21 December 2023| Post by
In a landmark move set to revolutionize travel to East Africa, Kenya has announced a visa-free regime for all international visitors starting from January 2024.
“It shall no longer be necessary for any person from any corner of the globe to carry the burden of applying for a visa to come to Kenya,” President William Ruto announced at an event in Niorobi on December 12, 2023.
This bold step, coinciding with the nation’s 60th Independence Day, marks a significant shift in Kenya’s approach to global tourism and travel facilitation.
However, the change in visa policy for Kenya does not mean the country is granting unrestricted entry to all travelers. Instead, the Kenyan government is launching an Electronic Travel Authorization platform.
Kenya Electronic Travel Authorization Launches for Visa-Free Travel
The Electronic Travel Authorization for Kenya will replace the Kenya eVisa system for short term travel that was introduced in 2021. Travelers will need to apply through an online platform that will be made available from January 2024.
Following submission, a security check will be carried out in coordination with the country of origin of the passenger. The result, either approval or denial, will be shared within 1-2 weeks.
This system ensures that all travelers undergo necessary security checks before their arrival. This will maintain Kenya’s safety while enhancing travel convenience.
Although the new electronic travel authorization’s specifics are yet unknown, it’s anticipated that it will work similarly to the ETA systems in the US, UK, and Canada.
Alluring Africa CEO Sunit Sanghrajka has asserted that submitting the application should just take a few minutes, and the approval will be sent via email.
Immigration systems that are digital have proliferated in recent years. The European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS), which is expected to debut in the spring of 2025 following many delays, is arguably the most significant.
Visa Exemption to Boost Kenya’s Tourism and Economic Growth
Kenya’s decision to allow visa-free entry is not just about easing travel; it’s a strategic move to bolster the country’s economy.
The tourism sector is a vital component of Kenya’s economy. It has shown remarkable recovery post-pandemic, with a 90% increase in arrivals.
By removing visa requirements, Kenya anticipates further growth, potentially surpassing pre-pandemic levels.
“We are dedicated to fostering an environment that ensures Kenya remains a premier destination”, said Alfred Mutua, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Tourism and Wildlife.
Armand Arton, creator of the Passport Index, has also hailed Keny’a decision. It is “another example of recent efforts by African Union countries to boost their economies through eliminating frictions on travel”, he said.