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Relocating To Kenya? All You Need to Know About Residence Permits in 2023

Foreigners can successfully and peacefully work and reside in Kenya, as long as a work and residence permit has been obtained. A work or residence permit is issued to allow a person to lawfully work and live in a particular country. The Ministry of Immigration in the Republic of Kenya issues work/ residence permits to non-Kenyans wishing to engage in employment in Kenya whether in gainful employment or voluntary service.

The main offices are located at Nyayo House in Nairobi. Foreigners engaging in any work in Kenya without a permit are committing an offense and can lead to immediate deportation and a ban from ever returning to Kenya.


The key points to note when intending to apply for a permit are as follows:

1. The kind of business/investment/employment/residence you intend to get involved in determines the type of permit to be issued

2. Proper documentation in regard to the kind of work you intend to carry out in Kenya is not optional and all necessary licenses or authority to undertake the work should be provided

3. The work intended to be carried out should be legal in Kenya

The permits are classified from Class A to M and are issued in accordance with the Kenya Citizenship & Immigration Act 2011 of the Laws of Kenya.


The process commences at the application stage which is facilitated by the Department of Immigration on the Kenyan Immigration portal (https://fns.immigration.go.ke/). This is the official digital payments platform that enables foreign nationals to access and pay for government services online. One thus needs to first set up an account through the following link >> https://fns.immigration.go.ke/

An application form provided on the platform needs to be duly filled. Depending on the category or class of permit, the following need to be provided as you fill out the relevant application form. This applies to all types of permits:

  • Cover letter from employer/self/organization; depending on the class
  • Copies of the National Passport
  • Two recent coloured passport-size photographs
  • Application fees upon receipt of approval of the application
  • The duly completed application forms are then submitted.

 Work permits are issued for a period of two years and so applications for renewal herein ought to be done three months prior to the expiry date. This is for purpose of giving the department ample time to properly verify the application so that the renewal can happen systematically. If employment or work comes to an end before the expiry of the work permit, the person will be required to surrender the work permit and the foreigner’s certificate to the immigration offices and then go back to his/her home country.

If the documents are in foreign languages, they should be translated into English by either the Embassy, Public Notary, or authorized or recognized institution.


1. CLASS A (Mining permits)

This permit is issued to persons who are planning to engage in prospecting for minerals or mining. The necessary licenses and registrations should be obtained. This can be obtained by inquiring with the State Department of Mining and registering for access to the Mining Cadastre Portal in person. Further instructions are provided for in the aforesaid entities. A processing fee of Kshs. 10,000 should be paid when applying for this permit. A copy of the Kenya Revenue Authority PIN certificate and current license will be required when renewing the permit.

2. CLASS B (Agricultural investors)

This one is issued to persons who intend to invest in Agriculture and Animal Husbandry. This involves farming generally and the business of raising livestock for food or other products and includes day-to-day care and selective breeding.

Requirements in applying for this permit include;

  • Proof of land ownership or leasehold interest in land for purposes of carrying out the business herein,
  • Proof of capital available for the purpose and clearance from relevant bodies. Also, a fee of Kshs. 100,000/= should be paid annually.

3. CLASS D (Employment permits)

This type of permit is issued to those who are offered specific employment by specific employers qualified to undertake that employment and whose engagement in that employment is beneficial to Kenya. Applying for this permit requires the applicant to produce copies of academic/professional certificates along with the curriculum vitae, evidence that the organization failed to fill the vacancy from the local labor market, form 25 duly filled, signed and sealed by the company employing. A processing fee of Kshs. 10,000 should be paid; this fee is non-refundable.

The annual fee for the permit is USD 2000 which translates to Kshs. 200,000 and the permit lasts for a period of two years. The applicant may also be required to provide a security bond amounting to Kshs. 100,000/= for a period of three years. This amount should be submitted together with the permit fee.

Employer and Employee Tax Compliance Certificates are required when renewing the permit.

4. CLASS G (Investor Permits)

This permit is issued to investors in specific trade, business, or consultancy. The investor may intend to invest alone or in partnership in a particular business or consultancy. He/she should obtain the necessary license or authority necessary to carry out the purpose, should have sufficient capital or resources to invest in the intended area and this investment should be beneficial to the Republic of Kenya.

Proper documents regarding the company or business should be provided; for instance, a certificate of incorporation, articles of association, copies of PIN certificate, and shareholding certificate also known as the CR12.

The investor should provide two copies of bank statements, a valid organizational tax compliance certificate, and also documentary proof of capital to be invested and this should be at least USD 100,000. He/she should indicate current immigration status if in the country already. All this information is required at the application stage.

When renewing the permit, audited accounts for the previous 2years and a certificate of tax compliance from the Kenya Revenue Authority are required.

The processing fee in this case is Kshs. 10,000/= and it is nonrefundable and Kshs. 100,000/= payable annually as the work permit fees.

5. CLASS I (Members of missionary societies)

This permit is issued to a member of a missionary society approved by the Government of Kenya and whose presence is beneficial to the country. It is also referred to as the permit regarding approved religious or charitable activities. This missionary society should be registered under the Society’s Act.

The applicant should provide a copy of the registration certificate of the organization, his/her academic and professional certificates, and the non-refundable processing fee of Kshs. 1,000/=. The applicant should also indicate the current immigration status if in the country already. In addition, the applicant should provide a valid organization Tax Compliance Certificate, and when renewing the permit, he/she should provide both organization and individual Tax Compliance Certificates from Kenya Revenue Authority.

The annual work permit fee is Kshs. 5,000/=.


It is a residence permit issued to those who have an assured income derived from sources outside and have agreed to not accept paid employment of any kind. Also known as Ordinary Residents’ Permit.

The applicant should not be less than thirty-five years of age, have an assured annual income of not less than USD 24,000/= derived from sources outside and will be remitted to Kenya, or is derived from pension or annuity payable from sources in Kenya. The applicant should not accept employment or engage in any work without a permit and whose presence in Kenya will be of benefit to Kenya.

The processing fee is Kshs. 10,000 and is non-refundable as well. The annual work permit fee is Kshs. 100,000/=.

7. CLASS M (Refugees)

This one is issued to Conventional Refugees. The applicant should provide recognition letters from UNHCR and the Department of Refugees Affairs and indicate the current immigration status. A valid organization Tax Compliance Certificate should be provided too, upon renewal the individual Tax Compliance Certificate should be provided in addition to the one for the organization as issued by the KRA. There is no charge for the processing fee and the permit.

Dependant Pass

Section 36 of the Citizenship and Immigration Act 2011 provides that passes shall be issued by immigration officers in such manner as shall be prescribed in regulations.

Section 27 of the Citizenship and Immigration Regulations of 2011 (Rev. 2018) stipulates that a person who is Kenya lawfully, is a Kenyan citizen, a person to whom Section 34(3) of the Act applies, has a work permit or is a permanent resident may apply on behalf of his/her dependant for a pass as stipulated in the regulations.

The immigration officer shall only issue a pass once he/she is satisfied that the ‘dependant’ indeed depends on the applicant, that the person is a spouse or a child of the applicant, that the applicant is able to sufficiently take care of the dependant while in the country, and that the applicant has observed any other key requirement as provided by law.

Upon completion of application of the Dependant pass, the applicant is required to pay Ksh. 5,000/= and the pass is valid for the period of the work permit

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