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Tanzania and Kenya Visa Problem

Sep 26, 2015
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We are US Americans living in Hungary, where it is impossible to find a travel agent so that is a non-starter.
We applied online for the Tanzania Transit Visa because we will have a lay-over of a few hours before going on to Kenya. My application was approved in about 4 days, two weeks later, my spouse received a rejection letter. Writing to the email shown in the rejection letter has been pointless; there has not been a response. We thought of trying to get his Visa at the airport, but we are concerned the rejection will show in the system with me passing through and he left stranded. Strangely, we have been to Tanzania for a month about three years ago without an issue.

We are willing to change our tickets to bypass Tanzania, but it will cost over $600 to do so. If we have to, we will suck it up.

The second issue is the Kenya E-Visa. I have tried applying a dozen times from different browsers, but the end result is "Your credit card has not been approved" each and every time. I have tried 3 different cards from 3 different banks, but the same result. My banks all state there was never an attempt made by the Kenya Visa office.

Again, I have written a dozen emails to various "support" people and the Kenya Embassy in Washington. One person forwarded my note to the IT department. Someone from there wrote "Check with your bank" ignoring that I had. After Googling, I see there are many complaints about the same issue. My question is whether we can get a Visa at Nairobi airport? We were in Kenya the same year as Tanzania and I am certain back then we did not get an E-Visa.

Any ideas?
 

Neil Maley

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We got our Tanzanian Visa right at the border when we went into Tanzania. It took about an hour but that’s where we got ours. But I don’t know I’d recommend it if your husbands Visa app was rejected. What was different between what you reported on your apps?

According to the State Department website, you can get the Kenyan Visa at the airport:

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.

  • A passport with at least two blank pages, six months’ validity, and a visa are required to enter Kenya.
  • Single-entry visas are available online and upon arrival at Kenyan airports; however, Kenyan Immigration plans to end visas upon arrival in the future.
  • Multiple-entry visas must be applied for prior to traveling to Kenya.
  • Obtain the latest information on visas, as well as any additional details regarding entry requirements, from the Embassy of Kenya, 2249 R Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20008, telephone (202) 387-6101, or the Kenyan Consulates General in Los Angeles and New York City.
  • You should have proof of yellow fever immunizations, or you may be denied entry.
  • In December 2018, the Kenyan government announced a new work permit program that requires foreigners to apply for permits and visas from their country of origin. It is recommended that work permit applications be submitted 6-8 weeks prior to travel. People already in Kenya working on a permit should submit renewal applications at last 90 days before the permit expires.
You might want to contact your US Congressional representative in Washington and tell them you are having trouble getting the Visa- they may be able to help.
 
Feb 3, 2019
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Writing to the email shown in the rejection letter has been pointless; there has not been a response. We thought of trying to get his Visa at the airport, but we are concerned the rejection will show in the system with me passing through and he left stranded. Strangely, we have been to Tanzania for a month about three years ago without an issue
Is there any chance anything that may have happened on your last trip affected your husband's eligibility for a visa?

Did he meet all the requirements as states on the Tanzanian immigration website?

Did he complete his application fully and correctly?

There are a multitude of reasons his visa may have been refused, but unless Tanzanian immigration provided an explanation, it's impossible for anyone else to know why.

Unless you can get some clarity and he receives a visa ahead of time, I would pay the $600 to reroute now - because it's going to cost a lot more to reroute if he's denied entry to Tanzania (or boarding in the first place!) on the day of travel.
 
Sep 26, 2015
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Just an update. The applications were identical other than names, passport, etc. We did not have any issues on our last visit to cause a problem for a return Visa, but without being able to get any feedback after a dozen e-mails to Tanzanian officials, we did bite the bullet and rerouted to what turned out to be a better flight anyway. The new one is direct. I am not sure how that was missed the first time around, but it worked out.
Thanks for the feedback.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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Just an update. The applications were identical other than names, passport, etc. We did not have any issues on our last visit to cause a problem for a return Visa, but without being able to get any feedback after a dozen e-mails to Tanzanian officials, we did bite the bullet and rerouted to what turned out to be a better flight anyway. The new one is direct. I am not sure how that was missed the first time around, but it worked out.
Thanks for the feedback.
My suspicion is that there was nothing wrong with your spouse's application but that there was some other information that was input incorrectly and that caused your spouse to be rejected -- for instance, someone was on a no enter list and the passport number was input with a typo and that caused the computer to just reject your spouse.

