Two lionesses lying on ground among green grass in Maasai Mara, Kenya

How to get a Kenyan tourist visa

Oct 31, 2023
Reading time: 4 minutes

Many nationalities need a visa to visit Kenya. Fortunately, the process is pretty simple, and you can pick from a few different options. Note that all visas must now be obtained online. Here's what else you need to know ...

Who needs a visa to visit Kenya?

Most foreign nationals need a tourist visa to visit Kenya.

That said, there are 40-odd countries that have a visa-free arrangement in place with Kenya. Most notably, these include Malaysia, Singapore, South Africa, Tanzania and various other African nations. Such nationals can visit Kenya visa-free for up to 30 days.

To check if your nationality needs a visa to visit Kenya, please look at this list of countries.

Herd of elephants in Amboseli with Kilimanjaro in background

Amboseli Park offers views of Mt Kilimanjaro in neighbouring Tanzania

What are my Kenyan visa options?

Here are the three options you need to know about as a tourist wanting to visit Kenya:

  1. Single-entry tourist visa. This is the most common type of visa for tourists. It gives you 90 days to enter the country from the date of issue and lets you stay in the country for up to 90 days.
  2. Transit visa. This visa lets you spend three days (72 hours) in Kenya.
  3. East Africa visa. This visa is also quite popular among tourists as it lets you move between Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda for up to 90 days. It's valid for 90 days from the date of issue.

Some notes on the East Africa visa

Please note that the following rules apply to the East Africa visa:

  • The visa doesn't include Tanzania, even though Tanzania is obviously also part of East Africa. You must obtain a separate Tanzanian tourist visa if you wish to go there too.
  • Your first port of entry using the East Africa visa must be somewhere in Kenya.
  • You won't be allowed back in on the same visa if you leave these three countries during the 90 days.
Wildebeest jumping into Mara River. Great Migration. Kenya. Tanzania. Masai Mara National Park

The Great Migration is one of Kenya's biggest tourist magnets

How much does a Kenyan visa cost?

The following costs apply to the different Kenya tourist visas:

  • The single-entry tourist visa costs US$50.
  • The transit visa costs US$20.
  • The East Africa tourist visa costs US$100.

Please note that all visas are non-refundable. They also incur a US$1 service fee. But that's no biggie. International bank transaction fees are likely to apply.

Finally, children under the age of 16 don't need a visa to visit Kenya, just a valid passport.

Aerial of Mount Kenya, Africa and snow in January

Mt Kenya is Africa's second highest peak at 5,199 m (17,058 ft) asl

How do I apply for a Kenyan visa?

You must apply for your Kenyan visa online using the country's online e-visa service which was launched in 2015. You can find the application form for the e-visa here.

Kenya, Gede ruins are the remains of a Swahili town located in Gedi, a village near the coastal town of Malindi

Ruins of the Swahili town of Gede

Visa requirements

You need to provide the following when applying for a Kenyan visa:

  • A portrait photograph of yourself โ€“ it can even be a selfie. (Go here for specific photo guidelines.)
  • A photograph or scan of the biodata page of your passport (which must be valid for at least six months after the end of your stay in Kenya).
  • A travel itinerary that includes hotel reservations or a signed invitation letter from a Kenyan resident (along with a photo of their ID or passport), as well as a return or onward ticket(s).

Finally, ensure there's a blank page in your passport for stamping.

Camels walking along white sand Diani Beach near Mombasa, Kenya

Not everyone is aware that Kenya has idyllic warm-water beaches

When must I apply for a Kenyan visa?

The e-visa system is very swift, and it usually only takes two working days to obtain a single-entry Kenyan tourist e-visa. That said, do yourself the favour of not testing the system's efficiency and rather apply for yours far earlier than that!

An East Africa visa application can take up to 10 days to process.

When you visa is granted, print it out so that you have it to show the immigration official upon your arrival into the country.

Close-up portrait of gerenuk

Gerenuks are long-necked antelopes that only live in north Kenya

And that's all! Not a complicated process as far as visas go, so go ahead and book yourself onto that awesome Kenyan adventure. ๐Ÿ˜