How Foreigners Will Apply For Kenya ETA Before Visiting (Visa-Free Kenya)

President William Ruto of Kenya has announced a major change in the country's entry requirements for international visitors. Kenya is moving away from traditional visa requirements and introducing an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) system. This new system, a mix of advanced technology and security measures, is designed to check the eligibility of visitors before they arrive in Kenya.

The ETA system marks Kenya's shift towards using technology in border security and visitor management. It's more than a procedural update; it's a reflection of Kenya's commitment to modernization and security.

Details about the ETA's implementation are still being worked out, but the basics are clear. Visitors will need to provide detailed biographical information and answer a series of questions to determine their eligibility. This approach, common in many countries, is new for Kenya and aims to make the entry process more efficient while upholding immigration policies.

Why Kenya Transitioned to an ETA from an E-Visa?

Electronic Travel Authorisations (ETAs) are becoming common worldwide, particularly in countries with visa waivers. Governments use ETAs to better monitor and track visa-exempt travellers. ETAs are digital checks done before arrival to ensure travellers meet the destination country's entry requirements.

The United Kingdom recently introduced an ETA requirement for Qatari nationals, reflecting a global trend to improve border security and immigration procedures using technology. The UK's ETA system aims to make border management more efficient and secure, easing legitimate travel and reducing security threats.

The UK plans to gradually expand its ETA system. This phased approach allows for careful system development and alignment with international travel and security standards. This gradual implementation could serve as a model for other countries, enhancing global travel security.

Kenya is also moving towards ETAs, aiming to improve border control and the travel process for visa-exempt travellers. This balances strong security with easier global movement.

What is Required to Apply for a Kenya ETA?

To smoothly enter Kenya, visitors must follow the Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) requirements listed on their website. These apply to everyone, including infants:

  • Passport Validity: Travellers need a valid passport with at least six months remaining after their planned arrival date in Kenya. The passport should also have one blank page for stamping by Kenyan immigration.
  • Photographic Identification: A recent, passport-style photo is required. It should be clear, front-facing, with a neutral background, and without accessories like hats or sunglasses.
  • Contact Information: Provide a current email address and phone number for communication about the travel authorization.
  • Travel Itinerary Details: Share your travel schedule, including arrival and departure dates and times, flight numbers, and airlines.
  • Accommodation Confirmation: Show proof of your stay in Kenya, like hotel reservations or other lodging arrangements.
  • Payment Method: Have a way to pay the ETA fee electronically, using credit/debit cards, Apple Pay, or other digital payment methods.

Kenya ETA Eligibility Criteria for Group Applications

Travelling as a family, a couple, or with friends in a group of up to nine? Make your journey smoother by applying together for your Electronic Travel Authorisation (eTA). Simply select the "Group Application" option on the eTA website or mobile app. By following the straightforward instructions, each group member will receive their eTA upon approval. If your group exceeds nine members, kindly submit your applications in two or more separate groups.

For a successful group application, every member must:

  • Be a resident of the same country.
  • Have a unified purpose for visiting the Republic of Kenya.
  • Follow the same itinerary for both travel (whether by flight, cruise, etc.) and accommodation during your entire stay in Kenya.

How to Apply for a Kenya Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA)?

To apply for travel authorization via the eTA Kenya portal, follow these simple steps:

  1. Start Your Application: Go to the eTA Kenya application form to begin your application. Have all your necessary information and documents ready.
  2. Enter Your Information Carefully: Fill in your details, travel plans, and other required information accurately, ensuring it matches your official documents.
  3. Submit Your Application: After double-checking that all your information is correct, submit your application. It's important to review everything before this final step.
  4. Confirmation Email: You will receive an email confirming the receipt of your application and payment, indicating that your application is being processed.
  5. Wait for the Decision: Your application will be reviewed by an immigration officer, and the decision (approval or refusal) will be sent to you via email.
  6. If Approved: If your application is approved, you'll receive a PDF document in your email. This is your travel authorization. Print this document or save it in the Kenya Travel Authorization mobile app, and present it when you travel.
  7. If Denied: If your application is denied, the email will notify you that you are not authorised to travel to Kenya. For more information or assistance, contact the support team at.
  8. Check Application Status: You can check the status of your application at any time by visiting the eTA Kenya status page.

Who Are Exempted from Obtaining Kenya ETA?

The following list provides a detailed overview of the categories of individuals who are permitted to enter or transit through Kenya under specific circumstances:

  • Kenya Passport Holders and Emergency Certificate Bearers: Individuals possessing valid Kenyan passports or an Emergency Certificate issued by Kenyan Missions abroad are eligible for entry.
  • Residents and Permit Holders: This category includes individuals who hold Kenyan Permanent Residence status, as well as those with valid work permits and other types of passes.
  • United Nations Conventional Travel Document Holders: Those in possession of a valid United Nations Conventional Travel Document, issued by the Government of Kenya, fall under this category.
  • Diplomatic and International Organisation Members: Accredited members of Diplomatic Missions and International organisations in Kenya are permitted entry and transit.
  • Citizens of East African Partner States: This includes citizens from Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda. They are exempted from certain restrictions for six months.
  • Transit Passengers by Air: Passengers in transit through Kenya who arrive and depart on the same aircraft or transfer to another aircraft without leaving the airport precincts are included in this category.
  • Maritime Transit Passengers: Passengers arriving and departing on the same ship, provided they do not disembark from the ship during their stay in Kenya.
  • Crew Members on International Carriers: This includes members of the crew on ships, aircraft, trains, vehicles, or other carriers who are listed on the crew manifest and are travelling to a destination outside Kenya.
  • Private Aircraft Owners on Stopover: Owners of private aircraft who are stopping over in Kenya for refuelling and do not leave the airport precincts are also included.

