Obtaining visas for Kenya

Regardless of whether one is travelling to Kenya on holiday or looking to relocate for the long-term, most foreign nationals will require a visa to enter Kenya. The type of visa depends on an individual’s motivation for being in the country and the length of their stay.

Expats moving to Kenya to take up a job offer are likely to receive some assistance from their employer when it comes to arranging their visa.

There are a select few countries allowed visa-free entry into Kenya. Most foreigners however, will need to apply for a visa beforehand.

Depending on nationality, some may be able to obtain a visa on arrival while others will be required to obtain the visa prior to travelling to Kenya. While it is possible to submit a tourist visa application at a Kenyan diplomatic mission in one’s home country, this tends to be a long process. By far the easiest way of obtaining a tourist visa is through the online eVisa system at least seven days before travelling to Kenya.

Tourist visas are granted for a three-month period from the date of entry, after which they can be extended once for a further three months.

Any non-Kenyan wishing to remain in the country for longer than a six-month period must obtain what is known as a Work/Residence Permit before arriving in Kenya. There are various classes of such permits to suit each individual's motives for settling in Kenya, covering everyone from short-term assignees to retirees.

The list of documents required differs according to specific class of visa an expat applies for. Requirements also change regularly so expats should consult official government sources.

Expats moving to Kenya for work will often find that their employer will cover the cost of the visa application and assist in providing the necessary documentation.

The most common type of work permits for Kenya are as follows:

 

  • Class D
    This permit covers those who are moving to Kenya to do a specific job for a single employer including those relocating on an intra-company transfer and humanitarian workers employed by a recognised NGO.

    The employer will need to provide documentation to prove that the applicant has skills and qualifications that are not available in the local workforce and that this person can be of benefit to the Kenyan economy.

  • Class G
    Class G permits are issued to expats that are either looking to set up a business in Kenya or invest in a specific trade.

  • Class K
    This permit is for independently wealthy foreigners above the age of 35 who want to settle down in Kenya. To obtain a Class K permit, one needs to submit proof of adequate funds to support themselves while they remain in the country.
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