Are you traveling to Kenya? You’ll need to apply for a visa in order to be allowed entry into the country. You can apply for a Kenyan visa online, at the Kenya High Commission, or at the point of entry. Here’s a simplified guide on what you’ll need and how to go about it.

When applying for a visa to visit Kenya, you have three options namely through the online eCitizen platform, at a Kenya High Commission office, and at the ports of entry on arrival in Kenya. The online option is the one detailed in the sections below.

Applying for the Kenyan Visa Online

When applying for the visa, it’s advisable to do so at least 7 days before the day of your traveling. The visa approval, however, takes place about 2 to 3 days before the stated date of travel.

The various requirements and stages are as follows:

e-Visa Application Requirements

The e-Visa application for requires the following items to complete:

  1. A scanned copy of the biodata page of your passport. This is the page with your name, photo and other biographical details.
  2. A digital passport photo (according to the requirements below).
  3. A debit card for the online payments.

You also need to know the type of visa you’re applying for to avoid confusion.

Online e-Visa Application Process – Step By Step

The application stages are as follows:

  1. Go to www.ecitizen.go.ke. Previously, http://evisa.go.ke/evisa.html was used. This option still works as well.
  2. Select ‘Register as a Visitor.’
  3. After registration, select the ‘Department of Immigration services’.
  4. Choose the ‘Submit Application’ tab.
  5. Choose the ‘Kenyan Visa’ option.
  6. Choose the type of visa you need then carefully read the instructions for that type of visa (the types are listed below).
  7. Fill the application form given completely.
  8. As a foreigner, you’ll need to pay with a debit or credit card such as a Visa or MasterCard. The fees are as follows:
Type of Visa Fee
Single entry visa (Business or Tourism VISA) $51
East Africa Tourist Visa (coming soon) $101
Transit Visa $21
Courtesy Visa (coming soon) $00

You need to have enough money to cover these fees as per your local currency and its value in US dollars.

  1. After submitting the form, you will receive approval through the email address you registered with.
  2. When you get the approval, log into your eCitizen account then download and print the e-Visa preferably in its original color.

You will need to present this e-Visa with other documents stated below to the immigration officer.

Types of Visas when Visiting Kenya

Depending on the reason you’re traveling to Kenya, the following are the types of visas for your visit:

1. Transit Visa

These are short term visas issued for not more than 3 days. They allow the holder to transit through Kenya within the given period no matter their method of travel.

2. Courtesy Visa (Official Visa)

These kinds of visas are issued to those with Service or Official passports and are on official duty.

They’re also issued to holders of ordinary passports but who can’t get a diplomatic visa. In this case, the visa is issued based on international courtesy protocols.

3. Single Journey Visa

This visa is used both by tourists and business people who intend to make single or multiple entries into Kenya.

4. Diplomatic Visa

This type of visa is exclusively issued to those holding a diplomatic passport and are on official duty. It’s used for granting single or multiple entries into Kenya.

5. East Africa Tourist Visa

This is a multiple-entry joint visa between the East African countries of Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda. This visa has a validity of 90 days and is issued to tourists visiting the three countries.

When making the application for the visa, you need to know exactly what kind of visa you’re applying for.

Photo Requirements

The photograph you’ll need for the visa application process should adhere to the following guidelines:

  1. It should have a purely white background.
  2. It must be in color.
  3. It should be clean and in sharp focus.
  4. It should be a closeup picture of your head and the top part of your shoulders. The aim is to have the face take up between 70% and 80% of the photo.
  5. You should be looking directly at the camera.
  6. It should ave no creases or ink marks of any kind.
  7. Your natural skin tone should be shown in the picture.
  8. It ought to be a square of 5.5cm by 5.5cm or 207px by 207px.
  9. It should be a recent photo having been taken not more than 6 months ago.
  10. The contrast and brightness should be enough to make it clear.
  11. You’re not allowed to take the picture with headgear. However, for religious reasons (such as turbans for instance), you should ensure that the main features of the face such as the chin, eyes, eyebrows, and nose are not covered by the headgear. The headgear shouldn’t also change the shape of your face. Promoted headgear includes hats or caps.
  12. The picture is to be without staple marks.
  13. Your hair shouldn’t be tucked behind your ears in the picture.
  14. It should be an actual picture not a scan or photocopy of the picture.

These instructions should be conveyed to the photographer to ensure they do the right thing when taking the picture.

Travel Requirements

When applying for the Kenyan visa through the online platform, you will need the following requirements:

  1. Your passport which should be valid for at least 6 months.
  2. Your travel itinerary.
  3. The e-Visa printout from the online eCitizen platform.
  4. Supporting documents such as a letter of invitation from your company or relatives.
  5. If you’re a tourist, your hotel bookings and the places to visit can serve instead of the letter of invitation.

Lack of any of the items listed here will deny you a visit to Kenya.

Who Needs for a Kenyan e-Visa, and Who Doesn’t?

There are some countries and person categories that may or may not require an e-Visa. The categories are as follows:

1. Category 1 Countries: Exempted

Category 1 countries are exempt from the need to have a visa to Kenya. These countries include the following:

Barbados Malawi St. Vincent and the Grenadines
Belize Malaysia (for less than 30 days stay) St.Kitts and Nevis
Botswana Mauritius St. Lucia
Brunei Namibia Swaziland
Burundi Nauru Tanzania
Cyprus New Guinea The Bahamas
Darussalam Papua Tobago
Dominica Rwanda Tonga
Fiji Island Samoa Trinidad
Ghana Seychelles Tuvalu
Grenada Sierra Leone Uganda
Jamaica Singapore Vanuatu
Kiribati Solomon Islands Zambia
Lesotho South Africa (for less than 30 days stay) Zimbabwe

It means that the travelers from these countries don’t need a visa to visit Kenya.

2. Category 2 Countries

Category 2 countries, which is a classification with most countries in the world, can apply for an e-visa through the online platform stated above (www.ecitizen.go.ke).

3. Countries and Persons Not Allowed to Obtain an e-Visa to Kenya

For the following countries and persons, a Referred Visa is required to visit Kenya. It means that the visa applicant will need to be referred to the Director of Immigration services for the visa to be approved and processed.

They include the following countries:

Afghanistan Armenia Azerbaijan
Cameroon Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (Formerly North Korea)
Eritrea
Iraq Kosovo Lebanon
Libya Mali Palestine
Senegal Somalia Syria
Tajikistan

And the following persons:

  • People without a state or those not in possession of valid travel documents such as passports that have been issued by specific countries. For refugees, they need legal United Nations Refugee Travel Documents to qualify for a visa.
  • Applications whose country of application is in doubt and who have some local objections.
  • Immigrants who are prohibited and listed under chapter 1, paragraph (e) of the Visa regulations.

It doesn’t mean that the people from these counties and those on this list are barred from visiting Kenya. It only means that they can’t make an online application for an e-Visa but can still obtain a visa to Kenya through a referral program.