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Kenya introduces new travel requirements for foreigners after abolishing visas

Following President William Ruto's declaration that foreigners need not have visas to visit Kenya, the government has launched the Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) to facilitate visits to Kenya.

President William Ruto

An Electronic Travel Authorization, is a digital authorization that allows foreign nationals to enter a country for a specified period.

The purpose of an ETA is to streamline the entry process, enhance security, and facilitate smoother border crossings.

The eTA is mandatory for all foreign visitors, with the exception of citizens from the East African Community (EAC) Member States.

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

Vistorsa are required to pay a non-refundable fee of $30 to apply for an eTA.

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  1. Apply Online: Utilize the official website www.etakenya.go.ke or the upcoming "Kenya Travel Authorization" mobile app (available from January).
  2. Application Steps:
  • Click "Apply Now" on the website.
  • Follow the instructions carefully.
  • Ensure accurate data entry.
  • Submit the application.

3. 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.
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  • Children and Infants: All foreign visitors, including children under 18, must apply for an eTA.
  • The legal guardian, parent, or accompanying adult is responsible for completing the application.
  • Valid passport
  • Recent passport picture or a selfie picture taken during the application process
  • Contact details (home address, telephone, email)
  • Travel information and flight itinerary
  • Proof of booking for accommodation
  • Yellow fever vaccination certificate if coming from endemic countries
  • Credit/debit card information for payment, if applicable
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The standard processing time is three working days, but visitors can opt for premium services for faster turnaround.

It is advisable to apply at least three days before travel, with applications accepted up to three months in advance.

You can check your application status anytime at www.etakenya.go.ke. An email confirming receipt will be sent promptly after submission, containing a reference number for status checks.

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  • An eTA does not guarantee permission to travel but is a prerequisite for boarding.
  • The eTA is valid for a single entry and must be redone for each journey.
  • It is obligatory to present a valid eTA during check-in and boarding.
  • Ensure you have other necessary documents like your passport and boarding pass.
  • Be prepared for possible questioning at departure or arrival points.

For frequent travelers, the "Kenya Travel Authorization" mobile app, launching in January, allows secure storage of travel documents and profiles for future use.

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