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Economy

Tough new online visa rule takes effect September 1

A group of tourists arrives in Kenya. Visitors
A group of tourists arrives in Kenya. Visitors to Kenya will from September 1, 2015 be required to have e-Visas to enter or board flights to the country. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP  

Visitors to Kenya will from next week have to apply for online visas days before travel in a departure from the practice where their passports are stamped on arrival.

The new rules, introduced in July but temporarily suspended after an outcry from tourism players, will come into effect from September 1 following the expiry of a two-month extension.

The rules come at a time Kenya is battling extremism with terrorists emerging even from developed countries like the United Kingdom.

“Effective 1st September 2015, passengers may be denied boarding of their flight to Kenya or denied entry to Kenya if they do not have printed copy of their e-visa with them,” said a statement from Kenya Airways.

The new screening rules require that the visitors apply for an online visa before they leave their countries. The visas will take a minimum of two days to be processed.

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Most open

This means that tourists, businessmen and other visitors to Kenya will now have to plan in advance before flying into the country.

Kenya has in the past accepted visitors from many countries to fly in and have their visas stamped at the airport.

VisaMapper, an online platform that highlights visa-free travel destinations, shows Kenya as one of the most open countries with nationals of most countries getting their visas upon arrival.

Al-Shabaab, a Somalia-based terrorist group, has been recruiting European nationals and the proximity of the two countries means that some may land in Kenya before proceeding to Somalia.

In June, the BBC reported that at least 50 British citizens are believed to have joined Al-Shabaab.

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