Kenya ETA Fee

In a comprehensive update to Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) fees, the Ministry of Interior of the government issued a detailed gazette notice in November 2023, outlining significant revisions effective January 2024. This notice represents a pivotal change in the travel and immigration fee structure.

Fee Type

Cost (USD)

Cost (Ksh.)

Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA)


Ksh. 4,500

These changes, as stated in the gazette notice, were scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2024. This structured revision in ETA fees demonstrates the government's effort to regulate and simplify the travel process, balancing the need for security with facilitating tourism and business travel.

What is the Processing Time of Kenya ETA?

The time it takes to process an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) varies depending on the type of eTA and the applicant's country. Usually, it takes about 3-5 working days to process a standard eTA. This is how long it typically takes to review and approve a normal application.

If you need faster processing, there's a premium service. This service speeds up the process, useful for urgent travels or complex applications needing more attention from immigration officers.

Keep in mind, that these processing times are estimates and can change due to the number of applications or other factors. To avoid delays, apply for your eTA well before your travel date.

What are the Benefits of Kenya ETA System?

The Kenya Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) system simplifies travel by eliminating the need for paper forms during flights or upon arrival. Travellers no longer have to deal with the inconvenience of filling out forms, making their journey smoother and more focused on their actual travel purpose. For airlines, the eTA system streamlines check-in, allowing them to quickly confirm passengers' travel authorization from the Kenyan government. This speeds up the boarding process and enhances security.

Furthermore, the eTA system speeds up arrival procedures in Kenya by reducing long lines for health, customs, and immigration checks. This efficiency benefits both travellers and the management of international entry points. The system demonstrates Kenya's dedication to digital innovation in government processes, making travel more efficient and secure, and showcasing Kenya as a leader in digital travel and governance.

Some Important Pointers to Note

The government has introduced new rules to make entering the country more secure and efficient. Visitors must now meet certain requirements that vary based on their nationality and the reason for their visit.

  • People from different countries will need to show they have enough money for their stay and a ticket for their return journey. This helps confirm they can afford their visit and plan to leave afterwards.
  • Health safety is also crucial. Depending on where they're from and where they've been, visitors might need to show they've been vaccinated against yellow fever and other diseases. This is to keep public health standards high and stop diseases from spreading.
  • Business travellers have to follow certain rules too. They need to bring an invitation from the company they're visiting and proof that this company is registered. This is to check why they're visiting.
  • If you're visiting family, you'll need an invitation from them and their ID or passport. This helps confirm where you'll be staying and your relationship with the person you're visiting.
  • Diplomatic visitors are different. They should bring a diplomatic passport and an official letter from their home country that explains why they're visiting.
  • There's an exception for people from East African Community (EAC) countries. They don't need an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) because of the close ties between these countries.
  • Visitors should apply for their travel documents at least three days before they travel. This gives enough time to process everything and makes entering the country smoother.
  • You can apply up to three months before your trip, which is good for planning, especially if you've already sorted out where you'll stay and how you'll get there. It's best to apply as soon as you've made these bookings.
  • To make things easier, there's a new 'Kenya Travel Authorization' app coming out in January. This app lets you keep your profile and travel documents on your phone, which is convenient for future trips and better for the environment since it's paperless.


If you've been informed that your eTA application has been denied, it's essential to understand that, as of now, you are not permitted to travel under this status. However, you have options to address this situation:
  1. Contacting Support: The first step is to reach out to the dedicated support team. You can do this by sending an email to [email protected]. This is the official channel for assistance and inquiries related to eTA applications.
  2. Providing Details of Your Case: When you contact support, it's important to provide comprehensive details about your situation. Include your application number, personal details, and any relevant information that could help the support team understand your case better.
  3. Requesting Further Information: Ask for specific reasons why your application was denied. Understanding the exact cause can be crucial for any subsequent steps you might need to take.
  4. Guidance on Next Steps: The support team can guide you on what to do next. This may include reapplying with additional information, providing clarification on certain aspects of your application, or other procedures specific to your case.
  5. Patience and Follow-up: After reaching out, be patient, as it may take some time to receive a response. However, if you don't hear back within a reasonable timeframe, it's advisable to send a follow-up email.

All international travellers must get an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) before travelling, including infants and children. A parent, guardian, or accompanying adult must complete the eTA application for travellers under 18. It's recommended that families apply together for a smoother process and better coordination of travel plans.

An Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) is not a guarantee of permission to travel to the Republic of Kenya. It's a required authorization to board your flight or other transportation but it's not the only document needed. You must also have your valid passport and boarding pass during check-in and boarding. Without these, the airline may not allow you to board. Even with a valid eTA, you might be questioned by authorities at departure or arrival. They'll check your travel reasons and ensure you follow Kenyan laws. If they find issues or inconsistencies, you might be denied access to your transport to Kenya. So, it's important to have all your documents and be prepared to answer questions about your trip.

Yes, it is essential to have your travel details confirmed before applying for an eTA. The application process for an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) requires specific travel information, which includes details about your transportation and accommodation arrangements.  This information is not just a formality but a crucial part of the application. Consequently, you must book your transport (such as flights) and secure your accommodation before starting the eTA application process. Without this information, your application cannot be completed or processed.

The Kenya eTA system is highly secure for credit card transactions. It follows the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), which is a worldwide standard for protecting cardholder data. This means every transaction is thoroughly protected.

No, applications submitted through third-party websites will not be accepted. They will be automatically denied. It's crucial to use only the government's official website for your application submission.





To obtain a eTA for Kenya

  • Step1: Complete the online application by providing your passport details
  • Step2: Submit payment online using a credit card.
  • Step3: Monitor your email for confirmation of payment and receipt of your eTA, which will be sent electronically.
Get eTA to Kenya

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