Kenya lies across the equator in east-central Africa. Its capital is Nairobi with a total country population of 44.35 million. The capital, Nairobi, is a regional commercial hub. The economy of Kenya is the largest by GDP in East and Central Africa. Kenya’s services sector, which contributes 61% of GDP, is dominated by tourism. Tourism is now Kenya’s largest foreign exchange earning sector, followed by flowers, tea, and coffee.


Tourist visa’s in Kenya are issued upon arrival to visa exempt passport holders and are valid for a period up to 90 days. Visa restricted passport holders would need to apply for their tourist visa at the relevant Kenyan mission in their country of origin or residence.

Nationals of East African Partner States holding valid passports and other acceptable travel documents may be issued with a visitor’s pass on arrival at a port of entry into Kenya valid for Six Months.

A Business visa in Kenya does not allow for work activities to be conducted. Attending conferences, seminars, training and meetings are the only form of activity allowed on this visa. The applicant can choose between a single or multiple entry visa which is valid for up to 90 days and cannot be extended.

Business visas to Kenya are to be applied for online via an electronic visa system before entering the country. Submission online is both for visa restricted as well as visa exempt passport holders. Once your application is submitted and approved, your approval letter will be sent to you via email allowing you to enter Kenya for business purposes. For visa, restricted passport holders, you may be required to submit a physical application at the nearest Kenyan embassy before the approval letter is sent to you.

Kenya has a ‘Special Pass’ which allows the applicant to conduct short term business activities for a period not exceeding 3 months. The applicant, on this pass, can temporarily conduct business, trade or profession in Kenya. This is often used as an interim work permit whilst the long term work permit is pending.

There are different types of longer term work permits namely, Class A to Class M. Work permits are differentiated between by means of activity and or the industry the applicant will be working in. Class D is the most popular work permit applied for in Kenya and is for person’s offered specific employment by a specific employer.

Class C permits are for prescribed professions such as lawyers, engineers, doctors, accountants and architects.

Class K permits are for person’s aged 35 and older who can prove an assured annual income of an amount prescribed by the Kenyan Immigration Law.

Work authorization is issued by the Department of Immigration Services. Work permits under 3 months do not require local residence. However, if the applicant will be working in Kenya for a period longer than 3 months he/she needs to apply for an ‘alien registration certificate’ which enables the applicant to legally reside in Kenya.

All applications for Kenyan work permits must first be applied for online, once approved, IBN will submit a physical application in Kenya. The application for the work permit will be submitted by our local provider because local authorities need to be approached. After approval of the Department of Immigration Services, the application for the alien registration certificate must also be submitted at Department of Immigration Services.

It is important to ensure that the work permit application is started as early as possible as requirements and procedures are likely to change at times and can affect the applicant’s work start date.

Application of work permits must be done and obtained prior to arriving in Kenya. Some of the requirements are:

Certified copies of your passport which must be valid for at least 6 months, your CV, highest degree/education certificate, passport photographs, Police Clearance Certificate, Medical Report, employment contract, motivational letter from the employer, operating/business license and company registration documents.

The holder of a work permit can include dependents on his/ her permit by making an application for dependents pass. Family members who are dependent on the applicant for their living and well-being like the spouse and children will be included as dependent pass holders on the main applicant’s passport. Life-partners and homosexual marriages are not recognized in Kenya; therefore, spousal dependents are only for heterosexuals.

Dependents will need to apply for re-entry passes that will be endorsed into their passport. The re-entry visas are issued to dependents to avoid obtaining visas every time they re-enter Kenya.

It should be noted that these family members shall not engage in any employment in Kenya.  The children must be under eighteen years of age and parents/grandparents must be one hundred percent dependent on the applicant. However, the main applicant must have sufficient income to support his or her dependent(s).

Dependents who will be attending school, at any level, including Kindergarten are required to obtain a School Pass. This pass can be applied for together with the applicant’s Dependent’s Pass if already registered with a school or added once the dependent has been registered with a school.

We provide a full range of immigration services for Kenya. With our professional and trusted network of partners, we have the pulse on policy issues and the practical reality, which governs immigration rules & regulations.

We will first do a consultation, on which visa or permit would be the correct one for you. We advise on the required documentation and compile the complete application on your behalf. We will help you save time gathering the required documents to finalize your application.

There is great advantage in having a reliable local representative who will submit the application in Kenya, and also collect the resulting documents for you.