Kenya visa

Kenya visa

Traveling to Kenya

A hub for businesspersons, students, employees, and tourists, Kenya is a popular destination that attracts thousands of visitors annually. Known for its unmatched wildlife safaris and hospitality, Kenya is also home to vibrant metropolises like Nairobi and Mombasa.   

Passport holders will fall into one of three categories of Kenyan visa processing. The first category (Category 1) comprises passport holders exempt from obtaining an eVisa and can enter Kenya visa-free. This category includes many African and Caribbean countries. The second category (Category 2) includes all nationalities eligible to obtain a Kenyan eVisa through their eCitizen online gateway. Finally, the third category (Category 3) is for the select nationalities that cannot apply for an eVisa. They must go through the Directorate of Immigration Services and submit a “referred visa”. 

There are multiple types of visas that travelers can apply for. Single and multiple-entry visas are available. The validity of the Kenyan visa can range from just 72 hours for a transit visa to several months for a multiple-entry visa. There is even a five-year visa available to United States citizens.

Kenya visa types

Kenya offers several types of single and multiple-entry visas for varied travel purposes. The following visa types can be obtained for all eligible nationalities by submitting the application.

  1. Single Entry Visa
    • This single-entry visa is issued to any (category 2 or 3) travelers who need a visa to enter Kenya for short-term trips. This visa may be granted for business, tourism, medical, or other purposes. 
  2. Transit Visa
    • This visa is intended for travelers who need a visa (category 2 or 3) to enter Kenya but are passing through within a 72-hour window. To leave the airport, they must obtain this transit visa. Travelers who plan to stay in the airport during their layover do not need this visa.
  3. Multiple Entry Visa
    • This multiple-entry visa is issued to any (category 2 or 3) travelers who need a visa to visit Kenya for a short-term visit. More specifically, it is for individuals who want the flexibility of leaving and returning to the country several times during their trip. This visa may be granted for business, tourism, medical, or other purposes. It allows the holder to leave and reenter the country multiple times while the visa remains valid.
  4. 5-Year Multiple Entry Visa
    • This multiple-entry visa is for citizens of the United States who need a visa to enter Kenya for business, tourism, or other reasons. It is valid for up to five years.
  5. East African Tourist Visa (coming soon)
    • Once enacted, this visa will be a Joint Tourist Visa that can be obtained by tourists who are traveling between Kenya, Rwanda, and Uganda.
  6. Courtesy Visa (coming soon)
    • This visa will be a special visa for diplomatic, official, and service passport holders traveling to Kenya on official business, and to ordinary passport holders if the Director General determines they are eligible on the grounds of international courtesy. This visa can be issued for single or multiple entries, or as a transit visa.

Kenya visa requirements

For all Kenyan visas, there are some basic requirements:  

Passport or official identity document

This document must be valid for at least 6 months before the travel date and contain at least one blank page for official use.

Recent photograph 

Applicants must have a color photograph that is clear and recent, in a 5.5cm x 5.5cm (207px x 207px) format on a white background. Scans and colored copies are NOT accepted.

A complete application form

This can be done online through the Kenyan eCitizen portal.

Additional documents are required depending on the visa type and the applicant’s purpose of travel. Different visa types may require different documents such as a travel itinerary, an invitation letter from a business or family member, or a hotel booking.

Kenya visa application steps

For all eligible applicants, the application process for a Kenyan visa is very straightforward and can be completed online. Category 3 nationalities requiring a referred visa will follow some additional steps such as submitting their applications to the embassy. Nationals from Category 3 countries should review the guidelines before applying. 

The following steps are for all Category 2 applicants who are eligible for any of the six Kenyan visa types:

  1. Visit the official visa website

    Visit the official website of Kenya Electronic Visa Application System and register as a Visitor.

  2.  Log in

    Enter the visa portal and select the Directorate of Immigration Services.

  3. Select Submit Application

    Choose the Submit Application option to get started.

  4. Select Kenyan Visa

    Choose the Kenyan Visa option to proceed with the application.

  5. Select the visa type

    Choose the type of visa and read the written instructions.

  6. Complete the visa application form and submit any documents

    Complete the online visa application and submit it through the Kenyan visa gateway. Applicants should submit any additional required documentation.

  7. Pay the fee

    Pay the visa fee using a valid credit or debit card.

  8. Receive a decision

    The eVisa will typically arrive within 2 working days (48 hours) and will be sent to the eCitizen account, NOT to the provided email. 
    Applicants should download and print the visa to be presented to the airline official and the immigration officer at the point of entry.

Where to apply for Kenya visa

All Kenyan visas can be applied for online at the Kenyan eCitizen portal. The exception is Category 3 applicants, who must apply for their visas through the Directorate of Immigration Services. 

Kenya visa processing time

Due to the streamlined process for Kenyan eVisas, processing times are usually within 48 hours or 2 working days. For Category 3 applicants who require a referred visa, the processing time is up to 10 working days.

Kenya visa FAQ

How do I apply for a visa to enter Kenya?

For eligible nationalities, visas for Kenya can be applied for and obtained electronically through their online portal. Applicants can visit the Kenyan eCitizen portal, create an account, complete the visa application form, pay the processing fee, and receive a decision within 48 hours.

Where can I check the status of my Kenya visa?

Applicants can review the status of their visa on their eCitizen account.

What documents are required for a Kenya visa?

All Kenyan visa types require a passport or identity document that is valid for at least six months and contains at least one blank page. Applicants must also have a recent, clear personal photograph. 
Additional documents may be required depending on the applicant’s nationality and the visa type they are applying for. For example, a family single or multiple entry visa requires an invitation letter from a family member and an East African Tourist Visa requires a travel itinerary. 

How do I pay for my Kenya visa?

Applicants can pay for their Kenya visa online through the eCitizen portal using a valid credit or debit card.

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