Kenya set to shift to e-visa services in 2021

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A general view of Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, Kenya. East Africa’s busiest airport will soon boast new e-visa services at immigration, along with biometric equipment under a new scheme. (Photo: Kenya Airports Authority)

The Kenyan government on Tuesday announced a shift to e-visa services effective January 1, 2021.

The Immigration department said passengers from countries requiring a visa to enter Kenya are expected to have the document before boarding a plane.

“We wish to inform you that 100 percent e-visa will be effected from January 1, 2021. Therefore all passengers from countries that require e-visa to enter Kenya shall be required to apply and obtain e-visa before boarding an aircraft,” deputy director of immigration services Alicent Odipo said in a statement.

The Department of Immigration Services said it has put in place a system for online application, payment and issuance of e-visa for visitors coming to Kenya.

The government said the online application system will significantly streamline the processing and issuance of visas for foreign nationals visiting Kenya.

Upon successful completion, the applicant will receive an e-visa via e-mail. Upon arrival in Kenya, the traveler should show the e-visa to officials at the port of entry where a hard-copy visa will then be endorsed in the passport.

The latest move comes as airports across the world are upgrading their technological solutions to ensure biometric check-ins of travelers in the near future.

E-visa services allow customers to submit their visa applications using just a mobile phone as it does not require a visit in person to the application center as part of the submission process.

Government officials say besides service delivery, the new measures are aimed at countering security challenges in Kenya.

Kenya has been the target of the Somali-based Al-Shabab militants, who have killed dozens of people in sporadic attacks carried out mostly at the coastal town of Mombasa and in the northeastern region near the border with Somalia.

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