Work Permit In Kenya

What kind of companies pay for a work permit? I'm looking for law firms.

Any company where a foreign national may be hired as an employee. 

The application process is laid down by law, so it isn't company specific.  Companies are supposed to provide evidence that they have tried and failed to fill the vacancy from among the Kenyan labour market, as part of the application process.  Corruption means that there is often a way to work around this if a specific company want to hire you.

Hey hi, I am Manuel and yes,I need a work permit, ( my reason is strong )
_my personal situation is a little different.
Because my wife is kenyan, and I have a daughter (she is kenyan// born in Kenya, // 2 years old )
I know very well it is illegal to stay in kenya more than 6 month (as a tourist)
But for me and my family is very hard / live separated .
(I,m not Kenyan).
I have hope in some day to obtain that work permit and live with my family ;)
Asante sana..-

Hello Manuel, unfortunately the rules around work permits don't take into account whether or not you are married to a Kenyan.  I know because I am married to a Kenyan. It made no difference whatsoever.

If your wife is working, then the easiest (and cheapest) option may well be to get a Dependents Pass, which will allow you to remain in Kenya with your family, though work would not be permitted.

mister :: Longonot62 Wow that is perfect to me , that mans if a obtain "Dependents Pass" then Can I live in kenya for long time ( more than 6 Months ( I not kenyan ) ,. /( my job is very diferent , Because I work in forex // stock market , // cripto currency and so on  ( I just need the internet :-) all the income is from out to kenya, ( all company  are not kenyan alike me )  asante sana  for your help ;)

The Dependents Pass will entitle you to remain in Kenya for over 6 months and technically, several years.  It assumes that your wife works and earns enough money to support you both (she will probably have to provide evidence). Your wife would be the applicant.  Before the new constitution, it was almost impossible for a man to obtain a Dependent Pass as there is a belief that men cannot be dependent upon women.  This belief tends to persist, so your application might not be straightforward. The cost is Ksh 5000, I believe.

If you have an income in excess of $25,000 or equivalent, from sources outside Kenya, then you may be able to apply for a Class K permit.  It costs Ksh 200,000 plus Ksh 10,000 admin fee and is valid for two years.  Much costlier, but possibly another option for you.

More information here:

If you marry the mother to yr child and stay in Kenya with her, legally,  for three years you can apply for Permanent Residency which is 50000 one off. According to the new constitution that also gives you a right to a work permit and even the right to own land, but the relevant laws have not included this yet.

To be eligible to apply for permanent residence as a spouse, you don't have to have lived in Kenya if you are married to a Kenyan citizen.  Just married for over three years, with proof that the marriage is ongoing.

Permanent residency gives you the right to work without a work permit.

You can own land gazetted as residential, even if you just have a visitors (single entry) visa.  Foreigners cannot legally buy agricultural land and I believe that is still the case if you have permanent residency.

To date, it has been a lengthy process for most applicants.  I know of several people who have applied for PR or dual citizenship and have waited for years.

Hi Longonot. Happy that you try to enlighten newcomers to Kenya. Just a couple of comments. It is true you don't have to live here with your wife for all those three years, but you need a certificate of good conduct from CID on Kiambu road to enclose with your permanent residence application and they only issue that to foreigners who have lived here for 180 days, sometimes longer. The committee sometimes send someone to interview the applicant in their home. If you are not in the country when they want to see you, there will be delays and even refusals. The interviewers get sceptical if you haven't stayed here for a considerable time, unless you have been living abroad with the Kenyan citizen who you have married. As always in Kenya, the practice changes all the time and sometimes it is based on the daily mood of the officer.

About owning property, you can own a house, flat, maisonette and so on even when you are on a visa only, but I don't think you can own the land itself. It has to be on leased land, which is different from actual ownership. As a permanent resident you have the right to own land (not agricultural maybe), but this is so far only based on the constitution because the adequate land laws have not been changed so that they are in harmony of the constitution. However, if someone took the government to court on this he or she would probably win in the end since the constitution is stronger than the law.

Getting the permanent residence permit is not about luck. I have helped several persons through this procedure. But you need to have ALL papers in order, and there is quite a number of documents which need to be enclosed and one or two of your referees will actually often be contacted to check on your background. So make sure your refs know you well. It's basically about patience as the waiting time is between 12 and 16 months, at least for the applicants I know about. The staff on 5th or 7th floor (not sure) at Nyayo House are very helpful and will give you an idea how long you will have to wait. The committee was disbanded for a while and naturally all applications were put on hold for months. Now it's operative again. If you give it 18 months and all papers are in order and no bribes paid underway, you will probably get it.

