Work Visa Requirements in Kenya

The Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government through the Directorate of Immigration and Registration of Persons is responsible for registration of persons,maintenance of an inclusive persons register, management of migration, border control and refugees’ welfare supervision. 

The categories of Visas issued include:

  1. Ordinary Visa: Issued for Single or Multiple entries to persons whose nationalities require visas to enter Kenya. 
  1. Transit Visa: Issued for periods not exceeding 3 days to persons whose nationalities require visas to enter Kenya and who intend to transit through Kenya to a different destination. 
  1. Diplomatic Visa: Issued for Single or Multiple entries to holders of Diplomatic passports who are on official duty.
  1. Courtesy/ Official Visa: Issued to persons holding Official or Service passports on Official duty and to Ordinary passport holders who are not entitled to Diplomatic visa; but where it is considered by the Director to be desirable on the grounds of international courtesy.
  1. East Africa Tourist Visa: This is a joint tourist visa that entitles holders to travel to and within the Republics of Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania, for the purpose of tourism.The validity of East Africa Tourist Visa is 90 days.

Work/Residence Permits on the other hand are issued to any Non-Kenyan wishing to engage in employment in Kenya whether in gainful employment or voluntary service. They are issued under Kenya Citizenship and Immigration Act, 2011 of the Laws of Kenya. 

The different class of Work Permits as listed below will depend on the specific circumstances of the applicant:

  1. Class A: Prospecting and Mining
  2. Class B: Agriculture and Animal Husbandry
  3. Class C: Prescribed Profession
  4. Class D: Employment
  5. Class F: Specific Manufacturing
  6. Class G: Specific trade, business or Consultancy
  7. Class I : Approved religious or Charitable activities
  8. Class K: Ordinary residents
  9. Class M: Refugees

The Director issues Work/Residence permits upon the recommendation of the Permit Determination Committee, an inter-ministerial Committee appointed by the Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government under section 40(1) of the Kenya Citizenship and Immigration Act, 2011.

Any person aggrieved by the decision of the Director regarding work/residence permit applications, may appeal to the Cabinet Secretary, for review of the decision (section 22(1) of Kenya Citizens and Foreign Nationals Management Service Act, 2011).

All work permits are generally valid for 2 years, with renewals permitted for an extra 2 years at a time. The number of renewals is unlimited. Renewals need to be done at least 3 months prior to expiry.

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