Kenya Opens Borders: Visa-Free Entry for All Foreign Nationals

In a groundbreaking move, Kenyan President William Ruto declared on Tuesday, during the 60th Jamhuri Day national celebrations at Uhuru Gardens in Nairobi, that Kenya is opening its borders by abolishing visa requirements for all foreign nationals. The president had hinted at this development during the Africa Climate Summit in Nairobi on September 4, 2023, initially suggesting the policy would apply to African nations only.

President Ruto emphasized Kenya’s significance, stating, “Kenya is the home of humanity, a scientific fact that fills us with pride and underscores our rich heritage.” He expressed pleasure in making the historic announcement, revealing that the new policy would take effect from January 2024. However, travelers intending to visit Kenya will be required to undergo a vetting process in advance through mandatory online electronic travel authorization.

Describing Kenya as a hospitable nation, President Ruto declared, “It shall no longer be necessary for any person from any corner of the globe to carry the burden of applying for a visa to come to Kenya.” Quoting the Turkana people, he extended a warm welcome to the world, saying, “Tobong’u Lorre!” Translated, this phrase conveys a simple message: Welcome Home!

The Kenya Kwanza administration, under President Ruto’s leadership, has recently entered into visa-free agreements with various African countries and Indonesia. President Ruto emphasized that the decision to lift visa requirements was driven by the necessity to facilitate free movement and trade, highlighting Kenya’s fearless and welcoming approach to engaging with the global community.

“Kenyans have shown, time and again, that we are not afraid of the world beyond our borders. We venture abroad fearlessly and warmly welcome our visitors from near and far,” President Ruto noted. He underlined that Kenya’s role as a welcoming home for humanity is deeply rooted in the scientific and historic account of early humanity, citing various archaeological sites across the country.

“In short, we are the first home of all humanity, and we joyfully embrace our ancestral task of welcoming humanity home,” President Ruto declared in conclusion.

The move to make Kenya a visa-free country marks a significant shift in the nation’s immigration policy and aligns with the broader vision of promoting connectivity and collaboration with the global community. The decision reflects Kenya’s confidence in its historical significance and commitment to fostering international relationships.

Beginning January 2024, travelers seeking to experience the beauty and diversity of Kenya will no longer face the cumbersome process of visa applications. Instead, they will navigate a streamlined online system for electronic travel authorization, simplifying entry procedures and encouraging a more open and welcoming environment for visitors from across the globe.


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