The electronic visa (eVisa) for Kenya will become available and mandatory for visitors from all countries that need a visa from the start of 2021.
The Ministry of Interior has announced that the online Kenya eVisa system will issue 100% of visas starting on January 1. This shift in policy reflects the government’s move towards digital e-services.
Nationals of around 140 different countries currently meet the requirements for the Kenya eVisa, which offers a streamlined process to quickly and easily obtain authorization to travel to the African country. This will be expanded to include all travelers who are not visa-exempt.
Why Is Kenya Expanding the eVisa System?
Kenya is making a shift towards the digitalization of services. After launching the eVisa in 2015, the country is installing biometric security technology at airports and phasing out old Kenyan passports to replace them with new East African Community biometric e-passports.
Extending the online application system to all travelers who require a visa for Kenya is part of this move into e-services.
Since its introduction, the Kenyan eVisa has proved successful, providing an easier way for foreign nationals to obtain permission to enter Kenya. Its many advantages over consular visas and visas on arrival have led to the decision to discontinue other types of Kenyan tourist visa.
Benefits of the Kenya eVisa
Kenya is making the shift to 100% eVisa applications due to the advantages that the online system brings.
The ability to apply online makes the process of obtaining a visa far easier for foreign travelers. Applications can be made from any location with an internet connection, including the individual’s home or office. It is also possible to apply on a phone or device.
The online form itself is streamlined and takes a matter of minutes to complete. Applications are processed quickly and the eVisa is received within a few business days.
The entire process is designed to be quicker and easier than applying in person at an embassy.
The electronic retrieval of data, combined with new biometric technology at airports, also improves security for the country.Apply for an eVisa to Kenya
What Will Happen to Other Kenyan Visas?
After 2020, the Kenya eVisa platform will be the only way of obtaining a visa for Kenya. All applications will be made online and the travel document will be delivered to the foreign visitor by email.
Currently, other methods of obtaining a visa for Kenya include:
- Applying at an embassy or consulate
- Applying for a visa on arrival
Both of these methods have considerable drawbacks. Due to this, these services are being discontinued.
Citizens of countries that were previously required to apply for a visa at a Kenyan embassy will be able to complete an online application for Kenya eVisa from 1 January 2021.
It has yet to be announced whether long-term visas and permits (for example Work/Resident Permits) will still be issued by embassies or whether they will also be moved to the online platform.
Disadvantages of embassy visas and visas on arrival for Kenya
Going to an embassy or consulate to apply takes time, effort, and money and the application process is lengthier than that of the eVisa.
Applying for a visa on arrival, on the other hand, means spending a long time waiting at border control and if, for some reason, the application is rejected, the traveler will be forced to return home.
The eVisa avoids all of these issues by providing a simple application done in advance, so that if there are any problems with the traveler’s paperwork, they can be resolved before arriving at the Kenyan border.
For this reason, starting in 2021, all foreign visitors traveling to Kenya must apply for an eVisa online prior to boarding a flight.
Will I Be Able to Get a Visa for Kenya on Arrival in 2021?
The visa on arrival facilities currently available in Kenya will be discontinued at the end of 2020 in favor of the eVisa system. From the start of January 2021, all Kenya visa applications will be made online.
Senior Deputy Director of Immigration Services Alicent Odipo released the following statement: “All passengers from countries that require a visa to enter Kenya shall be required to obtain e-Visa before boarding an aircraft.”
This reflects the new policy of making the visa service electronic as part of an integrated digital travel and security system.
Who Can Get an Electronic Visa for Kenya?
There are 141 countries that are eligible for the Kenya eVisa.
- United States
- United Kingdom
- Antigua and Barbuda
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Burkina Faso
- Cape Verde
- Central African Republic
- Costa Rica
- Cote D’Ivoire
- Czech Republic
- Dominican Republic
- El Salvador
- Equatorial Guinea
- Hong Kong
- Korea, South
- Marshall Islands
- Federal States of Micronesia
- New Zealand
- Sao Tome and Principe
- Saudi Arabia
- South Sudan
- Sri Lanka
- United Arab Emirates
- Vatican City