Home Tourism Kenya Announces Visa-Free Entry for All Global Visitors Starting January 2024

Kenya Announces Visa-Free Entry for All Global Visitors Starting January 2024

In a groundbreaking move, President William Ruto of Kenya declared on December 12, 2023, that Kenya will abolish visa requirements for all visitors, irrespective of their nationality, starting January 2024. The announcement was made during an event in Nairobi commemorating the 60th anniversary of Kenya’s independence. This significant decision aligns with a global trend towards digitized immigration systems, aiming to enhance travel efficiency and security.

Electronic Travel Authorization

Instead of traditional visa applications, President Ruto revealed that all incoming visitors will be required to register for electronic travel authorization (ETA) before entering Kenya. Although specific details about the new ETA system are yet to be disclosed, Sunit Sanghrajka, CEO of Alluring Africa, suggests that the process will likely resemble ETA systems already in use by countries such as the US, UK, and Canada. The anticipated application process is expected to be quick, taking only a few minutes, with approval notifications sent via email shortly after submission.

Global Trends in Digitized Immigration Systems

The move by Kenya follows a global trend of adopting digitized immigration systems. Notably, the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS), set to launch in spring 2025 after several delays, stands out as a prominent example. Armand Arton, CEO of Arton Capital and creator of the Passport Index, emphasizes the increasing adoption of natural, efficient, and non-invasive ways to cross borders while ensuring enhanced security for both destinations and travellers.

African Union’s Efforts to Boost Economies

Kenya’s decision to eliminate visa requirements aligns with recent efforts by African Union countries to stimulate economic growth by easing travel restrictions. Gambia, Benin, and Seychelles have already waived visa restrictions for African nationals, with Rwanda soon expected to follow suit. This movement mirrors Europe’s Schengen Area, promoting free movement within the African continent.

Global Impact and Tourism Revival

Other nations, such as Mongolia and Indonesia, have also relaxed visa restrictions in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, aiming to revive international tourism. For Kenya, the elimination of visa hassles is expected to make spontaneous travel more accessible for tourists worldwide. Sanghrajka notes that the new electronic authorization system will not only facilitate travel from key markets like the US but will also be a “game-changer” for visitors from countries facing challenges under the current electronic visa application system.

President Ruto’s Vision: “Welcome Home”

President Ruto conveyed a powerful message through Kenya’s commitment to becoming a visa-free nation, stating that it sends “a simple message to humanity: welcome home.” This statement reflects Kenya’s desire to embrace visitors from all corners of the globe, fostering a sense of openness and inclusivity.


Kenya’s decision to become visa-free for global visitors from January 2024 represents a bold step towards embracing digitized immigration systems and fostering economic growth through increased tourism. As the world witnesses a shift toward more seamless and secure travel processes, Kenya’s move sets a precedent for other nations to explore innovative ways of facilitating global movement.