Effective July 1, 2015, all persons from countries that require visa to enter Kenya will have to apply for it online from http://www.ecitizen.go.ke portal. One is required to register as a visitor and reactivate his/her account by uploading a passport size photo…thereafter he/she is able to apply for the visa and pay for it online using debit or credit cards. Once this is done one will get a print out with a reference number…this is what will be presented to Immigration officers at the port of entry for endorsement…please remember as usual a visa is not the authority to enter Kenya…an Immigration officer reserves the right of admission please! well they are nice all the time if you have the right documents!
Important to note is that the Government has granted a grace period of up to end of August 2015 where one can still get the visa manually at various points of entry and Kenyan Missions abroad. Starting September 1, only online visa application process will be operation.
In my view this is phenomenal in many ways: One for the first time the government will have an overview of all persons from visa nationals planning to come to Kenya! This is great if you think security….in any case this is the trend globally! Secondly, the cost of procuring the visa stickers will no longer exist meaning that the government will make quite substantial savings and obviously generate much more money from Forex. The visa system will be cashless process meaning that the chances of pilferage of government money is Zero…assuming online fraud is taken care of. In fact the temptation is no longer there even for officers
On the flip-side, there may be possibilities of some Kenya Missions abroad that thrived mostly of visa money having some liquidity issues and most likely scale down their staffing in the consular sections…well this is both good and bad…good to the Kenyan tax payers because of savings from reduction in Foreign service officers….but bad for government officers that saw some opportunities in serving as attaches in Foreign services.
As a matter of fact, this ecitizen initiative alongside the Huduma centres is what really epitomizes the Uhuruto government as digital…not in the talk or the never coming laptops for kids in primary schools. This has created a huge excitement in the international community as many people feel that Kenya is coming of age in public service….my boss who sits in London, after I took her through a tour of Immigration headquarters in Nyayo house this week, was amazed at how Kenya is making a lot of attempts to improve on service delivery…this whole evisa thing blew her off completely! That is the kind of experience that makes me very proud as a Kenyan.
Yes we have our own problems like any other country but we are doing a lot of good stuff!
As a former Immigration officer am also excited that my former colleagues who work day and night sometimes in very difficult conditions will be safe from the possibility of issuing a visa to the wrong person because I am assuming that once one applies online, the guys that we pay to snitch around will be able to to do so quickly and advise accordingly.
I am all smiles that finally Kenya is joining the league of nations where you don’t just walk in…isn’t that what all other countries make us do? well reciprocity is at times fair….well this has come late but still better than never.
I hope my optimism will not be killed by systems not working…I am alive to the fact that there will be some teething problems but we will fix them and forge ahead.
Well done to all those that came up with this idea