A Work Permit in Kenya is a document issued to foreigners by the Director of Immigration Services in Kenya. The document enables these foreign nationals to freely enter Kenya and engage in trade, prospecting, farming, business, professional employment, missionary activities or even reside in Kenya.
A Work Permit or work visa grants permission to a foreigner; to take a job within a foreign country without any restriction. In Kenya, there are 9 (nine) classes of Work Permits. All foreign nationals who intend to work, reside or carry out business activities in Kenya can apply for a Work Permit under any of these classes depending on the appropriate category. Below is a summary of the different classes of work permits granted to foreign nationals in Kenya:
- WORK PERMIT IN CLASS A – PROSPECTING AND MINERS
This permit is issued to a person who intends to engage, whether alone or in partnership, in prospecting for minerals or mining in Kenya, and who has obtained, prospecting or mining right or license that may be necessary for the purpose, or whose engagement in the prospecting or mining will be of benefit to Kenya.
- WORK PERMIT IN CLASS B – AGRICULTURE AND ANIMAL HUSBANDRY (KEP/B)
This permit is issued to a person who intends to engage, whether alone or in partnership, in the business of agriculture or animal husbandry in Kenya, and who has acquired, or has received all permissions that may be necessary in order to acquire, an interest in land of sufficient size and suitability for the purpose in Kenya.
- CLASS C WORK PERMIT KENYA – PRESCRIBED PROFESSION (KEP/C)
This is one of the widely popular work permit category in Kenya. This permit is issued to a person who is a member of a prescribed profession who intends to practice that profession, whether alone or in partnership, in Kenya, and who possess the prescribed qualification, has in his/her own right and at his/her full and free disposition sufficient capital and other resources, is registered with the professional body, association or institute to which he/she belongs in his/her own country. The prescribed professions eligible for this Work Permit are: Medical profession, Dentists, Legal profession, Surveyors, Estate Agent, Valuer and Land Agent, Architects or Quantity surveyors, Pharmacists, Veterinary Surgeons, Engineers, Nursing Profession, Physiotherapists, Accountants, Chartered Secretaries, Actuaries, Scientist, Information and Communication Technology Experts.
- CLASS D WORK PERMIT KENYA (KEP/D)
This permit is issued to a person who is offered specific employment by a specific employer, the government of Kenya or any other person or authority under the control of the Government or an approved technical aid scheme under the United Nations Organization or some other approved Agency.
- WORK PERMIT IN CLASS F – Specific manufacturing (KEP/F)
This permit is issued to a person who intends to engage, whether alone or in partnership, in a specific manufacture in Kenya.
- CLASS K WORK PERMIT KENYA
Specific trade, business or consultancy (KEP/G): This permit is issued to a person who intends to engage, whether alone or in partnership, in a specific trade, business, consultancy or profession (other than a prescribed profession) in Kenya.
- CLASS I WORK PERMIT IN KENYA – Approved religious or charitable activities (KEP/I)
This permit is issued to a foreigner who is a member of an institution registered under the Society’s Act who is engaged as a missionary, member of a company limited by guarantee, member of a trust registered under the Trustees Act and is approved by the Government of Kenya, and whose presence in Kenya will be of benefit to Kenya.
- CLASS K WORK PERMIT KENYA – Ordinary residents (KEP/K)
This permit is issued to a person who is not less that thirty-five years of age, who has in his own right and at his full and free disposition an assured annual income of not less than USD 24,000 amount that is derived from sources other than any such employment, occupation, trade, business or profession as is referred to in the description of any of the other work permit classes.
- WORK PERMIT IN CLASS M: (REFUGEES (KEP/M):
This permit is issued to a person who has been granted refugee status in Kenya in accordance with the refugee law of Kenya and any spouse of such a refugee who intends to take up employment or engage in a specific occupation, trade, business or profession.
HOW CAN I GET WORK PERMIT IN KENYA?
Work permit in Kenya can be obtained a work by making an application at the Department of Immigration in Kenya and submitting the required documentation depending on the class of the work permit being applied for. The department then presents the application to a committee for approval. The application may or may not be approved and the Committee takes the following into consideration when deciding whether to approve or reject an application:
- The number of jobs that will be created for Kenyans, which is determined by the application letter submitted by the applicant’s agent.
- The amount of investment and its impact on Kenya’s economy, which is determined by the auditors’ report or bank statement.
- The nationality of the applicant. An applicant has a higher chance of approval of his application if his or her country of origin has a stronger economy’s than that of Kenya and low criminal statistics and security threats.
If the application is successful, the Ministry will issue a Notification of Approval and if it is rejected, a Notification of Rejection will be issued. This Notification of Approval is valid for ninety (90) days pending payment of the government fees.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO GET A WORK PERMIT IN KENYA?
Getting a Work Permit in Kenya typically takes two (2) to six (6) months from submission. This period includes the time frame within which the Committee receives the application from the Ministry of
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO GET A WORK PERMIT IN KENYA?
Work permits in Kenya costs around USD3000 (Three Thousand US Dollars) for a foreigner who is not a citizen of a member of the East African Community. A renewal fee cost an additional annual fee of USD2000 (Two Thousand US Dollars).
WHAT IS THE VALIDITY PERIOD OF A WORK PERMIT IN KENYA?
A work permit once approved by the Department of Immigration in Kenya, is valid for a period of two (2) years only.
CAN I TRAVEL TO KENYA WITHOUT A VISA?
Kenya has a pretty lenient visa policy. According to this policy, the citizens of about 43 countries can travel to Kenya without a visa. Should you be a citizen of any of these states, you would not require a Visa to travel to Kenya; since they are visa exempt, only a passport is necessary to enter the country. The citizens of Uganda and Rwanda, however, only require a valid ID card to travel to Kenya.
EAST AFRICAN WORK PERMIT IN KENYA
Nigerians need a Work Permit to work in Kenya. However, there are a number of East African Countries who are under the East African Community Common Market Protocol. Citizens of these countries do not need to pay any fees for a Work Permit. All they need to do is to submit their application to the Immigration office. Examples of such countries include the Republic of Burundi, Rwanda, the United Republic of Tanzania, and the Republic of Uganda.