How to Apply for a Work or Residence Permit in Kenya

Published by Raymond

May 5, 2023

Foreigners can work and reside in Kenya with a valid work or residence permit from the Ministry of Immigration in the Republic of Kenya. To help you understand the process of immigration, this article provides a guide on how to apply for a work or residence permit in Kenya.

Points to Note When Applying for a Permit

  • The type of permit issued depends on the kind of business/investment/employment/residence you intend to get involved in.
  • Proper documentation regarding the kind of work you intend to do in Kenya is required. In addition, all necessary licenses or authority to undertake the work should be provided.
  • The work intended to be carried out should be legal in Kenya.

The permits are classified from Class A to M. They are issued by the Kenya Citizenship & Immigration Act 2011 of the Laws of Kenya.

Process of Application

  1. Set up an account on the Kenyan Immigration portal,
  2. Fill out the application form provided on the platform.
  3. Submit the relevant documents, depending on the category or class of permit. These include a cover letter, copies of the national passport, two recent coloured passport-size photographs, and application fees upon application approval.
  4. Submit the duly completed application form.

Work permits are issued for two years and can be renewed three months before expiration. However, suppose the employment or work ends before the permit‘s expiry. In that case, the holder should surrender the work permit and the foreigner’s certificate to the immigration offices and return to their home country.

Types of Permits

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.
  • 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 is required when renewing the permit.

2. Class B (Agricultural Investors)

  • This permit is issued to persons who intend to invest in Agriculture and Animal Husbandry.
  • Requirements for this permit include proof of land ownership or leasehold interest in land, proof of available capital, and clearance from relevant bodies.
  • A fee of Kshs. 100,000 should be paid annually.

3. Class D (Employment Permits)

  • This permit is issued to those offered specific employment by qualified employers.
  • The applicant must produce copies of academic/professional certificates and the curriculum vitae, evidence that the organisation failed to fill the vacancy from the local labour market and form 25.
  • A processing fee of Kshs. 10,000 should be paid when applying for this permit.
  • The annual fee for the permit is USD 2000, which translates to Kshs. 200,000, and the permit lasts for two years.
  • A security bond amounting to Kshs. 100,000 should be submitted together with the permit fee.
  • Employer and Employee Tax Compliance Certificates are required when renewing the permit.

4. Class G (Investor Permit)

The Class G permit is issued to specific trade, business, or consultancy investors. The investor may invest alone or in a partnership in a particular industry or consultancy in Kenya. To obtain this permit, the investor must meet the following requirements:

  • Obtain the necessary license or authority to carry out the purpose of the investment
  • Have sufficient capital or resources to invest in the intended area
  • Show that the investment will be beneficial to the Republic of Kenya

The following documents must be provided at the application stage:

  • Certificate of incorporation
  • Articles of association
  • Copies of the PIN certificate
  • Shareholding certificate (CR12)
  • Two copies of bank statements
  • Valid organisational tax compliance certificate
  • Documentary proof of capital to be invested (at least USD 100,000)
  • Indicate current immigration status if in the country already

When renewing the permit, audited accounts for the previous two years and a certificate of tax compliance from the Kenya Revenue Authority are required. The processing fee is Kshs. 10,000/= and the annual work permit fee is Kshs. 100,000/=.

5. Class I (Members of Missionary Societies)

The Class I permit is issued to members of a missionary society approved by the Government of Kenya whose presence benefits the country. To obtain this permit, the applicant must meet the following requirements:

  • Be a member of a registered missionary society under the Society’s Act
  • Provide a copy of the registration certificate of the organisation
  • Provide academic and professional certificates
  • Pay the non-refundable processing fee of Kshs. 1,000/=
  • Indicate current immigration status if in the country already
  • Provide a valid organisation tax compliance certificate

When renewing the permit, the applicant must provide organisation and individual tax compliance certificates from Kenya Revenue Authority. The annual work permit fee is Kshs. 5,000/=.

6. Class K (Ordinary Residents’ Permit)

The Class K permit is a residence permit issued to those with an assured income derived from outside sources who have agreed not to accept paid employment. In addition, the applicant must meet the following requirements:

  • Be at least 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 derived from a pension or annuity payable from sources in Kenya.
  • Not accept employment or engage in any work without a permit
  • Have a presence in Kenya that will be of benefit to Kenya

The processing fee is Kshs. 10,000/= and the annual work permit fee is Kshs. 100,000/=.

7. Class M Permit (Conventional Refugees in Kenya)

The Class M permit is issued to Conventional Refugees in Kenya. To apply for this permit, you need to provide the following documents:

  • Recognition letters from UNHCR and the Department of Refugees Affairs
  • Proof of current immigration status
  • Valid organisation Tax Compliance Certificate
  • Individual Tax Compliance Certificate (upon renewal)

Fortunately, there is no charge for the processing fee and permit.

Dependant Pass in Kenya

Section 36 of the Citizenship and Immigration Act 2011 allows immigration officers to issue passes as prescribed in the regulations. According to Section 27 of the Citizenship and Immigration Regulations of 2011 (Rev. 2018), a person who is lawfully in Kenya, a Kenyan citizen, a work permit holder, or a permanent resident can apply for a pass on behalf of their dependant.

The immigration officer will issue a pass after verifying that:

  • The dependant indeed depends on the applicant
  • The dependant is a spouse or child of the applicant
  • The applicant can sufficiently take care of the dependant while in the country
  • The applicant has observed any other essential requirement provided by law

To complete the application for a Dependant pass, you need to pay Kshs. 5,000/= and the key is valid for the period of the work permit.


Digitalising processes have made it easy for foreign nationals to apply for various permits in Kenya. However, if you encounter any challenges during the application process, please get in touch with us via for immediate assistance.

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