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HomeNewsForeigners Express Dissatisfaction With Ruto's ETA Over Delays

Foreigners Express Dissatisfaction With Ruto’s ETA Over Delays

Foreigners Express Dissatisfaction With Ruto’s ETA Over Delays

Foreigners, a majority of whom are drawn from 51 countries that already enjoyed Visa-free travel to Kenya, have expressed their dissatisfaction with President William Ruto’s decision to do away with Visa requirements and replace them with Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA).

The Head of State abolished Visa requirements to boost local tourism by attracting northwards of 5 million tourists.

The new ETA system, however, introduced a mandatory requirement for all travelers worldwide to file their particulars at least 72 hours before travel and must pay a fee of Ksh4,653 ($30).

Foreigners traveling to Kenya from the 51 countries such as South Africa and Malawi that enjoyed Visa-free travel, however, claimed that the new system, although attractive for the rest of the world, piled additional costs and demands on them.

Jones Ntaukira, on his X account, argued that he would have to part with more money and file more paperwork before travel which was previously unnecessary.

“So until 24 hours ago, as a Malawian, I could just wake up, buy a ticket, and fly to Kenya in the afternoon, visa-free. Now Kenya has “removed visa” for everyone visiting Kenya, but now everyone has to pay a $30 travel authorization fee 72 hours before travel. What? Hectic,” he expressed.

Sean Mendis, an airline executive, agreed with the claim noting that the paperwork adds more wait time since travellers must add their confirmed flight, and booked hotels among other details.

He further argued that the ordinary ETA is not changeable even if the flight is canceled and is locked into the specific flight itinerary an individual submits.

To change flight numbers, the travelers will be expected to pay extra.

“Each ETA is a single entry and you cannot apply for the next ETA until you exit the country, meaning that you cannot travel to Kenya more often than once every 72 hours,” he argued.


“This system is not something to be commended. It is basically a cash grab rather than a means of opening borders. The old visa regime was far better than this “not a visa but ETA” system, especially for those who qualified for actual visa-free entry in the past but now have to pay for this ‘not a visa’, or for frequent travelers who could get multiple entry visas but now have to reapply every single time.”

The observation was shared by CNN correspondent Larry Madowo who is known for his frequent travels across continents.

In a statement on Sunday, the Ministry of Interior justified the need for ETA filing noting that it would inform the country on Kenya’s security and other strategic interests.

“Previously, travelers from 51 countries were not required to fill out any forms on personal and relevant travel details. There was therefore no means of obtaining data to inform critical decisions and plans around security, infrastructure, and insurance needs,” read the statement in part.

“With the introduction of the ETA, we now have comprehensive data on all visitors, significantly improving our ability to ensure the safety and well-being of both our visitors and citizens.”

So far, ETA has received a total of 9,787 applications, 4,046 of which have already been processed.

Interior Principal Secretary Julius Bitok also revealed that the ETA reduces the application wait time from 14 days for visas to just 72 hours for the ETA.

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

Foreigners Express Dissatisfaction With Ruto’s ETA Over Delays