Kenya, a land known for wild African safaris, is a sought-after holiday destination for travel enthusiasts around the world. It is estimated that over 20 million tourists arrive in Kenya every year.
The entry and visa policy of the country is lenient for a majority of foreign travelers. Citizens of over 40 foreign nations are not required to get a Kenya visa to enter the country. They can arrive in the country with their passports.
Travelers from foreign nations like America and Canada need a visa. However, the application process is completely online. The country has also done away with granting visas on arrival.
Foreigners enter Kenya for various reasons. A majority of foreigners who enter Kenya are tourists. They visit the country to explore its forests, beaches, and other wonders. Tourists from over 40 nations can enter Kenya without a visa. Travelers from other countries need electronic travel authorization to visit Kenya.
Foreign nationals also visit the country to make investments and engage in other gainful activities like farming and work.
Foreign, stateless persons and refugees also come to the country seeking asylum. They have to, however, produce recommendation letters from the Ministry of refugee affairs and UNHCR.
Some foreigners arrive in Kenya to meet their family members who are also citizens of the country.
Foreigners also enter the African nation seeking temporary or permanent resident permits.
The Kenyan government has streamlined visa processing. It is completely online. Applicants have to log in to the official website to apply for the eVisa. Applicants need to fill in all the required information and upload the documents demanded by Kenyan immigration authorities on the website.
They are also required to pay the visa fee digitally. Their applications will be processed after verification. This will take a few weeks to complete. Applicants should apply for the visa well in advance before the intended trip.
Most foreigners arriving in Kenya are tourists. Travelers from over 40 countries like Belize, Ghana, Brunei, Cyprus, Saint Lucia, Rwanda, Uganda, South Sudan, Tanzania, and South Africa do not need a visa to visit the country as a tourist.
They are allowed to remain in the country for a maximum of three months. They can also get a visa extension.
Tourists from visa-required countries such as America and Canada will have to get a Kenyan tourist visa before entering the country. The government of Kenya introduced an online visa application system to issue electronic travel authorizations (eVisas) in 2021.
Foreign nationals can apply for an eVisa for tourism by logging into the official website of the Kenyan immigration department.
The government of Kenya grants single-entry and multiple-entry visas for visits related to tourism and business. As the names suggest, a single-entry visa allows the holders to enter the country for a single time, and a multiple-entry visa grants them permission to visit Kenya many times during its validity period.
The government also issues a five-year multiple-entry visa to the citizen of the US. This travel authorization is granted exclusively to Americans and for activities related to tourism and business only. The application process for this special visa is completely online.
Stateless persons and visitors from countries like Afghanistan and North Korea need to apply for travel authorization through the directorate of Kenyan immigration if they wish to travel to the African nation.
Note that the Kenyan government has done away with visas on arrival as of now. Foreign travelers must check with the Kenyan consular mission in the country to get the latest information about Kenyan travel authorizations as there can be changes.
The education system in Kenya leaves a lot to be desired. Still, many foreign students come to the country to do courses in various streams. Students from foreign countries who wish to pursue education in Kenya need legal permission from the country’s departments of education and immigration. They need a visa to enter the country.
The documentation for the visa application can vary based on the age of the applicant and the duration of the course that he/she is intending to pursue.
All applicants must submit Form 30 after filling up all the details to the head of the institution before entering the country.
Form 30 is a mandatory document that all foreign students coming to Kenya for education and training need to submit along with their visa application. They have to submit it only after they get admission from a Kenyan educational institution.
Foreign students are required to provide a cover letter from the Kenyan institution in which they are planning to study. The letter should have information such as the course and its duration.
If the applicant is a minor, he/she should provide a consent letter from their parents. Minor applicants also need to submit a copy of their parent’s passports and birth certificates along with their application form.
Applicants for higher education courses should provide their academic certificates, proof of funds to support their stay in the country, and a police clearance document. Foreign researchers and interns are required to provide their curriculum vitae along with the application form.
Based on the nationality of the applicants and the duration of their courses, the visa fee may vary.
Foreign passengers who use Kenyan airports for less than 24 hours to get to another flight going to a third country do not need a visa.
They can enter Kenyan international airports without a visa, provided they leave the country within a day.
Foreign passengers arriving in Kenya on a cruise ship too, do not need a visa if they are not leaving the ship to enter Kenya.
