How to Get a Work Visa in Kenya

According to, Kenya is one of East Africa's largest and most dynamic countries. Before moving to Kenya, it is important to completely understand the visa and permit process. Internations advises that you should try to obtain the appropriate work visa well in advance of your arrival in the country. This article will address the steps you need to take in order to get a work visa in Kenya.

Visa requirements to work in Kenya

For all types of visas, applicants need to have a valid passport with a blank page for the official Kenyan visa stamp. Applicants who are nationals of either Tanzania or Uganda do not need to obtain visas to work in Kenya. These individuals can obtain a visitor pass when they arrive at the airport immigration counter. However, if an applicant is a citizen of Afghanistan or Iraq, it is necessary to apply for a Kenyan visa. Personal references are needed in that situation as well. According to, individuals should be aware that the countries on either listing change frequently. Since that is the case, applicants are encouraged to visit the nearest Ministry of Foreign Affairs & International Trade office of the Kenyan Republic. When visiting a Ministry office or checking their website online, you can then ascertain whether or not you will need to obtain a visitor pass or if you will also need references.

Kenyan work and resident permits

For those individuals who will be working in Kenya for a term of longer than three months, a work visa and residence permit must be obtained beforehand. The permit then becomes a part of your visa application. advises that there are several classes of permits, all depending on the reason for coming to Kenya. Short-term assignees and international students are also permitted to receive special work visas. The following is a listing of some of the work permit options. However, applicants can visit the Kenyan Ministry of Foreign Affairs website for more details on the visa application process. The Ministry revised the Citizenship and Immigration Regulations during the summer of 2012.

Class D visa

This option is for applicants who have already confirmed definite employment from an explicit employer in Kenya. Applicants applying for this type of visa are in the following categories: intra-company transfers, foreign assignees, employees from abroad and humanitarian workers. Such workers are usually employed by an officially recognized NGO (non-governmental organization) or an IGO (international government organization). advises that according to the previous regulations, such expats “used to need a class A and a class C permit.”

Class I visa

This visa is formerly known as the “Class E”. Applicants obtaining this type of visa are foreign missionaries who want to work in Kenya.

Class K visa

For independent and wealthy foreigners who decide to move to Kenya, they will need to obtain this type of visa. These applicants must provide proof of sufficient income.

Other permits

In regard to foreign investors who wish to work as investors in Kenya in the following fields—business, agriculture and manufacturing—they need to apply for other types of permits. These visas are one of the following: A, B, F, or G.

Remember, that regardless of the work visa or permit you want to obtain, it is suggested that you contact the Kenyan Ministry of Foreign Affairs office; especially since immigration requirements frequently change.

Registration upon arrival

For those applicants who arrive in Kenya with a valid visa, they will still need to register with the Kenyan Immigration Department or even with the local Police Department within the first three months of arrival. advises that this registration rule applies to any foreign resident who is older than 18 years old and has plans to reside in Kenya for a term of more than 90 days. The following documentation is needed to proceed with the registration process upon your arrival in Kenya.

  • Valid travel documentation
  • Current passport photos
  • Fingerprints will be taken
  • Need to pay a registration fee

When applying for a Kenyan work visa, there are various steps that applicants need to take as described in this article. Kenya has two lists of countries—one for nationals who do not need to apply for visas and the other for applicants who will also need to apply with references. There are various classes of work visas and permits. Once applicants arrive in Kenya with a valid visa, they also need to complete the registration process.  


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