Over 2,141 ETAs Approved as Ruto Visa Free Program Commences


Immigration PS Julius Bitok has announced that the first batch of Visa-free foreigners landed in Kenya four days after the program was scheduled to commence. 

Bitok, in a statement sent to Kenyans.co.ke by the Immigration Department, stated that the visitors arrived at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) using the Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA). 

One eTA costs Ksh4,600, applied via the eCitizen platform.

Over 5,000 eTA applications have already been received, with 2,141 approved so far, according to Bitok. 

Immigration PS Julius Bitok meets Ms Kyung Sang Yoo, who was among the first visa-free travellers to Kenya in Nairobi, on January 5

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PS Bitok

The government had postponed the rollout of the eTA system pending its implementation. 

“It’s very easy to apply and get an ETA. You just need to fill in your personal data in ten minutes and you should be able to get approval in 72 hours. We have made sure that travelling to Kenya is going to be an easy and pleasant experience,” Bitok, who witnessed the arrivals at JKIA stated. 

He added that the country hoped to absorb the foregone revenue from visa applications from the anticipated spending by a higher number of tourists. 

“On average, each visitor spends around Ksh500,000 within three months in Kenya. We believe we can grow the annual revenue from increased tourism to Ksh.1.5 trillion every year.” 

Furthermore, he dismissed reports alleging that visa-free entry will expose the country to international criminal syndicates and reiterated that the new system will offer better means of identifying and blacklisting undesirable visitors. 

“ETA is a much superior system as we’re able to foretell persons who are coming to our country in advance and ensuring the necessary precautions are in place so that only the right people are welcomed,” he stated. 

Speaking at JKIA, Kyunga Sang Yoo, a South Korean national said to be a frequent visitor to Kenya lauded the government for fast-tracking eTA applications and expunging Visa requirements. 

“We used to spend long hours going through the visa application but it took me a few minutes to complete the ETA process for my entire family,” Kyunga was quoted in the press release sent to Kenyans.co.ke.

Immigration and Citizen Services Principal Secretary Julis Bitok addressing different State Agencies at Syokimau, Machakos County on November 8, 2023.

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STATE DEPARTMENT FOR IMMIGRATION & CITIZEN SERVICES

 





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