Kenya visitors to acquire visas online as new rule takes effect

Kenya visa online
Visitors will have to apply for an online visa before they leave their countries. PHOTO/FILE
Visitors to Kenya will from Tuesday be required to acquire visas online days before travel in line with a new policy that moves away from the old practice where travellers’ passes are stamped on arrival.

The new rules, which were introduced in July but temporarily postponed owing to complaints from tourism stakeholders, will take effect on September 1, 2015 following the expiry of a two-month suspension.

“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,” Kenya Airways said in a statement on Wednesday.

The e-visa takes a minimum of two days to be processed and can be obtained at www.ecitizen.go.ke.

The new rules means that visitors will have to apply for an online visa before they leave their countries.

Kenya has previously allowed visitors from many countries to fly in and have their visas stamped on arrival at a local airport.

Local tourism players have in the past criticised the new online visa rules saying that the lengthy processing period will prevent tourists from making last minute decisions to travel visit Kenya.

“The rules basically tell last minute travellers that they are not welcome in Kenya,” says a Nairobi-based tour operator who added that this segment of tourists earns the sector a significant amount of revenue.

Kenyan officials have, however, defended the move saying that it will help keep undesirables visitors out of the country – thereby aiding the government’s fight against terrorism.