As is the case with many countries, there are certain restrictions on traveling to Kenya. For example, the majority of travelers are not able to enter the country without a visa and the requirements vary depending on the nationality of the visitor.
In general, Kenya is a very accessible country. There are few restrictions that would prevent most travelers from visiting the sovereign state under normal circumstances.
However, with the 2019-2020 outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) causing international concern, a number of governments around the world are putting entry restrictions in place for foreign travelers. Kenya is no exception.
Several new travel restrictions for Kenya have been implemented due to COVID-19. As a result, many overseas visitors are currently not allowed to travel to the East African state.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Entry Restrictions for Kenya
Kenya has introduced strict travel restrictions due to COVID-19. These regulations are aimed at controlling the spread of the virus and preventing a rise in cases in the country itself.
So far, Kenya has had a relatively low number of cases of people infected with the coronavirus. Nevertheless, as the number of cases worldwide continues to rise, the decision was made to restrict entry to the country:
- All international passenger flights into and out of Kenya are suspended until further notice.
- Cargo flights and emergency services will continue to operate, as will certain domestic flights.
- Kenya’s borders with Somalia, Uganda, and Ethiopia are closed, except for cargo trucks.
Travelers affected by these cancellations have been advised to postpone their trips or exchange their booking for travel vouchers that may be used within one year.
Entry is limited to only Kenyan nationals and legal residents returning home. When they arrive in Kenya, they are obliged to self-isolate for 14 days.
More travel restrictions may be implemented with little to no notice. Travelers should be prepared for this.
What Measures Is Kenya Taking Against Coronavirus?
Apart from the new travel restrictions for Kenya, the country is taking a number of other steps to combat the spread of COVID-19:
- Lockdown in the capital city Nairobi until July 7th
- Evening curfew from 9 am to 4 am across the country
- Road, train, and air transportation restrictions to and from Nairobi, Mombasa, and Mandera until July 7th
- Mandatory use of face masks in public spaces
- Only 50% of the seating capacity may be used when driving a private vehicle
Public facilities are now obliged to provide soap, water, and hand sanitizer for everyone to wash their hands.
Most schools and government offices in Kenya have been closed since Monday 16th March and will not return until September. Hotels and supermarkets currently have restricted opening hours.
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has issued a warning against public gatherings, even at events such as religious services. He also urged companies to close their offices and make provisions for their staff to be able to work from home.
Kenya’s Ministry of Health has also advised against going to crowded places and has urged the public to avoid COVID.19 misinformation that could cause panic.
Any individual (Kenyan citizen or foreign national) who is experiencing symptoms, such as a cough or fever, should get themselves tested at their nearest health facility.
General Travel Restrictions for Kenya
The majority of travelers cannot travel freely to Kenya. Most visitors to the country must have a visa in order to enter.
The Kenya eVisa is available to citizens of most countries. This online visa is valid for 90 days.
Eligible foreign nationals can complete a Kenya eVisa form via the internet, which is quick and simple to do.
Check the requirements to obtain an eVisa to see which nationalities are eligible to apply.
There are stricter entry restrictions on nationals of the following countries, who must apply for a consular visa at a Kenyan embassy:
- North Korea
Restrictions on What You Can Bring Into Kenya
There are restrictions on entering Kenya with various items. Firearms, drugs, explosives, weapons, and hazardous material are all prohibited.
Similarly, there are restrictions on meat, plants, soil, pornographic material, and single-use plastic bags.
The amount of alcohol and tobacco that can be brought into the country is limited in accordance with Kenya’s customs regulations.
Travel Advisory for Kenya
In addition to the restrictions on who can enter Kenya, there are also certain parts of Kenya that it is advisable to avoid. These include the following:
- The Kenya-Somalia border
- Certain coastal areas
- Parts of Turkana County
These recommendations are due to high crime rates or conflict in the aforementioned regions.
Similarly, when visiting the city of Nairobi, it is advisable to avoid certain neighborhoods, including Eastleigh and Kibera.
Other parts of Kenya are considered safe for overseas visitors. Even so, as with any trip to another country, travelers should exercise caution and keep their belongings close.
Further travel advice includes:
- Keep your passport and visa in a safe location and always carry copies
- If going as part of a tour, always follow your guide’s instructions
- Make contingency plans to return home in case of emergency