See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Kenya for information on U.S. – Kenya relations.
Kenyan Immigration has instituted a strict visa policy whereby all visitors are strongly encouraged to obtain visas by using an online system, though visas are available upon arrival at international ports of entry including Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.
For additional information on immunizations and detailed country-specific recommendations on vaccinations and other health precautions for travelers to Kenya, visit the CDC’s Travelers’ Health website.
HIV/AIDS Restrictions: The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to, or foreign residents of, Kenya.
You should review the Department of State’s Travel Warning for Kenya before considering travel to Kenya.
Terrorism: Terrorist threats remain in Kenya, including those aimed at U.S., Western, and Kenyan interests, within the Nairobi area, along the coast, and within the northeastern region of the country.
Terrorist attacks have cumulatively resulted in the death and injury of hundreds of people since 2011. Over the last year, most incidents have occurred in the northeastern border region of the country; there have been no major attacks in Nairobi, Mombasa, or other major cities in the last two years.
On September 11, 2016, press accounts noted that three women purportedly attacked a police station in Mombasa with knives and petrol bombs, wounding two Kenyan police officers. On October 27, an assailant with a knife attacked a police officer guarding the U.S. Embassy compound in Nairobi.
Regions to avoid:
The Peace Corps suspended its volunteer activities in 2013 due to security risks. The Peace Corps will continue to assess the security situation in Kenya and return when conditions permit.
CRIME: Crime in Kenya is a regular occurrence and Kenyan authorities have limited capacity to deter and investigate such acts.
Forced Marriage is known to occur in Kenya.
Sexual Assault is prevalent in Kenya and frequently goes unreported.
Domestic Violence: The Kenyan government has laws that protect its citizens from domestic violence. You should contact your local police station if you feel unsafe or are a victim of domestic violence.
Victims of Crime: Report crimes to the local police station and then contact the U.S. Embassy during business hours at +254-(0)20-363-6451, or after-hours at +254-(0) 20-363-6000 in cases of emergency.
Please remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crimes. See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.
Kenya has assistance programs for victims of crime sponsored by nongovernmental organizations. These programs include but are not limited to the following:
For further information:
Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned.
Arrest Notification: You should ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately if you are arrested or detained. See our webpage for further information.
Customs regulations on importing items such as religious materials, antiquities, medications, business equipment, currency, ivory, rhino horn, and other wildlife products including hides, skins, and teeth into or out of Kenya are strict.
U.S. citizens have been detained and arrested for attempting to bring contraband into Kenya. Contact the Embassy of Kenya or one of Kenya’s consulates in the United States for specific information regarding customs requirements.
Alcoholic Drinks Control Act of 2010, which regulates when and where alcoholic drinks may be consumed in public, states that a person found by local law enforcement authorities to be intoxicated or disorderly in or near public areas, including some businesses, may be arrested without warrant and brought to court for trial.
More information on this law may be found on Kenya's substance abuse website, NACADA.
Tobacco Control Act 2007 regulates public smoking and the marketing and sale of tobacco products in Kenya. In public places, smoking is allowed only in designated smoking areas.
Currency: You may depart the country with up to 100,000 Kenyan shillings.
Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), the governing body of Kenya’s national parks, requires all tour operators and safari lodges carry nationally-mandated insurance. You should:
Firearms: Import, possession, and use of firearms is governed by the Kenya Firearms Act.
Faith-Based Travelers: See our following webpages for details:
LGBTI Travelers: Kenyan law criminalizes same-sex sexual activity.
See our travel tips for Women Travelers.
Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: Although Kenyan law prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities, the Government of Kenya has not consistently enforced these provisions and implementation has been slow.
Medical services are adequate in Nairobi for most medical conditions and emergencies. Health care outside of major cities (Nairobi, Kisumu, and Mombasa) is very limited.
We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare does not apply overseas.
Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.
We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.
If traveling with prescription medication, check with the Government of Kenya to ensure that the medication is legal in Kenya. Always carry your prescription medication in original packaging with your doctor’s prescription.
The Government of Kenya requires proof of yellow fever vaccination for travelers who are arriving from a country with risk of yellow fever.
The following diseases are prevalent:
Further health information:
Road Conditions and Safety: Road accidents are a major threat to travelers in Kenya. Roads are poorly maintained and are often bumpy, potholed, and unpaved.
U.S. citizens have been fatally injured in accidents involving long-distance, inter-city buses and local buses and vans called “matatus”. Matatus are commonly known to be the greatest danger to other vehicles and pedestrians.
Injuries and fatalities involving two-wheeled motorcycle taxis, called “boda bodas,” are equally common. Boda bodas often fail to observe basic safety precautions and ignore traffic rules. Inter-city night-time road travel should be avoided due to the poor road and street light conditions and the threat of banditry throughout the country.
During the rainy season, some unpaved roads are impassable even with four-wheel drive vehicles with high clearance. Travelers are urged to consult with local officials regarding road conditions.
Passenger trains are considered unsafe, particularly during rainy seasons, because of the lack of routine maintenance and safety checks. The Kenya Railway Service normally operates only two days a week.
See our Road Safety page for more information.
Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the government of Kenya’s Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Kenya’s air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.
Maritime: Mariners planning travel to Kenya should check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts at the Maritime Administration (MARAD) website. Information may also be posted to the U.S. Coast Guard homeport website, and the NGA broadcast warnings website.