Sorry, I wasn't precise about owning land. It is true, even as a permanent resident you cannot own any form of land, only the property like buildings etc. The land has to be leased for maximum 99 years.

Torewest,   you can purchase and own freehold property as foreigner without resident status, as long as the land is gazetted as residential land.  So, for example you could buy a residential plot and build a house on it.  The key is the land use, not the house.

Thanks for the information on the PR process, but we are actually in the process of relocating to South Africa, for various reasons.

Good luck with South Africa, was in Cape last week, my favourite city. We seem to have many similar opinions. Great! But what you wrote today about residential land I think you could be wrong about. The constitution is clear. Only citizen can own land in Kenya, no matter what kind of land. Non-citizens who had bought land before 2010 actually have to change it into 99 years lease. But you can own the building itself. If you have other official info on this, please post it here. It would be revolutionary and go against all property lawyers I have met.

Torewest:  I have been doing some reading and you are correct and I am not! 

Prior to the new constitution, foreigners could own residential land outright, but now it must be leasehold.  I would have thought that if the land is leasehold, any buildings would be too.  Kenyan property laws are based on those of the UK and that is how it works there.

We will be settling in the Western Cape, place called Knysna.  Selling our properties here and buying there!

thank you.
great information.

Can my spouse live with me on my work permit ? or both need different permits?

You can apply for a dependents pass for your spouse, which will allow him to live in Kenya, but he will not be permitted to work.


With regards to Manuel_R situation mine is somewhat similar though there are differences.

I have married to my spouse for 9+ years, we got married in Nairobi however we have lived in the Uk for all of the 9 years, we have a son and both my son and wife are dual nationals.

Would I be allegeable for residency based on the fact I have been married for 9 years?



Thank you for sharing, how about east african citizen? Do I need an alien card before applying for the work permit?

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Is it not the case that if you register a company as a foreigner you can buy land, any land.

No, if you are not a Kenyan your company can not own land. Some foreigners have registered companies with kenyan shareholders or partners. If the kenyans have majority of the company I guess it can own land but the kenyan ownership has to be REAL. Many foreigners have been tricked this way. You know you cannot go to court if you feel tricked. Several cases at coast have been really bad for some non-kenyans … -in-Kenya#

Here you can read. So you can lease up to 99 years. But not fully own.

Sorry. It seems that one needs to register to read this. But I think It's free...

Yes a foreign individual or foreign company can own land, but leasehold only, for a maximum 99 year lease, as Torewest has stated.  The lease is renewable.

For the purposes of buying land, the constitution defines a Kenyan company as a company owned by one of more Kenyan citizens.  A Kenyan/foreign partnership is defined as a 'foreign company' and it will not be able to buy freehold land, or property.

Under the Land Control Act, a foreigner, or foreign owned company cannot buy/acquire agricultural land.  However, the President can exempt a foreigner from this and it must be done through the Kenya Gazette.

If you have a Kenyan partner this may be different.

If you mean business partner it doesn't make a difference. If you mean being married to a Kenyan partner you can get Kenyan citizenship after about 7 years. You can buy land with your Kenyan spouse, but the title deed has to be in his/her name. If the marriage ends, something which is not uncommon these days, it happens frequently that the foreigner suddenly has no access to that land.

Snowmoon;  I agree with Torewest.  I have a Kenyan partner (wife) and the land we have bought has had to be in my wife's name exclusively.  The properties we have bought are in joint names, but all leasehold.

However, when it comes to selling, I have had to give my permission for the land to be sold.

I imagine that the situation would only change if a foreign partner has gained citizenship.

Not quite what my lawyer advised , have much to learn!!

You can buy land with your Kenyan spouse, but the title deed has to be in his/her name.

Was informed that; you can set up a company with your spouse and share the company's assets and jointly own the land . If in both names,

it's all so vague!

Actually,  it's quite clear. If the land is in the name of your Kenyan spouse,  a court will consider it his/her. The foreigner is not allowed to own it.

A company with one or more foreign shareholders is not considered fully Kenyan.

Some lawyers are professionally lazy, some will tell you anything just to get the assignment, some might collude with people you know or not know. The serious ones will tell you the truth. Be careful about trust.


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