KENYA – African nationals to be visa-waived, EAC nationals to be work-permit exempt

The change will make it easier for Africans traveling to Kenya and could lead to more African countries adopting a similar open-door policy.

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IMPACT – MEDIUM

What is the change? Newly re-elected President Uhuru Kenyatta has announced that the country will waive visas for all African nationals and waive work permits for all nationals from the East African Community (Burundi, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda).

What does the change mean? All citizens of African countries, including business visitors, who hold a valid passport will be permitted to travel to Kenya without first needing to obtain a visa, and all EAC nationals will need only show their national ID to enter Kenya for work.

  • Implementation time frame: Immediate.
  • Visas/permits affected: Visas for all Africa nationals and work permits for EAC nationals.
  • Who is affected: All African nationals visiting Kenya; EAC nationals seeking to work in Kenya. 
  • Impact on processing times: The change will save eligible travelers the time it currently takes to obtain a Kenyan visa and allow EAC nationals to work in Kenya immediately and without first requiring a work permit.
  • Business impact: The eased visa policy will encourage intracontinental business travel and substantially advance the protocols of the East African Community relating to the free movement of workers.

BAL Analysis: The change will make it easier for Africans traveling to Kenya and could lead to more African countries adopting a similar open-door policy. African nationals will be able to travel to Kenya without a visa and apply for an entry visa at a port of entry. Now that Kenya has implemented the EAC’s protocol relating to the free movement of workers, other member states may be pressured to reciprocate.   

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Kenya. For additional information, please contact africa@balglobal.com.

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