US-Kenya travel during COVID-19 times; what you should know before traveling


Out of the 14,049 international arrivals in Kenya from August 1 to September 1, the US had the highest number with 2,768 travellers.

This is a clear indication that the US-Kenya route remains a prime destination in times of COVID-19 which disrupted international travel in the past few months.

Due to the transmission nature of the novel coronavirus, both Kenya and the US have adopted elaborate measures to prevent and contain further spread of the virus that has so far killed 936,000 people across the world.

If you are travelling from the US to Kenya, you are not subjected to a mandatory 14-day quarantine unless you are from California, Florida and Texas which have been flagged as high-risk areas. Any passenger from these three regions will have to undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine.

Also, passengers within two rows of their seat could be required to quarantine if one of them is symptomatic.

For the rest of US travellers, they are required to take a PCR-based COVID-19 test 96 hours before arrival to Kenya and have a certificate/paper result issued to this effect. Passenger Locator Cards (PLC) are issued during the flight or at the airport terminal with its intent being simplifying contact tracing in case one of the passengers is symptomatic.

Further, arriving US passengers are allowed into Kenya only if their body temperature is not above 37.5°C (99.5°F) and have no persistent coughs, difficulties in breathing or exhibit any flu-like symptoms.

Upon arrival, the passenger is required to fill in the Port Health form at the airport, which can also be accessed through the Jitenge MoH Kenya app. The details provided makes it easier for the State to make contact in case of an emergency.

The US Embassy in Nairobi has since advised her citizens to enrol in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), at to get important information from the Embassy about health conditions, safety alerts, and travel updates and contact trace you in case of an emergency.

For travellers leaving Kenya for the US, they need to produce a COVID-19 negative certificate at the arrival airport. They must also take a PCR-based COVID-19 test at least 90 hours before arrival.

Screening for body temperature is mandatory across American airports and you will be required to wear your facemask all through while at the airport.

KQ is scheduled to resume NY-Nairobi direct flights in October.

Other flights plying other routes from Nairobi to the US include Emirates, Ethiopian, Turkish, and Lufthansa.

A Jamhuri News Exclusive Report: By Pharis Kinyua, a Jamhuri News journalist based in Nairobi, Kenya.