Kenya has announced on Thursday 27 July that it will grant visas on arrival for all travellers due to the collapse of its online application platform eCitizen, which made most government services inaccessible. The eCitizen portal, responsible for providing over 5,000 government services, including e-visas, fell victim to a cyber-attack, although officials assured that no data had been lost.
Kenyan Government Responds
In response to the situation, the Foreign and Diaspora Affairs Ministry contacted foreign missions and international organisations on Thursday, explaining the temporary measure. During the period while the platform is down, all travellers will be issued visas upon arrival at entry points in Kenya.
The usual e-visa application process, which requires relevant document submissions for validation, will be temporarily replaced by the visa on arrival option for all travellers. The government also advised airlines to allow passengers destined for Kenya to board without e-visas. However, this change could lead to congestion at border clearance desks at airports, as each applicant will now be assessed individually upon arrival.
The downtime is attributed to hackers attempting to overload the system with data requests. A group called Anonymous Sudan claimed responsibility for the cyber-attack, stating that it was in protest Kenya’s alleged interference in Sudan’s internal affairs. The group also targeted mobile money transfer platforms, e-banking systems, and services provided by utility firm Kenya Power.
Despite the cyber-attack, the government assured the public that no data had been accessed or lost. It is actively addressing the situation and developing a comprehensive risk mitigation framework to prevent such incidents in the future. In the meantime, authorities are focused on resolving the platform’s issues and ensuring the smooth functioning of essential government services.
Written by Simon Carletti, PR and Creative Supervisor