the holder to travel, within 90 days of issuance, to a Kenyan port-of-entry, where the immigration authorities stamp the holder’s passport. This will grant the holder the right to enter Kenya once for up to 90 days. The duration of stay may be renewed once, for up to a further 90 days, at the discretion of the immigration authorities.
The eVisa system was introduced on July 1, 2015, but until September 1, 2015, manual applications at the port-of-entry to Kenya were still possible. Multiple-entry visas are not yet available through the eVisa system.
Who is eligible?
- Visa-required nationals who previously qualified for a visa-on-arrival
- "Category 3" nationals are not eligible for the eVisa and need to make a paper-based application for a referral visa to the Department of Immigration Services prior to travel. These include nationals of Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cameroon, North Korea, Eritrea, Iraq, Kosovo, Lebanon, Libya, Mali, Palestine, Senegal, Somalia, Syria and Tajikistan
- Visa-exempt nationals do not need to obtain a visa to enter Kenya
Although Kenyan Airways has announced that the Department of Immigration has temporarily installed eVisa booths at Nairobi airport, where travelers can obtain an eVisa-on-arrival, it is likely that there will be very long queues at these booths.
Depending on the airline, travelers may not be allowed to board their flight to Kenya if they cannot show their eVisa when checking in. It is strongly recommended, therefore, to obtain an eVisa before traveling to Kenya.
This summary was prepared using information obtained from Peregrine Immigration Management’s website.