However, foreign passengers who have to remain in the country for more than 24 hours need a Kenyan transit visa. They must apply for a transit visa on the official website of the Kenyan immigration department. The transit visa for Kenya allows a foreigner going to another destination to remain in the country for 72 hours.
They are also allowed to step out of the international transiting area and explore the country.
Diplomats of foreign countries who need to transit through Kenyan international airports can get a Kenyan courtesy visa. This visa is free of cost. Note that a Kenyan courtesy visa is granted only for visits related to official purposes.
An East African visa is a joint visa given to foreign tourists to visit Kenya, Rwanda, and Uganda. An East African visa is a multiple-entry travel authorization granted only for the purpose of tourism.
This visa aims at simplifying border security checks between these three African nations. This visa type is granted for 90 days and cannot be renewed or extended in any of the above-mentions countries.
Applicants can apply for the East African tourist visa at the immigration offices of one of these countries. The application process is completely online. The visa can be issued by all three nations.
Note that the issuing country must be the first entry point of the foreigner. The visa fee is non-refundable.
The Kenyan government grants multiple entry visas to travelers from foreign countries. There are two types of multiple-entry visas: The Kenyan multiple-entry visa for tourism and business and the five-year multiple-entry visa that is granted exclusively to Americans.
The multiple-entry visa permits foreigners from all visa-required countries to enter and leave the country multiple times during the visa validity period. The visa is issued for three to 12 months.
The five-year multiple-entry visa is granted exclusively to American citizens for tourism and business. They can enter and leave the country multiple times for five years.
Citizens of foreign nations countries who wish to work in Kenya need a visa irrespective of their country of origin. The Kenyan government offers different types of work permits/ visas based on their expertise and work experience. The country also gives priority to foreign experts in certain industries.
Applicants must check with the Kenyan consular mission in their country to know more about the type of visa that they are required to get. The application process for all types of work visas is carried out online.
Kenya shares its borders with Ethiopia, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Somalia, and Rwanda. The country also has coastlines in its east and west borders.
Foreigners can arrive in the country by air, water, and road.
Kenya has many international airports. The major airports serving foreign travelers are Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, Moi International Airport, Kisumu International Airport, and Eldoret International Airport.
Located in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi, Jomo Kenyatta International Airport serves over seven million travelers every year. Airlines operate direct flights to Nairobi airports from many foreign countries, including the United States of America. The international airport has two terminals.
Terminal 1 caters to both international and domestic passengers, while terminal 2 is for affordable carriers.
Located in the second largest of Mombasa, Moi International Airport was awarded the best airport in Africa in 2020. The airport has two terminals. Terminal 1 is dedicated to international passengers, and terminal 2 caters to domestic travelers.
Kilindini Harbour, located in Mombasa Port, is the only international seaport in Kenya catering to foreign passengers. Travelers arriving in Kenya on a cruise do not need a visa if they are not leaving the ship.
However, if they want to explore the country, they will need a Kenyan eVisa. However, foreign nationals from visa-free countries are exempted from this rule.
Foreign nationals who wish to enter Kenya by road must know that they can do so only if they are arriving from Uganda and Tanzania.
Kenya does not share border crossing with any of its other neighboring countries. International travelers from visa-required countries should get a Kenyan eVisa before crossing its land borders. Travelers with an East African visa do not need a visa if they are entering the country from Uganda.
Yes. Travelers from most foreign countries except those from visa-exempt nations are required to get a visa to enter Kenya.
Foreign nationals can apply for a Kenyan visa online. The country started to issue all types of visas online in January 2021.
American and Canadian citizens are required to get a visa before traveling to Kenya. They can apply for the visa through the Kenyan government’s official website.
A foreign tourist from visa-exempt countries can stay in Kenya for a maximum of 90 days.
The Kenyan tourist visa is a legal authorization granted by the country’s government to travelers from visa-required foreign nations.
It is a joint tourist visa granted by the African nations of Uganda, Kenya, and Rwanda. Foreigners arriving with this visa can enter and leave any of the above countries without many immigration checks.
Citizens of the USA cannot study in Kenya without a visa. They are also required to get a visa to visit the country as a tourist.
The processing time for a Kenyan visa may vary based on the consular mission. It usually takes a few weeks.
Citizens of over 40 foreign countries are allowed visa-free entry to Kenya for activities related to tourism and business. Their visits should not exceed three months.
No foreign nationals need a work visa/permit to engage in gainful employment in the African nation. They need to apply for a work permit type based on their expertise and the industry in which they want to work in.