In a further attempt to combat illegal foreigners, in August 2018, Interior CS Fred Matiang’i announced that all foreign nationals who intend to apply for a Work Permit are required to do so whilst outside of Kenya.

In light of the above, foreign nationals may no longer enter Kenya in terms of an Entry Visa/Stamp and then proceed to apply for a Work Permit, as the immigration officials at the airports have been instructed to arrest or send individuals back home who advise that they are waiting for their work documents.

As can well be imagined, the new rule caused a lot of confusion and we decided to delve further into this by contacting the Directorate of Immigration Services directly, as well as having our local team in Kenya look into the matter and we are pleased to advise as follows:

  1. The rule applies to foreign nationals who only apply for Work Permits, i.e. no Special Pass.
  2. Special Pass applications can still be submitted whilst a foreign national is in Kenya.
  3. Foreign nationals who only apply for Work Permits have to await the eFNS approval notification in order to enter Kenya.
  4. Foreign nationals who require Entry Visas should ensure that they obtain same, as the Work Permit approval notification in itself will not suffice.

In conclusion, it is imperative for corporates who wish to send employees to Kenya in terms of a Work Permit (no prior Special Pass) to make sure that they commence with the immigration process timeously and we usually recommend a minimum of 3 months prior to the assignment start date.


by Andreas Krensel