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Kenya Receives Over 9,787 ETA Applications Under Its New Visa-Free Policy

Kenya Receives Over 9,787 ETA Applications Under Its New Visa-Free Policy

Published on: January 07, 2024 01:40 (EAT)

In a groundbreaking development,
the Kenyan government has reported a substantial influx of visa applications following President William Ruto's announcement declaring Kenya a visa-free destination for travelers worldwide. 

This move has resulted in an impressive 9,787 Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) applications pouring into the system, signaling a remarkable surge in interest and uptake of this new policy.

Official Statement by Principal Secretary

Ambassador Julius Bitok, the Principal Secretary of the State Department of Immigration and Citizen Services, issued an official statement regarding this surge in ETA applications. According to him, out of the 9,787 ETA applications received, 4,046 have already undergone processing, while the remaining applications are currently being reviewed on a priority basis, taking into consideration the individual travel schedules of applicants.

Purpose Behind ETA Implementation

The introduction of the Kenya Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) system aligns with the government's objectives to establish a fair, efficient, and secure system while also addressing Kenya's security concerns and strategic interests. Prior to the ETA system's inception, citizens from 51 countries enjoyed visa-free entry into Kenya, whereas travelers from 155 other nations had to undergo a visa application process, incurring a $50 fee.

Key Benefits of ETA System

Amb. Bitok highlighted several key advantages of the ETA system:

  • Equal Treatment: The new policy ensures that all travelers, regardless of their country of origin, receive equal treatment, eliminating disparities in visa requirements.
  • Reduced Application Fees: With the implementation of ETA, the application fees for travelers have been significantly reduced, making Kenya a more appealing and accessible destination.
  • Comprehensive Data: The ETA system now empowers the government to collect comprehensive data on all visitors, significantly enhancing their ability to ensure the safety and well-being of both visitors and Kenyan citizens.

Enhanced Application Process

One of the notable improvements brought about by the ETA system is the significant reduction in application processing time. Travelers can now expect their applications to be processed within just 3 days (72 hours), compared to the previous waiting period of 14 days. To ensure a seamless experience for applicants across different time zones worldwide, a 24-hour service desk dedicated to ETA inquiries and assistance has been established.

Welcoming the First Batch of Visitors

In a symbolic gesture, the Principal Secretary received the first group of visitors under the new visa-free policy on Friday, marking a significant milestone in Kenya's tourism and travel industry.

ETA Requirements and Application Process

The Kenyan ETA system is a semi-automated platform that assesses the eligibility of travelers to enter Kenya. To apply for an ETA, travelers must meet specific requirements:

  • A valid passport with at least six (6) months of validity beyond the planned arrival date, containing at least one blank page.
  • A selfie or passport-type photo.
  • Contact information, including an email address and phone number.
  • Details of the arrival and departure itinerary.
  • Confirmation of accommodation booking(s).
  • A means of payment, such as a credit card, debit card, Apple Pay, or other accepted payment methods.

Steps to Apply for ETA:

  • Click on "Apply Now"
  • Ensure that all required data is accurately entered.
  • Submit the application.
  • Upon processing by the Immigration officer, you will receive an email confirming either approval or refusal of your application.
  • If approved, it is essential to print the attached PDF document or save it in the Kenya Travel Authorisation mobile app. This ETA document must be presented at all departure and arrival points.
  • In the event of application denial, travelers should contact the designated team for further instructions.
  • To monitor the status of your application, you can visit the ETA website at any time.

Kenya's new visa-free policy, complemented by the ETA system, aims to streamline and enhance the travel experience for visitors worldwide while fostering tourism and economic growth in the country.

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