Tourists and visitors to Kenya will now take about seven days to know if they can enter the country.
In a string of 11 guidelines that take effect today, July 2, East Africa’s biggest economy has taken digital transformation a step further, introducing the electronic visa.
In a release, government indicates that payments for the visas must be made by debit card, while one needs also to scan and dispatch (to Immigration) the details on the main page of their passport. According to the guidelines, visa acquisition is not automatic after submission of data. Also, it is forbidden for one to engage in employment, if he or she is a visitor.
Though it is not clear why the government chose to follow this path, the security situation in the country has not been good, raffled by terrorism. Also, it is not known how the tourists will react to the new measure, despite most of them being the target for terrorists.
That notwithstanding, in the past two years Kenya has been the target of the Somali-based Al Shabaab militants, who have killed several people in sporadic attacks carried out mostly at the coastal town of Mombasa and in the North East, near the border with Somalia.
The attacks have touched the raw nerve of President Uhuru Kenyatta, forcing him to shake up the security establishment, with the first victim, former interior minister Joseph Jama Ole Lenku, fired in 2014.
Other senior security figures that have lost their jobs include the former Director General of the National Security and Intelligence Services (NSIS) Maj Gen Michael Gichangi and the former Inspector General of Police David Mwole Kimaiyo.
Meanwhile, in light of the East African Community’s protocol on the free movement of people, goods and services, the Eagle Online could not readily establish if citizens of the EAC, who can also use their National IDs to travel across the region, would also be affected by the new visa rules.
It should be recalled that in February this year Presidents Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, Paul Kagame of Rwanda and Yoweri Museveni of Uganda launched the use of National IDs across their countries.
Indeed, at the time both Kenyatta and Kagame visited Uganda to hold talks on key cross border issues, and presented their National IDs in lieu of the travel documents.