How Kenya has digitised their immigration systems.
Modernising Immigration: eVisa
In July 2015, the Kenyan government introduced an eVisa Service to make applications from Foreign Nationals more streamline and convenient. This service became compulsory in September 2015.
This meant that for all eVisa applications, the applicant starts their immigration journey online. The eVisa website has proved to be effective and reliable for users.
eVisa Services Provided:
- Single Entry Visa
- Transit Visa
- Courtesy Entry Visa
- East African Tourist Visa
- Multiple Entry Visa
- 5 Year Multiple Entry Visa
Kenyans Migrating to Biometric Passports
Recently, The Directorate of Immigration and Citizen Services (DICS) announced that Kenya will fully migrate to the new East African Community (EAC) biometric passport by 30 November. This date is in line with a November 2021 agreement by the EAC Council of Ministers. Previously, the date for final applications was December 2021. This will be the last extension granted to allow more Kenyans to acquire the new e-passport.
Electronic Foreign Nationals Services
Introduced in March 2016, the eFNS is an electronical portal for the submission of documents relating to your work visa, special pass, or dependent pass applications. However, the eFNS site, the Republic of Kenya Electronic Foreign Nationals Services, is not without errors and issues.
Previously, applicants were made to submit documents online and physically when applying for their visa but, as of December 2020, Kenya only requires the digital submission, not hardcopies as well.
What Applications can be Made on eFNS?
- Foreign Nationals Certificate (Alien Card), Re-Entry Pass and Extension of Visitor’s Pass
- Work/Residence Visas
- Dependent Pass, Student Pass and Special Pass
- Permanent Residence
Does the System Work?
The digitalisation of the application process has meant that much time is saved and the decision of granting visas is usually faster. However, the eFNS online portal falls short, with the website often being down.
When the website is down, the visa process grinds to an uncomfortable halt, with clients lost as to what to do. This means clients are stuck with little to no updates on their applications and forced to patiently wait for the systems to come back online.
However, according to Sylvia Waiganjo, one of IBN’s Immigration Consultants in Kenya, the old system was even worse,
“Previously you had to submit the hard copies of the application. The next time you do a follow up they can’t trace the file, so you must resubmit another set of documents.”
A Step in the Right Direction
So, even though the eFNS system has its flaws after years of implementation, it is still a welcome change to the system of the past. Notifications and updates regarding your status are given electronically: saving time, and eliminating the constant need to visit the government’s immigration offices. If the eFNS system could become more reliable in future, it would mean that Kenyan immigration has improved in leaps and bounds over the last 5-10 years.
Looking to Kenya’s Future
Many of these positive changes were implemented by Fred Matiang’I, Kenya’s Interior Cabinet Secretary, who stepped down from his position after the recent results of the presidential election in Kenya. Syvlia, like many other Kenyans, hopes that the new government will bring even more positive changes to immigration under the leadership of William Ruto and his cabinet.
Let IBN Kenya Help You
IBN Immigration Solutions has a dedicated office and team of Immigration Consultants in Kenya, ready to assist you with any needs or queries you may have. They are familiar with all the requirements for applications, possible red-flags, and hold-ups with the government’s immigration department, meaning that you’ll be in safe hands.
Make your immigration journey an easy one; reach out to our Kenya branch today!
Written by Simon Carletti
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Disclaimer: At IBN Immigration Solutions, we believe in transparency and abide by Google’s rules. Please note that we are a privately-owned immigration practice and fully comply with the Kenya Citizenship and Immigration Act, with registration number 1998/008448/07. We offer our expertise in successfully applying for temporary and permanent residency services, for which we charge a fee. While forms required for the process can be obtained for free at any Department of Home Affairs office, we provide them as part of our service. It’s important to note that we are not affiliated with the Kenyan Government, but we do provide a valuable service to those seeking to immigrate to Kenya. Users who prefer to deal directly with the Department of Home Affairs can contact them at https://immigration.go.ke/