Kindiki Introduces 10 Reforms for Visa Free Entry Into Kenya


Foreigners seeking to enter Kenya will have to undergo advanced prescreening to acquire the Electronic Travel Authorisation if a proposed amendment to the law is approved.

In a special notice, Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki has proposed the Kenya Citizenship and Immigration (Amendment) Regulations, 2023, that seeks to introduce rules that would govern the visa-free entry status declared by President William Ruto last month.

In the proposal, all passengers will be subjected to an advanced screening process by the introduction of an Advance Passenger Information (API) system.

This system involves the biographic data of a passenger or a crew member as well as the flight details of an aircraft operator and other details that will be required before passengers arrive in Kenya.

Interior CS Kithure Kindiki chairing a meeting with officers in Baringo South on October 31, 2023

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Ministry of Interior

Also, each passenger shall apply to the Director for the ETA system through the e-portal and possess the authorisation before boarding a flight to Kenya. Kenya will charge Ksh4,600 for an ETA application. 

The government warned airlines against onboarding a passenger who does not hold a valid ETA.

According to Kindiki, any flight that brings a foreigner into Kenya who does not hold a valid ETA will be required to return the passenger to his or her country of origin.

Further, the proposal indicates that possession of an Electronic Travel Authorization does not symbolise the final authority to enter the country. This means that the government can still deny one’s entry status if they are found to have contravened the rules stipulated in the new guidelines.

The airlines will also be required to provide the information relating to the passengers to the immigration officer. 

An intense fact-check should also be carried out by the airlines to ascertain the credibility of the information provided.

Any carrier who provides erroneous information to the Immigration officer will be charged a penalty of Ksh1.57 million.

Following the provision of the information, the immigration department will cross-check the data against the databases of the persons under the watchlist for purposes of identifying criminals or suspects.

An Aeroplane in flight

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The Airline Transponder

If the officer determines that a passenger’s information is in doubt, he shall provide the information to the control agency for further analysis.

The data shall also be processed within a secure location in the country to safeguard the information against any form of breach.

Six months after taking possession of the information, the immigration officer is mandated by the new guidelines to depersonalize the data.

According to the guidelines, the officer can only retrieve the data if it’s necessary to prosecute a suspect accused of a specified offence.

Here is the summary of the ten conditions: 

-All passengers are to undergo an advanced screening process by the introduction of an Advance Passenger Information (API) system.

-Each passenger to the Director for the ETA system through the e-portal and possess the authorisation before boarding a flight to Kenya.

-No airline should carry a passenger who does not hold a valid ETA.

-A flight that brings a foreigner into Kenya who does not hold a valid ETA will be required to return them to their country of origin.

-The government still has the right to deny one’s entry despite possessing an ETA.

-Immigration officers will be tasked to carry out an intense fact check to ascertain the credibility of the information provided.

-Any carrier who provides erroneous information to the Immigration officer will be charged a penalty of Ksh1.57 million.

-If the officer determines that a passenger’s information is in doubt, he shall provide the information to the control agency for further analysis.

-The immigration officer shall depersonalize the data six months after taking possession of the information.

-The immigration officer can only retrieve the data if it’s necessary to prosecute a suspect accused of a specified offence.





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