Foreign nationals who wish to engage in paid employment in Kenya for more than six months need a work visa issued by the country’s Ministry of Immigration. This work permit allows a foreigner to legally work and live in the country. He/she can engage in gainful work or do voluntary service. Here’s what foreigners need to know about the Kenyan government’s work visa policy.
A Kenyan work visa is a legal permission granted by its government to foreigners who wish to work gainfully in the country for more than six months. The Kenyan government has prioritized certain sectors, companies, and businesses. Foreigners with relevant expertise in these sectors will have more job opportunities in the African nation.
A non-Kenyan citizen who wishes to lawfully stay and work in the country should have a Kenyan work permit. Kenyan companies who need foreign resources can apply for work visas on behalf of their employees. A Kenyan work visa is granted for a maximum period of two years and can be extended. The visa processing can take a few weeks, and applicants are encouraged to start the application process early.
The Kenyan government issues different types of work visas based on the industry and the kind of gainful activity a foreigner is planning to do in the country.
A Kenyan class A work permit is granted to foreigners who plan to engage in gainful activities in the mining and minerals industries. Applicants need to have all the required licenses and registration. Applicants must also check with the Kenyan Department of Mining about the documentation and licenses needed to get a visa.
This kind of Kenyan visa is issued to a foreign national who plans to invest or work in the agriculture or animal husbandry industries in the country. Applicants must submit proof of a lease/ownership of agricultural land in Kenya. They also need to submit a detailed plan of action and a visa fee of Kenyan shilling 10000.
A Kenyan class C visa is issued to foreigners who are in prescribed professions such as medicine, information and communication technology, architecture, engineering, and law. Foreign professionals should register formally in the professional body related to their profession in Kenya. Visa rules are subject to change. Kenyan visa applicants should consult with an embassy official before applying for the visa. This is the best way to know the visa category that they need to apply for.
This visa is granted to skilled foreign workers who will be employed under a single employer. Application for this visa type can be submitted only after receiving a job offer letter from a company registered in Kenya. This offer letter and an invitation letter from the company must be submitted along with the visa application. The applicant may also need to submit his/her academic and experience certificates.
This visa is granted to foreigners who wish to engage in specific manufacturing activities in Kenya.
A class G Kenyan visa, also known as an investor visa, is issued to foreign businessmen who wish to invest in Kenya. They can invest in a specific trade, start a new business, or consultancy services. The applicants must apply for the necessary trade and other licenses. They also should have the required capital and resources to start the business. Applicants for this visa must submit proof of enough funds to start a business while applying for the visa.
This visa type is granted to members of missionary societies approved by the government of Kenya. Foreigners arriving on this visa can participate in religious and charitable activities permitted by the government of the country.
This visa is a type of residency permit issued to foreigners who have an assured income to support themselves in the country without engaging in gainful employment in Kenya. Foreign applicants for this visa should be at least 35 years of age or older and should not have any paid work in Kenya. This visa type is also known as the ordinary resident’s permit, and applicants must have a monthly income of at least 24,000 USD to get it.
This visa is granted to foreign refugees, and applicants must provide recognition letters from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and a letter from the Kenyan Ministry of refugee affairs. Apart from these visas, the Kenyan government also offers dependent passes to foreign spouses, children, and relatives of a Kenyan citizen.
Applicants for a Kenyan visa must know that they need to apply for travel authorization that matches the purpose of their visit. The Kenyan immigration services grant specific visas for business, employment, investment, and residence. They should also apply for all the required certificates, licenses, and registrations to get a Kenyan visa.
To apply for the visa, applicants must log in to the official website of the Kenyan immigration department. The first step is the create an account. Note that the applicants can also make digital payments through this portal, and hence they should provide the correct information. After creating the account in the portal, they can start filling in their data in the online application form. Though the documents needed for a particular visa can vary, most applicants must submit the following papers:
All applicants must also pay the application fee for the visa.
Note that all the documents must be in English. The documents which are in other languages must be translated into English either by the embassy staff or a notary.
A work visa/permit is issued for a maximum period of two years. Application for the renewal of the existing permits must be submitted at least three months before the expiry of the existing permit. This will give authorities ample time to verify the document.
The Kenyan government grants only a limited number of work permits. Only foreign workers with the required licenses, registrations, and expertise can work in Kenya legally. A Kenyan visa does not guarantee entry to the country. Foreigners arriving in Kenya must go through immigration checks, and entry will be granted by the officials after verification of the documents.