Testing and vaccination requirements for Kenya have been lifted from 9 May 2023. Travellers to the country therefore do not need to be vaccinated against the coronavirus or tested for Covid-19. However, it is still mandatory to apply for a visa.Read more about the visa here
The Covid-19 pandemic in Kenya
Throughout the pandemic, no high infection rates were recorded in Kenya. This is remarkable, given the low vaccination coverage and relatively poor healthcare system in the country. It was only on 13 March 2020 that Kenya first tested positive for Covid-19, while thousands of patients with coronavirus were already in hospitals in Europe at that time. Even in the months that followed, the number of infections and hospital admissions in Kenya remained relatively low compared to European countries. This is due to some of the countryʼs characteristics as well as the policies enacted.
Innovation of the visa application process during the coronavirus pandemic
The pandemic has caused much suffering worldwide, but has also led to numerous beneficial innovations. One example is the digitisation of the Kenyan visa procedure. In 2021, the Kenya e-visa was made available to almost all travellers. At the beginning of 2024, the e-visa was replaced by the eTA, which has since become mandatory for all travellers. Thanks to the online application process of this travel authorisation, a higher volume of applications can be processed and visas can be granted faster. This innovation also helped reduce the cost of the visa.
Apply for an e-visa to travel to Kenya
Positive influence of climate and demographics
Two factors that have determined the relatively mild course of the coronavirus pandemic in Kenya are the countryʼs climate and demographic characteristics. Namely, Kenya has a dry and warm climate, while Covid-19 seems to spread faster in cold, wet conditions. Moreover, with a median age of around 20 years, Kenya has one of the youngest populations in the world. It became known early on that Covid-19 causes severe symptoms, especially among the elderly, while younger people often experience milder symptoms.
Stringent measures early on
Since the authorities anticipated that this would drastically strain their healthcare system, they quickly took drastic measures to protect the population from the coronavirus. These included travel restrictions, suspending the processing of visa applications and introducing hygiene measures. Among the population, there was a high willingness to cooperate, by wearing masks, for example. In this way, the effects of the coronavirus on public health in the country could be mitigated. Nevertheless, Covid-19 had a very large effect on social and economic conditions in Kenya.
Social and economic impacts of the pandemic
The measures in Kenya, including lockdowns, the obligation to keep distance and the closure of schools, had a major impact on the countryʼs informal economy. Indeed, most of Kenyaʼs population is not in permanent employment and earn their livelihoods through varying, short-term work. Many of these activities, such as selling goods along roads and in markets, were rendered impossible by the coronavirus measures. The tourism sector also suffered badly from the pandemic, as hardly any visas were applied for and few foreign visitors came to the country due to the entry ban. The lifting of the last measures in early May 2023 is expected to alleviate these issues.
Kenyaʼs temporary entry ban due to the coronavirus (Covid-19) has now been lifted.
Do coronavirus restrictions still apply when travelling to Kenya?
On 9 May 2023, Kenya lifted key corona measures for international travellers. As of this date, there have not been any checks regarding vaccines or testing. There is no longer any need to show proof of vaccination or testing. Those who are healthy only need to show a valid visa and passport upon arrival. In some cases, a return ticket or booking confirmation of accommodation may also be requested.
Travellers with flu-like symptoms will still face some measures. They have to register their travel with a digital form before departure. Moreover, a test requirement applies in this case upon arrival in Kenya. Is the result of this test negative? Then they can travel freely through Kenya.
Kenya visa remains mandatory
All travellers need an eTA to visit Kenya. This visa can only be applied for online and is issued after an average of only 9 days. The eTA allows travellers to stay in Kenya for up to 90 days. It is possible to extend this permitted length of stay once. You can easily submit your application from home. All you need to do is fill in a digital form and upload some documents. Once the eTA is granted, you will receive a confirmation by email and SMS.
Submit a visa application for Kenya here
Are there any Covid-19 measures that apply upon return?
Covid-19 related measures no longer apply for travellers returning to the UK or Ireland. You can therefore travel back without any problems and do not have to show any other documents besides your passport. It is also no longer necessary to register your trip.
e-Visa.co.uk is a commercial and professional visa agency, and supports travellers in obtaining, among others, the Kenya visa. e-Visa.co.uk acts as an intermediary and is in no way part of any government. You can also apply for a visa directly with the immigration service (52.53 USD per visa, via www.etakenya.go.ke). However, not with our level of support. If you submit your application via e-Visa.co.uk, our support centre is available to you 24/7. In addition, we manually check your application and all the documents you provide before submitting it to the immigration authorities on your behalf. If we suspect any errors or omissions while doing so, we will personally contact you to ensure that your application can still be processed quickly and correctly. To use our services, you pay us 52.53 USD in consular fees, which we pay to the immigration service on your behalf, as well as £23.44 in service fees as compensation for our services, including VAT. Our services have saved many travellers from major problems during their trip. Should an application be rejected despite our support and verification, we will refund the full purchase price (unless an application for a previous Kenya visa was rejected for the same traveller). Read more about our services here.