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Kenya visa requirements: How to get a visa for Kenya

by Juan José Herranz | November 3, 2020
Get your visa for travelling to Kenya

Kenya is an East African country with a coastline on the Indian Ocean, which borders Ethiopia, Somalia, Tanzania, Uganda and Southern Sudan. It covers an area of roughly 580,000 km2 and has a population of about 48 million.

There are four geographically distinct areas: the Western Plateau which is home to Lake Victoria, Mount Elgan and the prominent national parks; the Central Plateau; the Coastal Belt; and the semi-desert area in the north-east.

Kenya's climate is tropical on the coast and arid in the interior, with the average temperature in the country around 25 degrees.

In this article you will get all the important information about how to get a visa to Kenya: different types available, nationalities exempt from the Kenya visa requirements and so much more. 

Do I need a visa to travel to Kenya?

Yes, you need to apply for a Kenya evisa to travel. The type of visa that you will require depends on the reason for your trip to Kenya.

Types of Visas

Most tourists need to learn how to get a Kenya visa. However, there are different types of permits (visas) available.

East African visa

This visa allows for travel through Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda for tourism purposes for a maximum period of 90 days. This single visa will allow you to enter and leave all three of these countries. This visa must be applied for from the first country visited. It is also possible to apply online from any of the 3 participating country’s websites, or through a specialized company such as visagov.com, which will be able to assist with the processing.

Single entry visa

This visa allows entry to Kenya and a maximum stay of 90 days. It is only valid for one entry; therefore, if you leave the country, and plan to re-enter (even within the initial 90 days), then you will be required to obtain a new visa. This visa is applicable for tourism purposes, visiting relatives, business or medical visits.

As we were saying, your Kenya eTA is valid for a single entry into Kenya. However, there are some exceptions to this and your eTA will remain valid for more than one entry if:

  • You visit one of the following EAC Partner States: Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda, and;
  • You don't visit any other country, and
  • Your eTA Kenya has not expired (90 days from issuance)

Multiple entry visa

This visa will allow for the entry and exit from Kenya multiple times and is applicable for tourism, family visits, business or medical treatment. It is possible to apply for the validity of 3 to 12 months. During the time the visa is valid, it is possible to enter and depart the country as needed, without having to apply for any further permission.

5-year multiple entry visa

This visa is fundamentally the same as multiple entry visa; however, it has an extended validity of 5 years. It will for entering and exiting Kenya multiple times for tourism, family visits, business or medical treatment. Consider the validity of your passport before applying for this visa as it is specific to your current passport. Note that a further six months validity is required on your passport before your last entry. During the time that the passport and the visa are in force, it is possible to leave and enter Kenya as required, without having to apply for any further permission.

Transit visa

This visa is applicable if you will be arriving with a flight stopover where Kenya is not the final destination and you plan on leaving the airport. It is valid for a maximum stay in the country of 72 hours. If you intend to stay any longer in Kenya, then you must apply for an entry visa.

Business visa

This visa is required for all persons travelling to Kenya for business purposes. Employment in the country is prohibited with this type of visa, but it is allowable to have meetings, attend conventions, etc. A business visa is valid for 90 days from the day you first enter the country. If you want to work in Kenya, you must enter with a temporary visa and thereafter process the corresponding work visa.

Courtesy Visa

This visa is for citizens holding a diplomatic, official or service passport that are visiting Kenya on official business. If Kenya is not your final destination, but you have to transit through the country, this is also the correct visa. It is also the visa issued to government officials and dignitaries on official duties but who hold non-diplomatic (ordinary) passports. If you intend to live or work in Kenya, you will need to enter the country with a single-entry visa and once in the country process work or residence permits from the relevant government entities.

airballon with sunset in the background

How to apply for a visa in Kenya?

You can get an eVisa to Kenya for every reason except living or working in the country. Kenya is a country which is very receptive to tourism and in the last few years has simplified the entry process so that visas can be processed online and avoiding the need to go to a Kenyan embassy.

