Traveling in the COVID landscape means that entry into international destinations has become more complex. We understand how confusing this can be, especially if you are traveling to a long-haul destination like Kenya, which often requires multiple layovers. We have mapped out a step-by-step process to alleviate some of the stress of travel from North America to Kenya, which is particularly complex, as Kenya is requiring a PCR test 96 hours prior to ARRIVAL. This is a unique requirement as the majority of destinations require your PCR test to be conducted within a certain time frame based on your departure, not your arrival.
When do you need to take your PCR test for Kenya?
This can be tricky to calculate and does have to be exact. Start by looking at the arrival time at your final destination, in Kenya, that is on your airline ticket. Make sure the arrival day you are using is correct. You lose a day if you are coming from North America, so do not assume you arrive on the same day you depart, especially if you see a (+1) next to your arrival time!
Based on the time you arrive, use an online time zone calculator to confirm the time in your departure location. Here is a great website that will convert the day and time for you.
For example, if you arrive in Nairobi on November 16th at 10:00 PM EAT, that would be November 16, 2:00 PM EST in New York City. We discourage you from trying to do this calculation by hand. It is best to use a time zone calculator online, which incorporates things like daylight savings time into its calculations.
Currently, the regulation in Kenya is to have a negative PCR test conducted 96 hours prior to ARRIVAL (click here for updates provided by the U.S. Embassy in Kenya). You then want to use the time you arrive in your departure location, November 16th, 2:00 PM EST in New York City, and subtract 96 hours from that day/time. In this example, you would need to have your PCR test conducted no earlier than November 12th at 2:00 PM EST.
Where to schedule your PCR appointment?
It is wise to schedule an appointment for your PCR test and to use a testing location that allows for expedited results. Do not confuse expedited results with a rapid antigen test. A rapid antigen is not the same as a PCR test which is what most countries require for entry. This requirement may change and is contingent on Kenya’s local regulations so keep abreast of these details.
We recommend that you pay to have your COVID PCR test results expedited so that you have your test results before you depart the United States as some airlines also require a negative PCR test to board. Some countries, like Kenya, also may require you to upload your PCR test results to their Ministry of Health’s online portal or in a surveillance form for visitors, before you arrive.
Here are some national testing locations that allow for expedited results.
- SameDay Health – https://www.sameday-testing.com/
- Curative – https://curative.com/
- Passport Health – https://www.passporthealthusa.com/covid-19-testing/
- DM COVID-19 – https://dmcovid19test.com/
I got my results, now what?
Let’s assume you are negative. Yay, your trip is on! When the results are provided, you will need to do the following:
- International Traveler Health Surveillance Form – You will need to fill this out 24 hours in advance of your travel and present the QR code you receive to Port Health Officials upon your arrival. We recommend taking a screenshot of the QR code and printing it, if possible
- Trusted Travel Alliance – This is an online portal where you need to upload your COVID PCR test results to be verified prior to your arrival in Kenya. You will receive a QR code that you will have to show Port Health Officials upon your arrival into Kenya.
- Print a copy of your negative results and the QR codes provided.
- Take a screenshot of those QR codes and save it on your mobile device as the internet and cell service is not always available in airports.
- Send a copy to your travel consultant so they can be of assistance if need be.
Other essential COVID documents
As a reminder, the negative COVID test is just one piece in your process to enter a country. We recommend you carry printed copies, and leave a copy at home, of the following documents for your upcoming trip to Kenya.
- eVisa PDF
- International Flight Itinerary
- Emergency Contact List of where you will be staying and the appropriate phone numbers and addresses.
- Travel Insurance Card & Policy Information
- COVID vaccine card and photocopy
- Negative PCR test results for entry to Kenya
- QR Code from International Traveler Health Surveillance Form
- QR Code from Trusted Travel Alliance