Kenya has scrapped the electronic visa fee for citizens hailing from seven nations, a move prompted by recent amendments to its immigration laws early this year.

While the modifications have done away with the travel permit prerequisite, a mandatory $30 fee was instituted for countries formerly exempt from visa requirements.

The list of exempted countries comprises South Africa, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Congo-Brazzaville, Comoros, Mozambique, and San Marino, the third-smallest nation in Europe and the sole non-African country enjoying exemption status.

“My heartfelt thanks and appreciation to the Government of Kenya for its prompt response and kind decision to remove Ethiopian citizens from Electronic Travel Authorisation (eTA) related electronic payment requirement,” said Bacha Debele, the Ethiopian Ambassador to Kenya on X.

A memorandum issued by Kenya’s interior ministry and immigration department stipulates that the granted exemptions are the result of visa abolition agreements or bilateral visa waiver accords with Nairobi.

Despite this waiver, travelers from these countries must secure an electronic travel authorisation (ETA) in advance to gain entry into Kenya.

While this move is a relief for citizens who were previously subject to a $50 visa fee, it introduces a financial burden for individuals from the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) who were previously exempt from any charges.

Historically, Comesa nationals benefited from visa fee exemptions and were spared from the need for travel document applications when visiting Kenya.

However, the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority has outlined specific exemptions from the ETA requirement. These include individuals holding Kenyan Permanent residence, valid work permits and passes, as well as those possessing valid United Nations Conventional Travel Documents issued by the Government of Kenya.

Furthermore, members of Diplomatic Missions and International Organisations Accredited to Kenya are privileged with this exemption.

The category of passengers in transit through Kenya is also exempt, provided they arrive and depart on the same aircraft or transfer to another one without leaving the precincts of Kenyan airports.