Passport tucked away? Not quite! Hold onto that little blue booklet for now. While Kenya’s historic visa-free entry for all visitors starting this January 2024 is indeed a reality, there’s one tiny wrinkle in the plan. Picture a digital handshake at the border. Your new pre-flight companion will be the Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) system.

This does not mean the visa-free future is on hold. Think of it as a swanky new VIP entrance to the home of the Safari – just with a quick online RSVP beforehand. So, before you pack your safari shorts and Maasai bead wishlist, head to the ETA portal (launched on Thursday, January 4th). Once approved, you are officially part of the “Hakuna Matata” club, ready to explore Kenya’s vibrant landscapes and diverse cultures with only your passport and a smile.

The extra step of using the ETA system is designed to improve security and make the arrival process smoother. Skipping the visa queues is like receiving a virtual high-five from Kenyan immigration, ensuring faster entry. This system benefits everyone involved- you get fspeedierentry, and authorities get better management. Plus, it showcases Kenya’s dedication to creating a seamless travel experience.

Persons Exempted From Obtaining the Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA)

  1. Holders of valid Kenya Passports or one-way Emergency Certificates issued by Kenya Missions abroad.
  2. Holders of Kenya Permanent Residence, valid Work Permits and Passes.
  3. Holders of valid United Nations Conventional Travel Document issued by the Government of Kenya.
  4. Members of the Diplomatic Missions and International Organizations Accredited to Kenya.
  5. Citizens of the East African Partner States. These countries include Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda. (Exempted for Six (6) months)
  6. All passengers in transit through Kenya arriving and leaving by the same aircraft or transferring to another aircraft and who do not leave the precincts of Airports in Kenya.
  7. All passengers arriving and leaving by the same ship, and who do not leave the ship.
  8. Crew members of any ship, aircraft, train, vehicle or carrier whose name and particulars are included in the crew manifest of the vessel, aircraft, train, vehicle or carrier and who is proceeding in such ship, aircraft, train, vehicle or carrier to a destination outside Kenya.
  9. Owners of private aircraft stopping over for refuelling in Kenya and who do not leave the precincts of the airport.

All travellers, including infants and children, must apply for an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) before going to Kenya. Please gather the following documents before beginning your application.

For all Travellers

  1. Valid passport for at least six (6) months after your planned arrival date in Kenya with at least one blank page.
  2. Selfie or passport-type photo
  3. Contact information, email address and phone number
  4. Details of your arrival and departure itinerary
  5. Accommodation booking confirmation(s)
  6. Credit card, debit card, Apple Pay or other means of payment

Based on your country of residence and citizenship, the following may also be required:

  1. Financial assets/bank letter(s)
  2. Return transportation booking (flight ticket,..)

Based on your country of residence and travel history, the following may also be required:

  1. Yellow fever certificate
  2. Other vaccination(s) or test results certificates
  1. Based on your purpose of visit, the following may also be required:
  2. Letter and/or appointment letter from the referring doctor/hospital
  3. Conference invitation/participation letter
  4. Employment contract
  5. Supporting documents for resettlement

Business visits

  1. Invitation letter from company
  2. Copy of registration of the company

Family visits

  1. Invitation letter from family/host
  2. Identity card / Passport / Alien card / Entry permit of the family member/host

Diplomatic travel

  1. A Diplomatic, Official and Service passport
  2. An official letter from the Country of Origin/ Organisation/ Foreign Affairs.

Processing times for eTAs vary based on type and citizenship. The standard processing time is three days. Applicants can apply for premium service for faster turnaround or assistance from officers.

So, dust off your wanderlust and start planning your Kenyan adventure! A world of breathtaking safaris, sun-kissed beaches, and cultural treasures awaits. Keep your passport handy for now, and savour the anticipation – your visa-free Kenyan escapade is just a click away!