Travel Humour : Haggling For Your Visa & Your Name Is What?

Travel is inherently laced with humourous moments. Some moments may not seem funny at first, but after the stress of the moment is gone, you can look back and laugh.


In 2014 I had the good fortune, at least in hindsight, to laugh a lot during my travels … today I’d like to look back at one such quick business trip Nairobi, Kenya.   Before I dig into this situation that still has me laughing, I have to say I cannot wait to go back to Kenya and spend more than 17 hours in this gorgeous country, that has some seriously tasty food … but anyway …


The entry visa on arrival into Kenya for American citizens is US$50, as I was flying to Kenya from China, via Thailand, I arrived with the visa-on-arrival fee in Kenyan Shillings, rather than U.S. Dollars … big mistake. As I went to pay for the visa the Government Official refused the Shillings and told me she would only accept U.S. Dollars or “maybe Euros.”


Following a brief back and forth conversation the Government Official, she asked me how much money I had in U.S. Dollars and I answered that I had a $20 bill. She looked me in the eyes, nodded, and said, “That’ll do”, then took my $20. Rather than a Single Entry Visa being placed in my passport, I was instead issued Transit Visa and waived me along.


As unusual as that exchange was, while obtaining a visa on arrival in Nairobi, it wasn’t until I had left the airport and opened my passport to the page with the visa that I realized exactly how funny this whole situation was … why you ask? Well let me tell you why …


On the first line of the visa it simply says “Name”, and according to my Kenyan visa my whole name is “Eric.” No last name, just Eric … of course that is only relevant if we ignore the fact that my name is Steven.


Below a photo of my visa from Kenya, one that caused a few questions upon arrival in Amsterdam, Argentina and back home in the United States.


Happy Flying!



a close up of a passport


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