For information concerning travel to Kenya including information about the location of the U.S. Embassy, the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, entry/exit requirements, safety and security, crime, medical facilities and health information, traffic safety, road conditions and aviation safety, please see country-specific information for Kenya.
Kenya is not a signatory to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Hague Abduction Convention), nor are there any bilateral agreements in force between Kenya and the United States concerning international parental child abduction.
Legal systems and laws pertaining to custody, divorce, and parental abduction vary widely from country to country. The government of Kenya maintains information about custody, visitation, and family law on the Internet at Kenya Law Reports on Gender and Family. Parents are encouraged to consult with an attorney who specializes in family law in Kenya and who can provide accurate legal guidance that is specific to their circumstances.
The Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs, Directorate for Overseas Citizens Services, Office of Children’s Issues provides assistance in cases of international parental child abduction. For U.S. citizen parents whose children have been wrongfully removed to or retained in countries that are not U.S. partners under the Hague Abduction Convention, the Office of Children’s Issues can provide information and resources about country-specific options for pursuing the return of or access to an abducted child. The Office of Children’s Issues may also coordinate with appropriate foreign and U.S. government authorities about the welfare of abducted U.S. citizen children. Parents are strongly encouraged to contact the Department of State for assistance.
U.S. Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children's
SA-17, 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Outside the United States: 1-202-501-4444
Parental child abduction is a crime in Kenya. See the Penal Code Chapter 63 Section 174.
Parents may wish to consult with an attorney in the United States and in the country to which the child has been removed or retained to learn more about how filing criminal charges may impact a custody case in the foreign court. Please see Possible Solutions - Pressing Criminal Charges for more information.
Legal systems and laws pertaining to custody, divorce, and parental abduction vary widely from country to country. Parents are encouraged to consult with an attorney who specializes in family law in Kenya and who can provide accurate legal guidance that is specific to their circumstances.
The Office of Children’s Issues may be able to assist parents seeking access to children who have been wrongfully removed from or retained outside the United States. Parents who are seeking access to children who were not wrongfully removed from or retained outside the United States should contact the appropriate U.S. Embassy or Consulate in Kenya for information and possible assistance.
Neither the Office of Children’s Issues nor consular officials at the U.S. Embassy or Consulates in Kenya are authorized to provide legal advice.
The U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya, posts a list of attorneys, including those who specialize in family law.
This list is provided as a courtesy service only and does not constitute an endorsement of any individual attorney. The Department of State assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the persons or firms included in this list. Professional credentials and areas of expertise are provided directly by the lawyers.
Mediation may be available for both abduction and access cases. The Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb), Kenya branch, is a professional body for Mediators and Arbitrators in Kenya and can assist in locating a mediator. The CIArb, Kenya branch, does not provide mediation services directly; it provides referrals to private and non-governmental organizations that offer mediation services specific to a client’s needs. Mediation is voluntary.
The U.S. government cannot interfere with another country’s court or law enforcement system.
For information about hiring an attorney abroad, see our section on Retaining a Foreign Attorney.
Visa Classification: The type of nonimmigrant visa you are applying for.
Please check back for update.
Available. Birth certificates may be obtained from the Department of Civil Registration, Office of the President, P.O. Box 49179, Nairobi. When a birth has not been registered, application may be made to the Registrar General for late registration of birth. If that office is satisfied with the evidence presented, late registration will be authorized and an official birth certificate can be obtained. There may be a fee for this service.
Available, with certain limitations. Death certificates may be obtained from Registrar General, State Law Office, Harambee Avenue,PO Box 30031, Nairobi. Telephone 227461.There may be a fee for this service.
Available. Marriage certificate may be obtained from the Department of the Registrar General, P.O. Box 30031, Nairobi. Only marriages performed under the Marriage Ordinance are registered. There is a fee for this service.
Available. Certified copies of decrees absolute may be obtained from the Registrar, The Law Courts, P.O. Box 30041, Nairobi. There may be a fee for this service.
Please check back for update.
Please check back for update.
To obtain a Certificate of Good Conduct, applicants residing in other countries must send a complete set of rolled and plain fingerprints together with a written request to the Criminal Investigations Department, P.O. Box 30036, Nairobi. Fingerprints should be taken by a local police official and bear an official stamp, or be taken before an attorney and certified. The official should also verify the identity of the individual being fingerprinted by noting the details of the identification document. Fee is 1,000 Kenyan Shillings per application plus return postage, with results available in 4-6 weeks. The fee may also be paid at Kenyan Embassies or Consulates abroad. Applicants in Kenya should apply in person at CID Headquarters in Nairobi. Appropriately registered aliens or refugees that have registered with the Kenyan Commission of Refugees and UNHCR may be issued Certificates of Good Conduct. Undocumented aliens in Kenya are not eligible for a Police Certificate. For more information visit: http://www.kenyapolice.go.ke/Good_conduct.asp
Available. Prison records can be obtained from the prison where the applicant was incarcerated. A written request should be addressed with details of the individual's full name, nationality, prison where incarcerated and period imprisoned to the Commissioner of Prisons, P.O. Box 30175, Nairobi.
Available. Applications should be addressed to the applicable branch of the Kenyan armed services. Inquiries should include the service number of the individual and the period employed:
Please check back for update.
United Nations Avenue,
APO AE 09831-8900
International Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 30137
After hours emergencies: 254-2-363-6170
All visa categories for all of Kenya and immigration visa applications for: