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How to Apply for an ETA Visa Kenya

eta visa Kenya
Written by Teresa Mwangi

Weeks to January 2024 were abuzz with hopes by global travelers of entering Kenya visa-free but the biggest surprise came with eTa visa Kenya.

eTa stands for Electronic Travel Authorization, a streamlined system that the Kenyan government adopted in replacing visas for international travelers. On the surface of it is that citizens of all countries (except East African Community members) can now skip the visa process and apply for the eTA online.

But there is more to it and See Africa Today digs deep to answer all your questions on this new system.

How Long Does the ETA Visa Kenya?

An eTa visa Kenya takes two to three business days. Applications are online on They cost US$30 and only take a couple of minutes to complete. The introduction of this electronic visa is geared towards boosting Kenya’s tourism y attracting more visitors with this hassle-free entry process. All you require is a valid passport, passport photo, and travel details.

eta visa Kenya

The eTa Visa Keny application.

Is an eTA the Same as a Visa?

An eTa is not the same as a visa despite by legal documentation allowing you to get into Kenya and other countries. Here are a few differences.

Different Eligibility Criteria

With the eTa, only citizens of countries included in a specific visa waiver program (VWP) are eligible. In contrast, a visa allow anyone to apply. Additionally, the electronic travel pass is simpler to attain with an application online and payment of requisite fee. In Kenya for example, you only need $30 for the application fee, a valid passport, a photo and travel details. You get it in a maximum three days.

For a visa though, it is a different ball game. The process is complex with higher visa fee and it takes months to get it if you are successful. There are interviews involved and a dozen documents to provide to back your application for the visa. It could be academic records, bank statements among others.


Also, an eTa is limited to short-term stays for tourism or business for a period of up to 90 days as it is with eTa visa Kenya. On the other hand, a visa has a longer duration depending on the purpose you applied for. It could be work, study or visit usually taking between six months to years.


The eTa is cheaper to acquire than a visa whose cost depends on the type of visa you are applying for.

In a nutshell, is the gate pass that travelers from eligible countries use for short-term visits. Then, a visa is the boarding pass you need to enter a country for longer stays based on diverse purposes such as work or study.

Does eTA Mean Visa Free?

eTa visa Kenya has different meanings depending on the purpose of your visit. If you are visiting for no more than 90 days, it means you can stay without a visa. However, if you plan on staying longer than that, you require a visa to guarantee your stay.

Is Kenya Visa Free?

The Kenyan government abolished an earlier plan to go visa-free. In October 2023, Kenyan President William Ruto pledged to transform Kenya into a visa-free destination for other African travelers by January 2024. This commitment stemmed from the necessity to address ongoing visa restrictions hindering intra-African travel.

kenya visa free entry

Kenya will grant visa free entry to all Africans starting 2024. Photo/Nairobi News

Speaking at an international conference in Congo-Brazzaville, Ruto emphasized that Kenya’s initiative to eliminate visa restrictions aligns with the African Union’s (AU) vision. The AU has consistently advocated for member states to revise immigration policies and facilitate free visa entry among African nations over the past decade.

Despite existing regional agreements and bilateral arrangements, progress in abolishing visa restrictions has been sluggish. According to an AU-supported study in 2022, only Seychelles, The Gambia, and Benin allowed visa-free entry for all African citizens. However, the Africa Visa Openness Index provides a comprehensive progress report on this matter.

This index evaluates the accessibility of African countries to visitors from other African nations, revealing a positive trend of countries improving entry procedures and reducing restrictions. In 2022, Kenya was ranked 31st out of 54 African states on this index, signifying its level of openness to visitors from other African countries.

However, his administration chose eTa visa in place of the visa-free plan it had earlier mooted.

About the author

Teresa Mwangi

Teresa is a journalist with years of experience in creating web content. She is a wanderlust at heart, loves travelling and telling stories about tour and travel in Africa by every angle.

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