Kenya Work Permits: Application Process Guide

Discover the essentials for navigating the work permits application process in Kenya with our comprehensive and step-by-step guide.

Kenya Work Permits: Step by Step Application Process Guide

Are you considering working or investing in Kenya? Understanding the work permits application process is crucial for foreigners planning to pursue career opportunities or start a business in this beautiful East African nation. Whether you’re attracted to the diverse landscapes, thriving industries, or vibrant culture, Kenya offers a wealth of opportunities for international professionals and entrepreneurs.

In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the step-by-step application process for work permits in Kenya. From the initial requirements to the final approval, we will provide you with the insights and knowledge to navigate the often complex and ever-changing immigration system.

Key Takeaways:

  • Obtaining a work permit is vital for foreigners looking to work or invest in Kenya.
  • Understanding the specific regulations and classifications of work permits is essential for determining the appropriate permit for your needs.
  • The work permits application process involves several steps, including gathering the necessary documentation and paying the required fees.
  • Entrepreneurs and investors interested in starting or operating a business in Kenya will need to follow additional requirements and guidelines.
  • By familiarizing yourself with the work permits application process, you can enhance your chances of a successful application and enjoy the benefits of living and working in Kenya.

Understanding the Different Classifications of Work Permits

When it comes to work permits in Kenya, there are various classifications that applicants need to be aware of. Each classification comes with its own criteria and conditions, making it crucial to understand the options available before proceeding with the application process. Let’s delve into the different categories and classes of work permits in Kenya:

1. Class A Work Permit:

The Class A work permit is designed for investors and entrepreneurs who wish to establish a business or invest in Kenya. This permit allows individuals to in mining and prospecting industries and is issued for a period of two years. Successful applicants must meet specific financial and economic requirements to qualify for this classification.

2. Class B Work Permit:

The Class B work permit is intended for foreigners who want to practise animal husbandry and agriculture. To be eligible for this classification, applicants must possess the necessary qualifications, skills, and expertise required in their field of work.

3. Class C Work Permit:

The Class C work permit is granted to individuals who are members of ascribed profession and they intend to practise it here in Kenya either alone or as a partnership It is valid for a period of two years and can be renewed upon meeting the necessary criteria.

4. Class D Work Permit:

The Class D work permit is intended for professionals and skilled workers who have secured employment in Kenya. It is issued for a period of two years and can be renewed upon expiring. To be eligible for this classification, applicants must possess the necessary qualifications, skills, and expertise required in their field of work.

5. Class F Work Permit:

This class F work permit is offered to individuals that want to engage in manufacturing activities.

6. Class G Work Permit:

The class G work permit is intended for individuals who would wish to engage in specific trade, consultation services or business. to obtain this visa you must be able to prove financial capability of at least 100,000$

7. Class I Work Permit:

The Class I work permit is available for volunteers, missionaries, and interns who wish to engage in non-profit or charitable activities in Kenya. It is issued for a period of up to one year and can be renewed under specific circumstances. Applicants are required to provide supporting documents from the organization they will be volunteering or interning with.

8. Class K Work Permit:

This is an “ordinary resident visa”. its given to individuals who make about 24,000$ per year from other sources other than employment. With this visa, you can live in Kenya but cannot accept a job.

9. Class M Work Permit:

This work permit is for individuals who have moved to Kenya and have been assigned the refugee status within the borders of the country.

Understanding the different classifications of work permits is essential for foreigners seeking employment or investment opportunities in Kenya. It enables applicants to identify the most appropriate permit for their needs and ensures a smoother application process. Now that we have explored the permit classes, let’s move on to the next section, which will provide a step-by-step guide on navigating the work permits application process in Kenya.

Navigating the Work Permits Application Process

Obtaining a work permit in Kenya as a foreigner may seem like a complex process, but with the right information and preparation, it can be a smooth journey. This section will provide a step-by-step guide on how to successfully apply for a work permit in Kenya, ensuring that you have all the necessary documentation and meet the requirements.

Step 1: Determine the Work Permit Category

Before starting the application process, it is important to understand the different categories of work permits available in Kenya. These categories include Investor Permit, Class A Permit, and Special Pass Work Permit. Each category has its own set of requirements and conditions, so it is crucial to identify the one that aligns with your circumstances and intentions.

Step 2: Gather the Required Documents

Once you have determined the appropriate work permit category, the next step is to gather all the required documents. These documents typically include:

  • A valid passport with a minimum of six months’ validity
  • A detailed curriculum vitae (CV) or resume
  • A cover letter explaining the purpose of your work in Kenya
  • A letter from your employer or company in Kenya, outlining the job offer or business partnership
  • Proof of academic qualifications or professional certifications
  • Police clearance certificate
  • Proof of financial stability, such as bank statements or financial statements
  • A duly completed application form

Step 3: Pay the Application and Processing Fees

Work permit application fees vary depending on the category and duration of the permit. It is important to pay the correct fees as specified by the Kenyan immigration authorities. These fees typically cover the application processing and issuance of the work permit. Ensure that you keep the payment receipts as proof of payment.

