Kenya’s ambassador to France, Prof. Judi Wakhungu, deleted the controversial public notice from her social media pages amid an outcry from Kenyans.
A newly introduced Visa requirement is set to complicate the travel plans of countless Kenyans in addition to affecting the bottomlines of various carriers. A public notice shared by Kenya’s ambasaddor to France, Prof. Judi Wakhungu, on Tuesday, June 21 informed Kenyan citizens entering Schengen territory on transit that they would be required to apply for a Transit Schengen visa before leaving Kenya.
As most European countries are in the Schengen territory, Kenyans planning trips to various destinations with connecting flights in Europe will have to reorganize their travel plans.
The 26 countries that make up the Schengen territory are Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.
The new restriction means that, for example, a Kenyan travelling to Asia, the UK, or elsewhere with a connecting flight through Amsterdam or Paris, for instance, will have to apply for a Transit Schengen visa before leaving Kenya.
Airlines with connecting flights through Europe are likely to be affected as travellers seek out alternatives.
Gulf carriers, whose transit stops are often in their Middle East hubs, are expected to be among the winners as a result of the directive.
“Any Kenyan who enters the Schengen territory in order to change their means of transport (air/sea) must apply for Transit Schengen Visa (i.e Airport Transit Schengen Visa or Transit Schengen Visa for Seafarers) before leaving Kenya,” the notice from Wakhungu read in part.
Specific groups of Kenyans will, however, be exempt from the requirement. You may be exempt if you;
1. Hold a diplomatic passport
2. Are a family member of a citizen of the EU, EEA or Switzerland
3. Hold a valid visa issued by a Schengen state, a member state of the European Union or the European Economic Area, Canada, Japan or the United States
4. Hold a valid resident permit issued by a Schengen state, a Member State of the European Union or the European Economic Area, the Principality of Andorra, Canada, Japan, Republic of San Marino or the United States
5. Are a flight crew member national of a contracting party to the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation