Kenya’s New Visa-Free Policy Attracts over 9,700 ETA Applications

January 8, 2024

Days after President William Ruto’s administration declared Kenya a visa-free destination for the world, the government has announced that over 9,000 travelers have applied to visit the country.

On Sunday, Ambassador Julius Bitok, the Principal Secretary of the State Department of Immigration and Citizen Services, announced that the Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) system had received 9,787 ETA applications.

“Of these, 4046 have already been processed while the others are undergoing review on priority basis guided by the travel schedule submitted by each applicant,” Bitok said.

Furthermore, the Principal Secretary emphasized that the introduction of ETA is based on the necessity for a fair, faster, and reliable system that also caters to Kenya’s security and other strategic interests.

“Before ETA, citizens from 51 countries enjoyed visa-free entry to Kenya, while travellers from 155 other countries were subject to a visa application process at a cost of $50,” he added.

Positive Changes

PS Bitok highlighted some of the positive changes implemented by the new system, including equal treatment and a reduced application fee for travelers. He added that ETA now efficiently gathers travelers’ information, enabling the government to make well-informed decisions.

“With the introduction of the ETA, we now have comprehensive data on all visitors, significantly improving our ability to ensure the safety and well-being of both our visitors and citizens,” the PS said.

Bitok at the same time mentioned that the new system has significantly decreased the application time for travelers, reducing it from the previous 14 days to just 3 days (72 hours).

“To guarantee a seamless experience, we have introduced a 24-hour service desk dedicated to ETA. This will ensure clients are promptly attended to irrespective of the hour while also taking into consideration the different time zones across the world,” the PS assured.

Last Friday, the Principal Secretary welcomed the first batch of visitors under the visa-free policy.

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