Step 4: Submit Your Application

Once you have gathered all the necessary documents and paid the required fees, it is time to submit your application. You can do this either electronically or in person at the Kenyan immigration office. It is advisable to submit your application well in advance to allow for any potential delays in the processing time.

Step 5: Follow Up on Your Application

After submitting your application, it is crucial to regularly follow up to check the status of your application. This can be done by contacting the immigration office or checking the online application tracking system, if available. Following up ensures that you are aware of any additional information or documentation required and helps to expedite the processing time.

By following these steps and being well-prepared, you can navigate the work permits application process in Kenya successfully. Remember to start the process early, gather all the necessary documents, and stay informed on the requirements and timelines to ensure a smooth and efficient application process.

Investing in Kenya: Work Permits for Entrepreneurs

For entrepreneurs and investors looking to start or operate a business in Kenya, obtaining a work permit is a crucial step. Kenya offers attractive opportunities for foreign investors, with a favourable business environment and a rapidly growing economy. This section will provide valuable insights into the requirements, documents, and fees associated with acquiring a work permit in Kenya for entrepreneurs.

Benefits of Investing in Kenya

Before exploring the work permit process, it’s important to understand the benefits of investing in Kenya. The country offers a strategic location, rich natural resources, and a skilled workforce. In addition, favourable government policies and investment incentives make Kenya an ideal destination for entrepreneurs seeking growth and expansion.

Requirements for Work Permits

Entrepreneurs looking to invest in Kenya must meet specific requirements to obtain a work permit. These may include proof of investment capital, a solid business plan, and a clear demonstration of how the business will contribute to Kenya’s economy and employment opportunities. Additionally, entrepreneurs must have a registered company and provide supporting documents for their business activities.

Documents and Fees

The application process for a work permit in Kenya requires submitting various documents, including:

  • Valid passport
  • Certificate of incorporation for the business
  • Business plan
  • Proof of investment capital
  • Proof of registration with relevant authorities
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Health certificate
  • Police clearance certificate

It’s important to note that fees may apply for each document and the work permit itself. The specific fees can vary depending on the type of work permit and the duration requested. Applicants should consult the Kenyan immigration authorities or seek legal advice to ensure they have the correct information on fees.


Understanding the work permits application process in Kenya is crucial for foreigners planning to work or invest in the country. Obtaining the necessary work permit is a vital step in ensuring legal compliance and enjoying a successful experience in Kenya.

Throughout this guide, we have explored the different classifications of work permits and provided a comprehensive overview of the application process. We have highlighted the specific criteria and conditions for each permit, enabling applicants to make informed decisions based on their individual circumstances.

Moving to Kenya for work or business purposes offers exciting opportunities and numerous benefits. From the vibrant culture and friendly people to the thriving economy and abundant investment prospects, Kenya presents a favourable environment for foreigners looking to make their mark.

Whether you are an entrepreneur seeking to invest in Kenya or a skilled professional exploring job prospects, understanding the work permits application process is paramount. By following the guidelines outlined in this guide, you can navigate the process with confidence and embark on a successful journey in Kenya.


What is the process for applying for a work permit in Kenya?

To apply for a work permit in Kenya, you need to follow a specific process. Firstly, you must obtain an offer of employment or an investment opportunity in Kenya. Then, you should gather the required supporting documents, including your passport, a letter of appointment from your employer, educational certificates, and a curriculum vitae (CV). Next, you should submit your application along with the appropriate fees to the Department of Immigration. The application will be reviewed, and if approved, you will receive your work permit.

What are the different classifications of work permits in Kenya?

Work permits in Kenya are classified into different categories and classes. The categories include government, diplomatic, and ordinary permits. The classes are further divided based on employment, entrepreneurship, specific professions, and special pass permits.

How long does it take to process a work permit application?

The processing time for a work permit application in Kenya varies depending on various factors. Generally, it can take between 3 – 6 months for the application to be processed. However, it is important to note that complex applications or incomplete documentation may delay the process.

Other factors that can delay the processing of the work permit include;

  1. Bulk of applications.
  2. Requirement for background vetting.
  3. Inter government treaties and arrangements
  4. National Holidays

What are the fees associated with work permit applications in Kenya?

The fees for work permit applications in Kenya depend on the classification and duration of the permit. The fees range from KES 50,000 to KES 300,000 for one-year permits and can go up to KES 10,000,000 for five-year permits. It is advisable to check the current fee schedule with the Department of Immigration to ensure accurate payment.

Can foreign entrepreneurs and investors acquire work permits in Kenya?

Yes, foreign entrepreneurs and investors can acquire work permits in Kenya. There are specific requirements and documentation needed to obtain a work permit for entrepreneurial or investment purposes. These include a comprehensive business plan, evidence of capital investment, and proof of the potential economic benefits the venture will bring to Kenya.

Britam Towers, 24th floor, Hospital Road, Upperhill, P.O BOX 12295-00100, Nairobi, Kenya

Follow us:

We believe in offering Efficient and Prompt Services for our clients. Our practice is built on offering value addition and Trust in our services. Our Clientele base consist both Local and International.

Briantony International Consultants © 2014-2022 | Web by Derrick 0727881462| Sitemap