Kenya’s Ministry of Home Affairs has announced that the Kenya e-visa will become mandatory for all foreign travellers wishing to visit Kenya from 1 January 2021 onward. Previously, the e-visa was just one of the different types of visas that Kenya had to offer. However, the government is now planning to abolish all other visa types.
Switching to fully digital system
Kenya has been in the process of digitising various government systems for a number of years. The visa system is one of them. In 2015, Kenya introduced the electronic visa to make applying for a visa easier for travellers from certain countries. Unlike other visa types, the e-visa can be applied for fully online. Thanks to the online application process of this visa, travellers to Kenya do not have to visit the embassy or consulate. The introduction of the modern online system led to a growth in the number of tourists to Kenya.
The plan of the Kenyan government will result in the abolition of all other visa types. Visas will no longer be available at embassies, and airport kiosks will close. This means that even the visa on arrival will no longer be available. All travellers will be required to apply for an e-visa before departure.
E-visa available for everyone
Another consequence of the government's decision to make the e-visa mandatory for foreign travellers is that this visa will become available for residents of all countries in the world. In the past, the e-visa could only be applied for by travellers from a limited number of countries, including the United Kingdom and Ireland. Travellers from other countries had to go to the embassy to apply for a visa for Kenya. This will no longer be necessary. It is expected that the ambitious plan of the government will lead to a substantial growth in the number of travellers to Kenya.
Faster and safer
The e-visa for Kenya has rapidly become more popular since it was introduced. The main reason for this is that the visa is much faster and easier to apply for than a visa at the embassy. The e-visa can easily be applied for online from home using a computer or smartphone, as long as the visa requirements are met. To apply for the e-visa, you need a passport that is valid for at least 6 more months after your arrival in Kenya. Depending on the purpose of your trip, additional documents such as an invitation letter from a company may be required. After the application has been approved, the visa is sent by e-mail and can be used for travel. The visa is valid for a stay of 90 days. Once in Kenya, the maximum stay can be extended to up to 180 days.
According to Kenya’s immigration service, this new decision also leads to better security, as all travellers can be screened in advance. The government is also installing new biometric technology at the airports. Because it will no longer be possible to obtain a visa at the airport in Kenya in 2021, it is expected that the airports will become a lot less crowded.