September 25, 2023
Work Visa for Kenya
The Kenya Work Visa is a type of visa serving as a work permit. Once you have obtained the visa, you can take up paid employment abroad. Keep in mind that contrary to the Kenya Tourist Visa, which can be easily obtained online, the Work Visa is only available at the Kenyan diplomatic missions.
In the past, you could apply online for the Keyan Work Permit. However, the Kenyan Government decided to make it more difficult for foreign nationals to obtain work visas. Apart from introducing stricter visa requirements, the Immigration Department also limited the number of issued permits.
The national authorities of Kenya emphasize hiring locals over foreigners. Therefore, the bigger impact your employment will have on the economy of Kenya, the higher your chances of receiving a visa approval letter. The final decision may also depend on your country of origin.
It is essential to remember that the Citizenship and Immigration Act of Kenya renders it illegal for a foreign national to take up employment in Kenya without a valid work permit. If they do not obey this policy, they may face an expensive fine and immediate deportation.
Who needs a Kenya Work Permit?
The Work Visa for Kenya can be issued for every foreign visitor who would like to temporarily work and reside on the Kenyan territory. It is also available for those who volunteer for charity events.
Employers usually submit these applications on behalf of their employees and partners, but you can also apply for the Kenyan Work Visa yourself at the nearest Kenyan Department of Immigration. The procedure must be conducted in person. Keep in mind that the standard processing time for the work permit is up to six months, so file the application prior to the journey.
How to apply for a Kenya Work Permit?
If you plan on applying for the Kenyan Work Visa yourself, you must schedule an appointment at the Kenyan Department of Immigration. It is highly recommended to contact the office beforehand and check the current visa requirements. If you have all the mandatory documents on hand, the procedure should be problem-free.
The Kenyan Work Visa application process consists of a few essential steps:
- Complete the application form with the required information – provide personal data
- Prepare the mandatory documentation – it may vary depending on the selected visa type
- Make the visa application fee payment – every form submitted for processing must be paid
Once you have completed the registration for a Kenyan Work Visa, the Department of Immigration shall present your application to a committee for approval. The processing may take from two to six months (depending on the number of processed applications). Therefore, it is highly recommended to apply for a visa early. You will be notified whether your visa is approved or rejected.
Moreover, every foreign visitor residing in Kenya for more than three months must obtain an alien registration card from the Immigration Department. It is similar to a permanent residence permit.
What are the available types of Kenya Work Visas?
Depending on the activities you plan to pursue abroad, you should complete a suitable visa application form. The following visa types allow eligible travelers to work in Kenya, but they are all designed to serve slightly different purposes.
Kenyan Work Visa – Type A
The Work Visa for Kenya can be issued for foreign citizens engaged in prospecting for minerals or mining. It allows you to stay in the country long-term.
Kenyan Work Visa – Type B
The Kenyan Work Visa was created for individuals investing in agriculture or animal husbandry. Once you have a valid visa, you can temporarily work and reside in Kenya.
Kenyan Work Visa – Type C
The Kenyan Work Visa is a long-term visa that may be obtained by “prescribed professionals” who are going to practice alone or in a partnership. According to the Government of Kenya, this visa was created for lawyers, engineers, accountants, architects, and medical professionals.
Kenyan Work Visa – Type D
The Work Visa for Kenya is meant for foreigners offered employment with the Kenyan employer, the Kenyan government, the United Nations, or another approved agency. While applying for this visa, you must possess skills and qualifications proven by professional certificates. It also includes humanitarian workers with an approved NGO.
Kenyan Work Visa – Type F
The Work Visa for Kenya is available for foreign visitors planning to engage in specific manufacturing activities. Once approved, it allows taking up employment long-term.
Kenyan Work Visa – Type G
The Kenyan Work Visa is issued for every visitor wishing to engage in professions related to trade, business, or consultation. This visa type permits entrepreneurs to invest in or start a new company.
Kenyan Work Visa – Type I
The Kenyan Work Visa was created for individuals undertaking religious or charitable activities. In the past, it used to be called the “Type E Visa”. This visa is reserved for foreign missionaries in Kenya.
Kenyan Work Visa – Type K
The Work Visa for Kenya was designed for residents older than 35 years with sufficient capital held from sources other than employment. This specific visa type may be obtained by wealthy applicants with an independent annual income. Sometimes it is called a “visa for ordinary residents” as well.
Kenyan Work Visa – Type M
The Kenyan Work Visa can be issued for those granted refugee status in the country.
What documents are required for the Kenyan Work Visa?
There is a set of documents required for a successful Kenyan Work Visa application. Different documentation should be prepared by the applicant, and other files must be issued by the employer.
Documents required from the employer
- Completed and signed visa application form (if applicable)
- Signed cover letter
Documents required from the employee
- Completed and signed visa application form (if applicable)
- Valid passport with at least two blank pages, effective for at least 6 months
- Two copies of formal, biometric passport photographs
- Travel itinerary describing the planned trip
Depending on the selected Work Visa type, it may be necessary to gather some additional documents. Further information on visa requirements should be provided by the Kenyan Department of Immigration. Supporting documentation may include:
- Signed invitation letter from the future employer
- Personal and company PIN (Personal Identification Number)
- Method of online payment for the visa fees
How long does the Kenyan Work Permit remain valid?
The validity period of the Kenyan Work Visa will vary depending on the specific visa type you have applied for and the activities you would like to pursue abroad. On average, the work permit for Kenya is issued for up to 2 years with the possibility of a visa extension.
The validity period of your Work Visa for Kenya will be provided in the approval notice and on the visa.