Who needs a visa for Kenya?

Currently, 148 countries need to know how to get a visa for Kenya. Only a select few countries are exempt from the Kenya visa requirements which are notably neighbouring countries such as Uganda and Zambia. Citizens of some countries, such as Yemen, are not allowed to enter Kenya at all. Children under age 16 are exempt from the need to apply for visas. European citizens must apply for a visa to travel to Kenya.

Feel free to check out our eligibility verifier to know the specific requirements of each nationality for the Kenya eVisa.

What are the Kenya visa requirements?

The documentation required to apply for an evisa Kenya varies depending on the type of visa. All visas to enter Kenya require the passport holder to have a valid Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate. All people travelling for tourism or family visits with a tourist visa, East Africa visa or transit visa are also required to have:

  • A passport valid for more than 6 months from initial entry to the country.
  • A recent passport-size photograph.
  • Hotel reservation and flight ticket where the dates of entry and exit from the country are visible.

All people travelling on a business visa are required to have:

  • A passport valid for more than 6 months from initial entry to the country.
  • Photo of the first page of your passport.
  • A recent passport-size photograph, not more than 6 months old.
  • Additional travel document, which may be a flight receipt or hotel reservation.
  • Company registration certificate.
  • Identification of the person you are working with including their Kenya identification (Kenyan ID).
  • Passport of the person who validates your business visa.
  • Photo of the passport page of the immigration state.

Can the visa for Kenya be changed once it has been processed?

No, it is not possible to change the visa once it has been processed. If any of the details or dates on the visa are incorrect, you will have to re-apply for a new visa and the relevant visa fees will have to be paid again.

flamingos in Lake Nakuru in Kenya

How much does a visa to Kenya cost?

The visas for Kenya have different government fees:

  • Tourist or business visas cost $51
  • East Africa visa costs $101
  • Transit visa costs $21

These prices only include the Kenyan government fees.

How far in advance do I need to apply for a Kenya visa?

Tourist, business and transit visas that are processed online have an average processing time of 5 working days. However, it is best to apply for your Kenya e-Visa at least 15 days before your trip to allow for any delays due to public holidays or the like. If you intend to apply for a visa in person from a Kenyan embassy, then the recommended it is recommended to allow one month for the process.

What are the borders of entry to Kenya?

Kenya is linked to the rest of the world with a wide-reaching network of air travel with four international airports. It is possible to transit through all Kenyan airports with the electronic visa. The Kenyan international airports are:

  • Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO) – is the busiest airport in the country, located in Nairobi, about 15 km from the city centre.
  • Moi International Airport (MBA) - also called Mombasa Airport, is the second most important airport in the country.
  • Kisumu International Airport (KIS) - is the third-largest airport in the country in terms of passenger movement and located in Kisumu.
  • Eldoret International Airport (EDL) - is located in the west of Kenya, in the city of Eldoret.

Kenya has land borders with 5 countries: Ethiopia, Somalia, Tanzania, Uganda and Southern Sudan. Visas are required at all border crossings. Entering Kenya through the border posts of Somalia or Southern Sudan is not advisable, due to safety issues and conflict. The most advisable land routes into Kenya are through Uganda, Tanzania and Ethiopia:

  • From Uganda: Busia, Iwakhakha Road, Lwakhakha Road, Malaba, Suam Road
  • From Tanzania: Isebania, Loitoktok, Lunga-Lunga, Muhuru Bay Road, Namanga, Taveta
  • From Ethiopia: Moyale

Kenya can also be reached by boat from the islands of Zanzibar to the port of Mombasa. This port can also be reached from a cruise ship on the African route. If you intend to enter Kenya by sea, it is recommended to obtain the electronic visa before starting your journey. These are the seaports that will accept your ETA: Kilindini Port, Kisumu Port, Mbita Pier Port, Old Port Mombasa, Shimoni Port, and Vanga Port.