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Kenya Will Be Visa-Free for Travelers From 2024

If you have your eyes set on island-hopping throughout the Lamu Archipelago or venturing on some of the most thrilling wildlife safaris in the New Year, we have good news for you: travel to Kenya is about to get a little bit easier.

Beginning January 2024, Kenya is dropping visa requirements for all visitors, regardless of nationality, President William Ruto announced this week.

“It shall no longer be necessary for any person from any corner of the globe to carry the burden of applying for a visa to come to Kenya,” President Ruto said at a December 12 event in Nairobi to celebrate the 60-year anniversary of Kenya’s independence.

Instead, all visitors will be required to register for electronic travel authorization prior to visiting Kenya, Ruto said.

While details of the new electronic travel authorization have yet to be announced, the process is expected to be similar to ETA systems currently utilized by the US, UK, and Canada, Sunit Sanghrajka, CEO of Alluring Africa tells Condé Nast Traveler. The application will likely only take a few minutes with approval sent via email shortly after submission, he says.

Digitized immigration systems have become more widespread in recent years. Perhaps most notably is the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS), anticipated to launch in Spring 2025 after a series of delays. “In our lifetime we will see more natural, efficient, and non-invasive ways to cross borders, all while being more secure both for the destination and the traveler,” says Armand Arton, CEO of Arton Capital and creator of the Passport Index.

Kenya’s decision to scrap visa requirements is “another example of recent efforts by African Union countries to boost their economies through eliminating frictions on travel,” adds Arton. GambiaBenin, and Seychelles have all waived visa restrictions for African nationals (with Rwanda soon following suit), helping to facilitate free movement within the African continent—of the likes of Europe’s Schengen Area.

Elsewhere, countries like Mongolia and Indonesia have also announced relaxed visa restrictions following the COVID-19 pandemic with the hopes of reviving international tourism.

In Kenya, eliminating the hassle of visa applications will make it easier for tourists from around the world to take more impromptu trips (instead of needing to plan farther in advance), Sanghrajka tells Traveler. While the new electronic authorization system will help facilitate travel from key markets such as the US, it will be a “game-changer” for travelers from countries that have a more difficult time applying for electronic visas under the current system, he says.

According to President Ruto, Kenya’s commitment to become a visa-free nation sends “a simple message to humanity: welcome home.”

Source : Yahoo Life