Visa Advice Please!

Hi there!

I am a South African passport-holder and I will be staying in Kenya for a period of about 4 months. I will be entering the country on a tourist visa and have been advised by the embassy to obtain a "special pass for single entry" upon arrival into the country since my stay exceeds 90 days ( the validity of a normal tourist visa). The embassy seemed very uncertain so I thought I'd see if anyone has had to do something similar??

Does anyone know what this "special pass requires"?

Can I obtain a tourist visa without having booked a return flight?

Thank you in advance!

It might be difficult to board a flight without a return within 90 days, as this is one of the conditions of the Single Entry Visa.  I have experienced a situation where I was refused boarding until I'd bought a return ticket within 90 days of the arrival date. 

The Single Entry Visa can be renewed in country (at Immigration), for a further 3 months, close to its expiry.

The Special Pass is for short duration work/training/education assignments and I have pasted the details from the Directorate of Immigration Website, below, for your information.  Its considerably more costly than the Single Entry Visa.  However, the Single Entry Visa prohibits ANY type of work, paid or unpaid.


This is a document issued to person(s) given specific employment by specific employer for a short duration not exceeding three (3) monthsose of receiving education or training at an educational or training establishment within the country by which he/she has been accepted as a student/pupil.


•Application form dully filled and signed
•Copy of the national passport
•Two passport size photos
•Forwarding letter from institution/applicant
•Clearance from regulatory bodies (medical and dentist board, pharmacy and poisons board, engineering board, NGO council, Ministry of Information. ion is relatively new a copy of registration must be submitted together with the application .


Ksh.15,000/= Per month or part there of


I was wondering about visas (Single entry) coming from the US and having a passport. How long does it usually take to get a visa to Kenya. I know you can contact the Kenyan Embassy here and get it here thru mail and to my understanding takes about 10 days in the process. It seems as through you can also get at the airport thru kiosks. How long does this take? Is this true?  Any feedback is appreciated. Thank you.

You can get the visa on arrival in Kenya.  This is arguably the simplest way.  All you need is the completed application form, the fee ($50 in recent bills) and of course you passport.  The link below is for the visa application form. … 20Visa.pdf

You can also apply online at:

This process is a bit more involved and you will need things like an itinerary, or letter of invitation from your partner and scans of passport photo and so on.  If you opt for this, you should not apply more than 90 days before your date of travel (the visa itself is only valid for 90 days). 

Either type of application is perfectly acceptable - there is no real advantage of getting the e-visa, in terms of saving time when you arrive either.

As a US citizen, it is simple- you pay $50 on arrival for a single entry visitor visas at airport

Hello Everyone

First I would like to commend Longonot62 for his many responses to different quires on all sorts of issues.

I would like to ask - For how long can a foreigner keep renewing his visa?  After the first initial 3 months expiry and renewal for a further three months, the person exits EAC comes back and repeats the process.

The person is a British pensioner and does not qualify for a depedent's pass or a K class permit.

Thank you for your time in reading this. 


Thanks for the vote of confidence.

You can renew a 90 day Single Entry Visa once, by a further 3 months.  After this you must leave the country, then return to apply for another Single Entry Visa.  Quite a lot of expats tend to live in Kenya on serial Single Entry Visas.  Not sure whether the governments focus on foreigners will affect this.

Border hopping, for a day or so, in order to het a new visa used to be common, but some immigration officers don't like it.  A week or so away is fine though.

By the way, you can't cross the border to any of the East African Community countries, to renew a visa.  It woul have to be Ethiopia, or Dubai for example.

This is great, Longonot62

Thank you.   Love this forum.  This demistifing is much needed of facts is most welcome.

Hi Everyone,
I would really appreciate it if someone informed me if obtaining special pass to work for two to three months cancels out a student pass which has a validity of more then one year?

To the best of my knowledge you can only hold one type of visa, or pass at any one time.

Thanks a lot for the reply. God Bless you.

Returning to Nairobi on 7th November, via JKIA, my wife and I were surprised to be granted a tourist visa valid for 1 month, not the 90 days that up until recently was promised on the Immigration website.  It seems that in the last few weeks a new policy has been implemented to only grant tourist visas for 1 month at the expiry of which one can go to Nyayo House to extend for I do not know how long.  What are you supposed to do if you wish to visit this beautiful country and travel around for 6 weeks?

Bizarrely, the visa sticker placed in our passports, was stamped with the arrival date, but the section marked "Expiry Date" was left blank.  At the bottom of the visa, as previously, it still tells you that you have to register after stay of 90 days.


It's what is written on the actual entry permit that counts.  3 months isnt so much a promise as the maximum time you can be granted on entry.  The wording is:  "Present yourself to immigration control at the port of entry, you may be issued with a stay period not exceeding 90 days"

An immigration officer can decide to give less than 3 months - it has happened to me before. 

You will either have to rearrange your departure flight, or go to Nyayo House in Nairobi  and renew your visa.  Whatever you do, do not consider overstaying.  This is a serious offence in Kenya.

Thanks Longonot62.

Well like I said, what is written in the actual visa, as regards expiry date, is nothing!

When you were only granted 1 month, what happened when you went to Nyayo House?  Did you get a 5 month extension or another 1 month or 2 months?

There are two stages to enter Kenya; the visa, which is valid for 3 months from the date of application (which may be before the actual date of travel) and the entry permit, which is usually, but not always, granted for 3 months from the date of entry.  It is the entry permit, not the visa that grants you permission to be in the country and for how long.

In my case, the immigration officer took exception to the fact that I had previously extended my visa, gave me and entry permit valid for 1 month and told me that I should be satisfied with that!  Fortunately, at the time I was only visiting for a couple of weeks, so it didn't matter and I didn't try to extend it.

Has anyone issued with a 1 month tourist visa since late October been to Nyayo House to extend?

What happened?  How long extra were you given?

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