New travel requirements and how to apply them

New travel requirements were launched by the government has and dubbed as Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) which will facilitate visits to Kenya following President William Ruto’s announcement that visitors from around the world will enter Kenya without having to apply for a visa, a historic directive in the country’s 60-year history.

Starting January 2024, all travelers will not require a visa to travel to Kenya, but will be required to apply the new travel requirements with the Head of State remarking that Kenya is considered the cradle of humankind.

However, the eTA will instead be used to facilitate entry into the country for foreign travelers.

“To implement this new policy, we have developed a digital platform to ensure that all travelers to Kenya are identified in advance on an electronic platform. All travellers will obtain electronic travel authorization,” he stated during his Jamhuri Day speech on December 12, 2023.

An Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) is an automated system that determines the eligibility of visitors to travel to a specific country without requiring a traditional visa.

It is an electronic form of permission that travellers must obtain before boarding a flight or entering the destination country.

ETAs are often used to streamline the entry process, enhance security, and facilitate easier monitoring of travellers.

Key features of Electronic Travel Authorization include:

Online Application: Travelers typically apply for an ETA online through an official website designated by the destination country’s immigration authorities.

Quick Processing: ETAs are designed for swift processing, often providing approval or denial within a short period.

Automated System: The authorization process is usually automated and relies on information provided by the traveller, which is cross-checked against databases for security and eligibility.

Validity Period: An ETA is generally valid for a specific duration, allowing the traveller to enter the country within that timeframe. The length of validity varies depending on the country and the purpose of the visit.

Multiple Use or Single Use: Some ETAs are valid for multiple entries over a specified period, while others may be single-entry only.

Compatibility with Visa Waiver Programs: ETAs are often associated with countries that have visa waiver programs, allowing travellers from certain nations to enter for short stays without a visa.

Normally, one is required to have a valid passport for verification, and will also be needed to pay a fee. In some cases, additional identification documents may be required before the authorization is validated.

The ETA is then electronically linked to one’s passport or travel document.

Under the visa-free policy, Kenya will begin using the Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) to identify visitors entering its soil. Therefore, the eTA becomes mandatory for all foreign visitors, except for citizens from the East African Community (EAC) Member States.

The eight EAC Member States include Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Somalia, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Uganda, and Tanzania.

How to Apply for eTA

Apply Online via the official website www.etakenya.go.ke or the upcoming “Kenya Travel Authorization” mobile app (available from January).

Click “Apply Now” on the website.

Follow the instructions carefully.

Ensure accurate data entry.

Submit the application.

Confirmation Emails

You will receive an email confirming receipt of your application.

If applicable, you will receive an email confirming payment receipt.

Upon the immigration officer’s decision, you will receive an email confirming approval/refusal.

While the visa-free entry is expected to be scrapped once the directive takes effect in January 2024, this does not mean that global citizens can enter Kenya…without paying anything.

In a gazette notice in November 2023, the government through the Ministry of Interior announced that ETA charges would be $30 (approximately Ksh4,500).

The same notice revealed that fees for single journey visas were raised from Ksh7,572 to Ksh15,145 while the fee for a multiple journey visa went up from Ksh15,145 to Ksh75,725.

Extending a visa, which was initially free was to set one back Ksh30,290 while the application for visas for Kenyan children which was also free would cost the same price.

The charges were meant to take effect on January 1, 2024, following public participation, as the Ministry of Interior had initially revoked the charges from taking immediate effect in November 2023.

Read also: https://zungukatv.com/2023/12/23/county-bosses-should-use-funds-meant-for-development-wisely/


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