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Kenya eVisa system to be extended from 2021

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The Kenya eVisa will be a mandatory entry requirement for non-exempt passport holders and will replace other visitor visas for Kenya. PHOTO | POOL

The Kenya eVisa is being extended to travelers from all countries as part of a shift towards digitalisation.

Previously, the Kenya eVisa had been available to people from select nations only. From January 1st, however, all nationalities that require a visa will benefit from the electronic system.

This is good news for travelers. The online application offers a faster and more efficient way to get the essential permit, with no need to attend an embassy or consulate at any point during the application process.

The Kenya eVisa will be a mandatory entry requirement for non-exempt passport holders and will replace other visitor visas for Kenya.

Increased use of the electronic visa will also boost security. New, biometric technology is being introduced at airports in preparation for a full transition to eVisas.

Read on to find out more about the advantages of the Kenya eVisa, the online application, and how to obtain a Kenya visa extension.

Key Information about the Kenya eVisa

The Kenya eVisa system allows travelers to submit their visa application from home, at any time of day. The application form can be accessed from an electronic device connected to the internet, such as a personal computer or mobile phone.

Until now, Kenya’s visa policy meant that visitors from some countries were required to apply for a visa in person at an embassy. The new electronic format will soon be available to all foreigners who require a visa, offering greater convenience.

Visa processing is fast, with most applicants receiving the approved authorization in just a few working days. The visa is sent by email, eliminating the need to collect it from the embassy.

Kenya eVisas are granted for 30-days and can then be extended twice, for a maximum stay of up to 6 months in total. The visa must be used within 3 months of issue.

Embassy Visas and Visas on Arrival Phased Out

Foreigners need to be prepared for the transition to the eVisa: from 2021, the Kenya eVisa will be the only option available.

Senior Deputy Director of Immigration Services, Alicent Odipo released a statement anointing that “All passengers from countries that require a visa to enter Kenya shall be required to obtain e-Visa before boarding an aircraft.”

Embassy visas and visas on arrival are being discontinued. Given the drawbacks of these traditional methods, replacing them with the eVisa will be beneficial for both travelers and Kenyan authorities.

Individuals who had previously been required to apply for a visa at the embassy will soon have access to the online service for faster visa applications and processing.

Queuing at the airport for a visa on arrival will no longer be possible, all non-exempt travelers must now arrange the visa before departure.

Applying in advance allows for any issues to be resolved before departure, passengers who waited until the airport to obtain a visa ran the risk of having their request rejected and being forced to return home.

It has not yet been confirmed whether long-stay visas and other types of permits will be affected. 

Kenya eVisa Application Process

Travelers applying for the eVisa must have a passport valid for at least 6 months from the date of arrival in Kenya. Applicants are required to provide basic details such as their name and date of birth, in addition to passport information.

All supporting documents can be uploaded digitally. Depending on the reason for visiting, different documents are requested. Tourists, for example, need to provide confirmation of a hotel reservation and onward travel ticket whilst business people need an invitation letter from the host. Travelers must check all the Kenya eVisa requirements depending on their specific circumstances.

Applicants should take care when filling out the formas any mistakes or missing information could lead to delays or rejection.

The visa fees are paid securely online using a debit or credit card before finalizing the application.

Provided there are no issues, applicants should receive the approved visa in a few business days. The visa is sent by email, to be printed at home and presented at the border.

Kenyan eVisa Extensions

Travelers who apply for a Kenya eVisa are originally granted a stay of up to 30 days in the country. It may be possible to extend the visa twice from within Kenya, first for 2 months and then again for 3 months for a total stay of up to 6 months.

Visitors can request a visa extension at the Immigration Headquarters in Nairobi or the Immigration Office in Mombasa, the offices are open from Monday to Friday. To obtain the extension, foreigners are asked to fill out a form and pay the visa extension fee.

Alternatively, visitors can depart Kenya and reapply for the eVisa using the same electronic process. They will be able to enter Kenya again once the new eVisa has been approved.