Differences Between Kenya e-Visa, Visa on Arrival and Embassy Visa

electronic visa for Kenya

The majority of foreign nationals need a visa to visit Kenya. Passport holders from just over 40 nations can enter Kenya visa-free, most of which are other African countries.

Fortunately, citizens of more than 140 are now eligible for the Kenya e-visa, the most convenient option for people heading to Kenya.

The electronic visa was introduced in 2015 to facilitate travel to Kenya. Not only is the application process efficient, but crossing Kenyan borders with an eVisa is also quicker.

Tourists who are not eligible for the Kenya visa can get another type of Kenya visa: visas on arrival and embassy visas are also available.

The information below explains the differences between each of the different Kenyan travel visas and who should apply.

Kenya eVisa: the Best Option for Most Travelers

All those from eligible countries are encouraged to take advantage of Kenya’s eVisa system.

Foreign nationals with an approved eVisa can spend up to 90 days in Kenya. The permit is valid for a wide range of purposes, including:

  • Tourism
  • Business
  • Medical reasons

This means that holidaymakers taking part in some of the country’s most popular activities, such as going on a Kenyan safari, can do so using the e-visa.

Applying for the Kenya eVisa is fast and efficient

Unlike the traditional visa process, the Kenya eVisa application process is fully online and can be submitted from anywhere with an internet connection 24 hours a day.

With no need to present paperwork at an embassy or consulate, or wait around at the airport on arrival, the eVisa saves time and is hassle-free.

The visa form and supporting documentation are submitted digitally, the whole process can be completed within 15 minutes.

Electronic visa processing is also quick. In most cases, applications are reviewed in under 72 hours but it is advisable to request a visa a week in advance in case of any complications or delays.

The eVisa is single-entry. To return to Kenya travelers simply have to reapply for another visa online following the same procedure.

Kenya Visa on Arrival at the Airport

Foreign nationals eligible for an eVisa are strongly advised to use the online system. Kenyan authorities plan to end visas on arrival in the near future.

Whilst not recommended, visas are available on arrival at Kenyan airports. Anyone who chooses this option rather than applying in advance should allow extra time for lines and visa processing on arrival. Visitors can expect long waiting times, especially during busy periods.

Whilst eVisa fees are covered using a debit or credit card, the visa on arrival can only be paid for in cash. It is necessary to have the exact amount in US dollars on arrival at the airport.

Like the eVisa, a visa on arrival is also single-entry and valid for a maximum of 90 days.

Tourists are reminded that a visa on arrival may be rejected, many travelers consider it too risky to wait until the airport to obtain the essential permit and prefer to leave home with all the documentation arranged.

Kenya Embassy Visa: the Traditional Method

Although citizens of most countries can get a visa online, a few groups of people do not meet the Kenya e-visa requirements and must, therefore, contact their nearest Kenyan embassy or consulate.

Passport holders from just 16 nations need to request a Kenya visa using the traditional process:

  • Afghanistan
  • Armenia
  • Azerbaijan
  • Cameroon
  • Eritrea
  • Iraq
  • Kosovo
  • Lebanon
  • Libya
  • Mali
  • North Korea
  • Palestine
  • Senegal
  • Somalia
  • Syria
  • Tajikistan

Consular visa applications are referred to the Director of Immigration Services for review, depending on demand waiting response times can vary.

As it takes longer to obtain a traditional embassy visa than an eVisa, foreigners should begin the process well in advance.

How to Get a Multiple-Entry Visa for Kenya

Both the eVisa for Kenya and the visa on arrival are single-entry permits.

Travelers who need to make several trips to Kenya, such as business people, may find a multiple-entry visa more convenient.

It is not possible to obtain a multi-entry visa for Kenya online or on arrival at the airport. A visa for multiple entries can now only be issued by officials at the immigration headquarters in Nairobi.

The procedure to get a multiple entry visa is as follows:

  • Apply for a single-entry eVisa online
  • Travel to Kenya using the eVisa
  • On arrival in Kenya, go to the immigration offices in Nairobi to request a multiple-entry visa

Alternatively, foreigners who have left Kenya and wish to return can simply apply for another single-entry eVisa online.