This is of course just wild conjecture but I am basing it on my own experience. Years ago before I had Global Entry I was returning to the US, and was at the desk where the Immigration agent swiped my passport. He then said "huh" (never a good sign) and looked at me, looked at my passport, looked at his screen and repeated that process for a few minutes. He then asks me "How tall are you?" and I answered "5 '5" on a big hair day" (otherwise 5"4 3/4" but I have been known to round up) -- and he said "Well this is clearly not about you" and did some typing into the system -- and then said "Welcome back"...... So there was an alert about someone either significantly taller/shorter and there was a typo with passport number and it cross-referenced mine. It often takes human intervention -- which may have happened if applying for a transit visa the old fashioned way and not just the online way. And I only had problem returning to the US -- not exited Europe so it was a country specific issue.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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Just an update. The applications were identical other than names, passport, etc. We did not have any issues on our last visit to cause a problem for a return Visa, but without being able to get any feedback after a dozen e-mails to Tanzanian officials, we did bite the bullet and rerouted to what turned out to be a better flight anyway. The new one is direct. I am not sure how that was missed the first time around, but it worked out.
Thanks for the feedback.
Very happy to read that you were pro-active here. Just a thought for the future ... can you access a TA like American Express from Hungary? Seems a shame to be dependent on officials who may or may not bother to respond to inquiries.
 
Jan 7, 2015
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It won't help a person living in Hungary, of course, but I have used a Visa service in the United States for all my visa needs. It has saved me infinite amounts of grief, and on a multi-country trip, has been extremely efficient, because the service can process all of the visas in serial order from Washington, New York, California or Chicago far faster than sending the passport, waiting for a reply and then sending it on to the next country/countries. There is a cost, of course, but nothing compared to the cost of having a trip ruined because of visa problems. Most of these services will also process passport applications.
 
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jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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wbeeman, this is SO TRUE! "There is a cost, of course, but nothing compared to the cost of having a trip ruined because of visa problems."

People seem to respond to "cheap, cheap, cheap". Really? $285 for a visa service vs $17K you're spending on a trip to China? You'd jeopardize the whole trip for a hundred bucks? And you wouldn't know about it until you tried to check in for your flight? It's fine to economize whenever you can, especially with travel. But there are some lines you should not cross, and the cost of a service for something you may or may not do right is a very small percentage of your trip.
 
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Neil Maley

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Dec 27, 2014
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www.promalvacations.com
wbeeman, this is SO TRUE! "There is a cost, of course, but nothing compared to the cost of having a trip ruined because of visa problems."

People seem to respond to "cheap, cheap, cheap". Really? $285 for a visa service vs $17K you're spending on a trip to China? You'd jeopardize the whole trip for a hundred bucks? And you wouldn't know about it until you tried to check in for your flight? It's fine to economize whenever you can, especially with travel. But there are some lines you should not cross, and the cost of a service for something you may or may not do right is a very small percentage of your trip.
We used a Visa service for our visas to China (the most well known company that does this). Never again. We sent them and paid three months before we were to travel, they didn’t start the process until a month before, they made an error and had to start the process all over again. We received our passports back 2 days before our trip. Our friends went directly to the Embassy in NY, brought their paperwork in, dropped it and picked it up a week later at a fraction of what we paid.
 
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Apr 1, 2018
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Did you check to see if your credit card company was rejecting the payment of the second charge?
 
Feb 3, 2019
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But there are some lines you should not cross, and the cost of a service for something you may or may not do right is a very small percentage of your trip.
You're assuming the visa service is going to handle your application properly, though. As Neil recounted, using a service actually means you are completely dependent on someone else to handle it properly. If they make a mistake, provide incorrect information, or just sit on your file for months, you have little recourse. Once you've handed over your passport to a third party, you've ceded control of the process.

This may make sense for travelers who are unfamiliar with visa application processes, or otherwise don't feel comfortable handling things themselves. But to suggest everyone should use a visa service by default is to imply that is always the best choice, and that simply isn't the case.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
21,109
20,969
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
You're assuming the visa service is going to handle your application properly, though. As Neil recounted, using a service actually means you are completely dependent on someone else to handle it properly. If they make a mistake, provide incorrect information, or just sit on your file for months, you have little recourse. Once you've handed over your passport to a third party, you've ceded control of the process.

This may make sense for travelers who are unfamiliar with visa application processes, or otherwise don't feel comfortable handling things themselves. But to suggest everyone should use a visa service by default is to imply that is always the best choice, and that simply isn't the case.
We only used it because China is a difficult country to deal with and thought we wouldn’t have an issue using this particular company. We were very disappointed and stressed by not having the passports until two days before we left. If they had processed it when we first sent it this wouldn’t have been as stressful as it was but we were told they process them closer to the travel date, not when the app. was received and we happened to get a clerk who wasn’t meticulous when she processed the paperwork. It was nearly $500 for two passports. We are lucky we live just outside NYC where we have access to many embassies and will do it ourself if we need to apply for any future Visas. But not everyone can do this. If you absolutely must use one of these companies- do it early and hope you get a competent clerk filling out the paperwork.
 
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