News report | | 04/03/2022 | ±2 minutes reading time

More and more nationalities are required to apply for a visa before travelling to Kenya. As a result, the country has dropped considerably in the annual ranking for visa-free travel.

Africa Visa Openness Index

The Africa Visa Openness Index (AVOI) is an annual ranking that determines which countries in Africa are most accessible to African travellers. 54 countries are tested, and it is determined whether travellers with other nationalities need a visa to enter a specific country. The ranking also takes into account whether travellers can obtain a visa upon arriving at the airport (visa on arrival) and whether they can apply for an e-visa before departure. Based on these factors, points are awarded as follows:

  • 1 point for each nationality allowed to travel to the country without a visa
  • 0.8 points for each nationality that can obtain a visa upon arrival
  • 0 points for each nationality that has to apply for a visa before departure

During the past few years, more and more African countries have made it possible for travellers with an African nationality to travel without a visa.

Kenya drops sharply

In the latest rankings, Kenya scores badly. The country has dropped no less than 17 places and is now ranked 28th. In 2018, Kenya was still in ninth place after it became possible for all African nationalities to obtain a visa on arrival at the airport. However, this changed with the COVID-19 pandemic. Kenya introduced many travel restrictions which limited the possibility of travelling to the country, even for people with an African nationality.

Kenya has also made significant changes to its visa system. Since 2021, visas for Kenya can only be applied for online. Paper visas are no longer available, so it is no longer possible to obtain a visa on arrival in Kenya. All visa applications must be made prior to departure, and it is only possible to travel once the visa is granted. Although Kenya allows visa-free travel to several African countries, it still lags far behind other African countries.

West African countries in the lead

The ranking is mainly dominated by West African countries. The top three positions are held by Benin, Seychelles and Gambia. The top ten positions include Senegal, Nigeria and Ghana. Popular holiday destinations among Western travellers, such as Egypt (40) and South Africa (30), place relatively poorly as visa applications are still required for many nationalities, including African travellers. Western Sahara is at the bottom of the ranking list, along with countries that suffer from structural conflicts, such as Sudan and Libya.

Kenya visa for Western travellers

Western travellers need a visa to travel to Kenya in almost all cases. Visa-free travel to Kenya is mainly limited to other African countries. Since Kenya has not issued paper visas since 2021, and it is also no longer possible to obtain a visa on arrival at the airport, all applications must be submitted online before departure. The online visa application form for Kenya is fairly easy to use. After payment, a number of documents need to be uploaded before the visa is processed. The application remains on hold until these documents are provided online.