Since the start of this year, Kenya has removed visa requirements for foreign travelers and established an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) system to attract more tourists and investments. The new initiative has already taken off and the government has treated thousands of requests and reinforced security thanks to the preliminary screening of passengers.
First week of ETA: the figures
Recently, the Kenyan government indicated that out of 32,000 ETA requests received since its launch, 25,000 have been approved in just a few days, generating over $1 million (ETA costing around $34). Currently, only 110 applications have been cancelled, rejected for security reasons national, among which were people registered on various watch lists, including those of Interpol.
Replacement of the electronic visa with ETA
Before the ETA was in place, citizens of 51 countries were granted a visa waiver in Kenya, while travelers from another 155 countries had to complete a visa application process. electronic costing about $50. This system has been developed. replaced through the electronic travel authorization, which became operational at the beginning of January 2024.
- Equality Processing and Fee Reduction: Entry requirements and payments applicable for all foreign nationals are now uniform, regardless of their country of origin. The e-visa fee was previously $50 while the ETA fee is $30, ensuring fairness. and equality.
- Pre-arrival passenger information: With the introduction of ETA, Kenya now has comprehensive data on all visitors, considerably improving its ability to à guarantee security and the well-being of visitors and its citizens.
- Reduced processing time: Compared to the electronic visa application process, ETA offers a simple and quick process. This makes it possible to quickly assist travelers, regardless of their arrival time and taking into account different time zones around the world.
First travelers benefiting from the new ETA system
On Friday January 5, 2024, approximately 500 travelers arrived without a visa at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi. Among them, 4,046 ETA requests have already been processed, while others are examined as a priority based on the travel schedule submitted by each applicant. The Kenyan government has emphasized that the objective was to encourage tourism and attract foreign investment through a fair, fast and reliable system.
Kenya’s visa-free policy, which was implemented in January 2024, aims to achieve several objectives:
Boost tourism: By making it easier for tourists to enter the country, Kenya hopes to attract more visitors and boost its tourism industry, which is a major source of foreign exchange earnings.
Promote trade and investment: Eliminating visa requirements can also make it easier for businesses to conduct trade and investment in Kenya, which can lead to economic growth.
Strengthen regional integration: Kenya is hoping that its visa-free policy will encourage other countries in Africa to follow suit, which would make it easier for people to travel and do business across the continent.
Project Kenya as a progressive and welcoming country: A visa-free policy can create a positive image of Kenya as a welcoming destination for visitors and investors.
The Kenyan government also hopes that the visa-free policy will help to create economic opportunities for Kenyans, such as jobs in the tourism and hospitality sectors.
All the documents needed
To apply for a Kenya ETA (Electronic Travel Authorization), you will need to provide the following documents:
- A valid passport that is valid for at least 6 months beyond your departure date from Kenya.
- A recent passport-sized photo taken within the last 6 months. The photo must measure 3.5 x 4.5 cm and show your face without glasses, hat, or scarf.
- Proof of transportation, such as a round-trip airline ticket or a detailed transportation attestation written in English.
- Proof of accommodation, such as a hotel booking or an attestation from a tour operator.
If you are traveling for work or study purposes, you will also need to provide additional documents, such as an invitation letter from your employer or educational institution. The documents must be scanned and uploaded to the Kenya Immigration website when you submit your ETA application.
For children under the age of 18, the legal guardian, parent or accompanying adult is responsible for filling in the application. Getting an ETA do not guarantee your entrance in Kenya: In addition, you might be subjected to questioning at the point of departure or arrival. This might result in you being denied access to the means of transport.