Kenya scraps entry fee for seven states

NAIROBI. – Kenya has exempted passport holders from South Africa and six other countries from paying an unpopular entry fee introduced last month.

The government scrapped visa requirements for all foreign passport holders last month.

The move was seen as an attempt to promote Kenya as a tourist destination and to attract business travellers.

But a US$30 entry fee was introduced, including for some visitors who previously did not require visas.

The decision caused a huge backlash, with critics saying that it could lead to countries with which Kenya has visa-waiver agreements introducing a similar fee, making travel more costly and bureaucratic.

Only travellers from the East African Community (EAC) regional bloc were exempt from paying the money.

In addition to South Africa, the exemption has been extended to passport holders from five other African states – Ethiopia, Eritrea, Congo-Brazzaville, Comoros and Mozambique.

San Marino, Europe’s third-smallest nation, is the only other country on the exemption list.

A memorandum from Kenya’s interior ministry and immigration department said the exempted countries had entered “visa abolition agreements or signed bilateral visa waiver agreements” with the East African state.

However, travellers from these countries would still need to get an electronic travel authorisation (ETA) document in advance to enter Kenya, and submit information such as flight details and proof of accommodation. – BBC.com

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