Kenya is set to implement a new Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) system for citizens of the East African Community (EAC) who wish to enter the country. This decision comes after a six-month leeway period, during which neighboring countries were exempted from the ETA requirement.

Nixon Ng’ang’a, the Director of Communications in the Ministry of Interior, confirmed the implementation of the ETA system, stating, “We are currently developing a system to recognize various types of EAC documents used for traveling within the region. The six months will be used to align regional interests and compliance with international travel protocol.”

As of now, citizens from EAC member states, including Somalia, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda, and South Sudan, can enter Kenya without an ETA. However, this will change once the grace period ends. Ng’ang’a emphasized that the purpose of the six-month period was to give the Kenyan government the necessary time to comply with international standards.

The introduction of the ETA system, which replaces the traditional visa system, aims to streamline travel processes and enhance security. Interior Principal Secretary Julius Bitok highlighted the efficiency of the new system, stating, “The new system reduces the application wait time from 14 days for visas to just 72 hours for the ETA.”

Under the ETA system, visitors entering Kenya will be required to submit their application at least three days before travel, providing details such as passport information, contact details, accommodation booking confirmations, and means of payment. This move is part of Kenya’s efforts to comply with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) regulations on travel, and it is expected to improve efficiency and reduce wait times for travel authorization.