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Visas for relocating to Kenya

Our article explains the Kenyan visa and work permit system to help you plan for your move abroad.

Visas are obligatory

If you wish to live in Kenya for three or more months, you will need a visa. You should apply to the Kenyan High Commission or embassy in your own country to request a visa. In 2016 the Kenyan government placed its visa and work permit service online; simplifying and speeding up the permit process. It is fine if you only want to enter the country as a tourist; long-term visas must still be applied for from the Kenyan Embassy or High Commission in your country before travel.

Foreign nationals must have an Alien Card showing that they have the right to live in Kenya, these are valid for two years. If you prefer to speak to someone and present your documents in person, head over to Nyayo House in Nairobi and ask for the immigration section.

All foreign nationals residing in Kenya for more than 90 days will have to register with the local police or the immigration department either in person or online, and you’ll have to pay a registration fee as well as have your fingerprints taken.

Working in Kenya

Anyone wishing to work in Kenya, including volunteers working for a non-governmental organisation (NGO), will have to apply for a work permit. There are 9 classifications of work permit, ranging from Class A to Class M, that you can apply for, and they cover both the self employed and the employed. If you’re thinking of prospecting for minerals, then Class A is the required work permit, if you’re a missionary you need a Class I document.

Class D is for those who have already gained employment with a company that has offices in Kenya and are on an inter-company transfer. Your company will have to prove that you possess unique skills and that the role can’t be carried out by a Kenyan citizen. This class of work permit is only valid for two years and a Kenyan citizen must be trained alongside the expat worker so that, in theory, they can take over the expat’s role when the two years is up.

You can also apply for work permits online, it’s a relatively simple matter of presenting the right documentation and paying the relevant fee.

From popular industries to NGOs, learn more about employment opportunities in Kenya.

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