We have to get visas for a few of the countries that we are visiting on our around the world trip.
Fortunately we are able to get most of these visas while we are traveling. Unfortunately, Kenya does not have an embassy anywhere in Central or South America which means that we had to get this visa before we left the United States.
Who Needs a Kenyan Visa?
Most nationalities, including US citizens, require a visa to enter Kenya. For the most up to date list, visit the Kenyan Embassy site.
Kenyan Visa Information
We opted in for a single entry visa as that met our needs. Should you require several entries into the country there are options for multi-entry visas as well as a 72 hour transit visa.
In order to get your Kenyan visa, you need to fill out an online application, print it out out, include a standard passport photo and either bring it in person or mail it to the Kenyan Embassy. We printed out our safari itinerary as well as our flight information to/from Kenya. While these were not requested, we felt better having all of this information should it be needed to process our paperwork.
The visa is not very official looking as it is handwritten with a stamp to make it look more official. It reminded both of us of our visa on arrival from Cambodia.
The visa is valid 6 months from the date of issue and offers you admission to the country for up to 90 days. A single entry visa as of August 2015 is $50 – if you need to expedite your visa, there is a $40 fee to get your visa same day.
Getting a Visa in Person at the NYC Embassy
Since we planned to go to NYC to see some friends before heading up to Andy’s hometown to see his family, we decided to get our visa in person at the Kenyan embassy in NYC.
The Kenya embassy is located at 866 UN Plaza, Suite 4016 – near the UN building. It was a little tricky to find out where we needed to go as there are 2 doors under the same address. When we signed in, the security guard directed us to the correct entry which was 1 door down.
Once we were in the correct lobby, we signed in and headed up to the office. When we arrived we were greeted by a very friendly man. He chatted with us for about 10 minutes before getting to the official business of our visas.
On the Kenyan consulate site it said that only money orders were accepted. Not wanting to pay for a money order which was made out to the incorrect recipient or for the incorrect amount, I wanted to confirm before I went downstairs to the Citibank. The consulate worker said if we had cash they could accept that. I was very happy as this saved us not only a trip down to the bank but also a fee to get a money order.
Less than 5 minutes after he took our passports in the back, we had our stamps completed. We aren’t sure how much he reviewed our paperwork as he continued to chat with us for another 10 minutes, asking us questions that we had very clearly filled out in our paperwork. At a break in the conversation we politely excused ourselves as I am pretty sure he would have chatted with us for hours given the chance.
Mailing in Your Passport to Get a Visa
If you are mailing in your visa paperwork, make sure that you meet the Kenyan visa requirements. Plan to submit your paperwork over a month before your departure date as the process can take up to 14 business day to process plus time to mail it back.
Getting a Kenyan visa in person was surprisingly easy – it actually reminded me of a visa on arrival it went so quickly.
While there are a lot of things that we are going to do before February, both Andy and I are looking forward to meeting up with my parents to safari in Kenya!