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Social media posts in Kenya claim that new rules set by the European Union (EU) require Kenyans traveling to other countries via Europe to have Schengen transit visas. But this is misleading: the media misinterpreted a notice posted online by the Kenyan Embassy in France. The EU has clarified that travelers do not need visas as long as they stay in designated airport transit areas.
One of the posts where the claim was made was posted on TikTok on June 24, 2022 and has since been shared over 1,000 times.
The caption of the video reads: “New visa rules upend Kenyans’ travel plan.”
A voice in the video says that “a new visa requirement is meant to complicate the travel plans of countless Kenyans besides affecting the outcomes of various careers.”
The clip adds that a notice issued by Kenya’s Ambassador to France, Judy Wakhungu, on June 21, 2022, stated that citizens of the country traveling to non-EU destinations via Schengen cities such as Paris and Amsterdam would be required to apply for transit visas. .
Posts making the claim were also posted on Facebook (here and here).
The Schengen visa allows its holders to enter and travel freely in any of the 26 member countries of the EU. There are no border controls in the Schengen area.
The claim, however, is misleading.
No new visa rule
The confusion was sparked by a report in the Business Daily when it reported that Kenyans would have to pay more for new special transit visas when traveling through the EU.
But the Kenyan newspaper has since retracted the story, saying it was “inaccurate”.
“We have misinterpreted a notice issued by the Kenyan Embassy in France stating that travelers changing airports in transit must comply with European Union visa rules,” reads the retraction.
The notice in question has since been removed by the embassy, but not before Kenyans posted it on social media alongside similar misleading claims (here and here).
This prompted a clarification from the EU, saying travelers changing airports while transiting through the Schengen area would need a visa.
“You do not need a visa as long as you stay in the transit areas of the airport. However, if you have a combination ticket which requires you to leave the airport, you will need a visa. Schengen entry”, indicates the EU. clarification.
Wakhungu told AFP Fact Check that the embassy’s notice was simply meant as a reminder of visa rules for Kenyans at airports in the Schengen zone.
The price of a Schengen visa has not changed – adults pay 11,304 Kenyan shillings ($96) and children aged 6-12 exactly half. Children under 6 and holders of diplomatic passports are issued the visa free of charge.