Kenya to grant visas on arrival after online system hacked

Thursday July 27 2023
mr mutua

Kenya Cabinet Secretary for Foreign & Diaspora Affairs Alfred Mutua. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NMG


Kenya on Thursday said it would grant visas on arrival for all travellers, after an online application platform collapsed making most government services inaccessible.

The incident on the e-citizen portal, which provides more than 5,000 government services including e-visas, was said to be a result of hacking although officials said no data had been lost.

Read: Chinese hackers attacked Kenya State agencies

A note verbale sent to foreign missions and international organisations on Thursday said the government will be accepting visas on arrival in the meantime as the platform is rectified.

“There is currently a challenge in the Government e-citizen platform,” said the letter from the Foreign and Diaspora Affairs Ministry on Thursday.

“Therefore, travellers will be issued visa upon arrival at all entry points in Kenya. The government also wishes to advise all airlines to on-board travellers destined to Kenya,” it said.


The e-visa application often accepts applications, but which must be submitted with relevant documentations to validate admittance.

Visas on arrival for everyone could now mean congestion at border clearance desks at the airport as each applicant will now be assessed at the same time.

"The government had earlier explained that the downtime being experienced on the eCitizen portal has been caused by hackers attempting to jam the portal through an overload of data requests," ICT Cabinet Secretary Eliud Owalo admitted.

Read: Kenya denies claims of being hacked by China

A group calling itself Anonymous Sudan claimed responsibility, arguing they were doing so in protest against Kenya’s alleged interference in Sudan’s internal affairs.

It said it had also targeted mobile money transfer platforms, e-banking systems and other electronic services like that of utility firm, Kenya Power. Kenya Power and some banks did alert customers of a downtime in the system but did not clarify any hacking.

“There was a cyber-attack on the eCitizen platform but no data was accessed or lost. We are addressing that, and we are not just coming up with instant remedial measures to address the current situation but are also ensuring that we build an elaborate risk mitigation framework,” said the CS on Spice FM.

“In this instance, they tried jamming the system by making more requests into the system than ordinary, which led to the slowing down of the system.”