My 44-day trip to East Africa (Uganda and Kenya) and South Africa means I will need visa to enter each of the countries. As a Nigerian carrying a Nigerian passport, I guess the experience was totally easy and seamless. Before going to Kenya, I had a little panic (well, I guess it is just the good type of being anxious when you are expectant). I thought it was going to be a bit tough getting the Visa, as I had a bit difficultly reaching my initial host (I needed the address of my accommodation and a letter of invitation). Both had not come even 24 hours to my flight. I knew all will be well, yet I kept trying to reach my friend, it wasn’t successful. From nowhere, another Kenyan friend called me and I shared about my trip. Oh, ‘no worries Fash, I will send you anything you need to make through the Kenya Immigration’, and she did. I got on the flight, got to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and do you know that all that letter I was waiting to have were not ‘required’?
Yes, required in quotes because, there is a form you will have to fill that will request for your place of accommodation, your itinerary, how long you are staying and your host contact details. The immigration officer asked me, ‘what are you in Kenya for? For how long will you be here, and one more question that I can’t remember now. ‘Then, I answered. Without asking for any other information or proof that my answers are legit, he collected my passport, stamped it with a Kenyan Visa and asked me to pay $50. All that process took less than 8 minutes (apart from the long queue that took about 30 minutes before I got to the immigration desk).
So, yes! There you have it, I got Visa on Arrival at the Airport in Kenya!
Seamless, easy and straightforward. I guess it is even better to get an eVisa before travelling to Kenya, to do that, click here.
Getting Visa on Arrival in Kenya (and Extension). To extend my Visa in Kenya, I had read online that I can start the process online, make payment and then go to the Immigration office to complete it. The bottleneck I faced was that I went online, tried to register my account, proceed to pay and get things done in the morning at their office. I tried again in the night, but their system didn’t send me confirmation email to finish the setup of my account. So, I went to their office in Nairobi, in the morning, to complain about the problem. At their customer service desk, the military man I met said, ‘there is no problem, that the extension can be made manually.’ I paid 2000Ksh ($20 – conversion rate as at May, 2019). The process took less than 25 minutes and the extension (2 months) was done. Interestingly, the main Visa I got when I came in at the Airport was only for 1 month and I paid $50. So, I don’t know how the electronic process of extending a Kenyan Visa would have been.
Getting Visa On Arrival To Uganda.
After I had travelled about 10 hours from Nairobi, Kenya to Malaba, Kenya (one of the border towns of Kenya and Uganda – the other is through Busia), I was going to make my way through the border to travel to my next destination in Uganda. Now, how was my obtaining a Visa experience like? I will say, it was smooth and straightforward too. At the border, you go in to the immigration desk, pick up a white form from the tables, fill out your travel details – name, professional, passport number, number of nights to stay in Uganda and other things. It should take about 8 minutes to fill the form. Then, with the card, you move to the first cubicle of immigration desk.
Your details are checked and you will be stamped out of Kenya. Next, you move to the other side at the immigration desk. The guy there asked me why I didn’t have an eVisa (meaning, I should have registered online to obtain a visa). Well, I had no reason why I didn’t choose or consider that option.
Next time, I will go for that option. Seems it would be better and even smoother that way.
Then, he asked me for my invitation letter from Uganda, I gave him and he looked it over for a while.
Then, he asked another immigration officer to look through the invitation letter. He did.
Finally, he said, ‘Man, I will give you 20 days of Visa’. Well, I needed just 14 days. So, that was more than enough. He stamped the passport, asked me to pay $50 and voilà, I was done. The process was slower (about 20 more minutes) compared to getting my Visa in Kenya. All in all, it wasn’t tough and it was a no-brainer experience.