News report | | 14/04/2020 | ±2 minutes reading time

With the start of the new decade, Kenya has something to celebrate. In a recently released global ranking of passports that allow visa-free travel to the largest number of countries, Kenya came out on top. This year, it ranked 72nd out of all countries in the world. Kenya thus holds one of the better positions of all African countries.

Henley Passport Index

The ranking is known as the Henley Passport Index. This index is based on exclusive information from the International Air Transport Association (IATA). It shows which passports allow one to enter most countries without having to apply for a visa. The top places are occupied by economic superpowers, including Japan (1st place with 191 visa-free destinations) and Germany (3rd place, with 189 countries which they can enter without a visa). The United Kingdom also scores well. This is largely due to the European Schengen Agreement, which allows member states to travel to other European countries without a visa. For travel outside the EU, both British and Irish travellers often do require a visa.

Less global mobility in Africa

Although Kenya and other African countries score relatively well, there is not only positive news. Compared to 10 years ago, Kenya has dropped significantly in the rankings. In 2010, it was still in 64th place. It ranks below countries like Seychelles (151 visa-free countries), South Africa (101 visa-free countries) and Mauritius (148 visa-free countries). Most African countries have dropped in the rankings. The reason for the decline in power of many African passports is the political instability that has plagued the continent in recent years. But companies in the tourism sector also point out that it is not that Kenya and other African countries have necessarily got worse; they have instead remained static, while other countries have actually made great leaps in terms of visa-free travel.

“Kenya should introduce visa-free travel itself”

So while travellers with Kenyan passports can travel to a large number of countries without having to apply for a visa, the reverse is not always true. While Kenyan travellers can travel to 72 countries without a visa, the country itself has made visa-free travel available to only 43 countries, the majority of which are other African countries. This means that travellers from, for example, the United Kingdom or Ireland have to apply for a Kenya visa to travel to the country. Tourism specialists say that the most important step Kenya can take is to add more countries to its list of visa-free countries. This in turn would motivate these countries to include Kenya in their list of visa-free countries. So far, Kenya has not made any announcements in this regard, which means that it is mandatory for the majority of western travellers to apply for a Kenya visa to travel to the country.

Apply online for the Kenya visa

For travellers who want to travel to Kenya at very short notice, there is also the option of an urgent Kenya visa application. A small fee is charged for this. Urgent applications are processed much faster, and usually lead to an approved visa within four working days. However, even for urgent applications it is impossible to give an absolute guarantee for the delivery time. It is therefore strongly recommended submitting your visa application as early as possible.

Take note: this news article about the visa for Kenya is more than one year old. It might contain outdated information and advice, and no rights can therefore be derived from this article. Are you going on a trip soon and do you wish to do know what rules currently apply? Read all about the up-to-date information about the visa for Kenya.