Class G or Class K permit- experience in obtaining one.

Hi,

My wife and I are seriously considering moving to Kenya in a years time, and hoping someone can help us with the below:

Has anyone had experience of moving to Kenya recently, and considered applying for a class G permit (Setting up a company and investing $100k), or Class K (Proving an assured income in excess of $24k).

Class G

1. How straighforward was the process
2. What types of investments would are considered suitable. ie, can you initially just put funds on deposit whilst you assess the market in Kenya, before commiting down a certain business.
3. Has anyone had experience of renewing their Class G visa- What if the investment has decreased?4. If my wife and I are coming- does the $100k investment cover both of us?


Class K

1. What types of income are considered appropriate (Is property rental income adequate)
2. How long do you have to show statements proving this income
3. Does my wife need to prove her own external source of income?
4. My wife's intention would be to find a job, once we are in Kenya, but I believe that the Class K visa prevents you from being employed in Kenya.

Thanks in advance!

Hi, I have experience of applying for both:

The Class G permit isnt about your investments, its about the business that you intend to conduct.  I imagine that the $100,000 limit is to screen out lots of would be applicants, who are simply looking for ways of settling in Kenya.  You have to have some sort of business plan and of course a registered company.  When I applied, we were planning something that would involve tourism.  The government were interested in, for example how many jobs, for Kenyans it would generate, but they also began asking questions, wanting more information, additional permits and so on - making the application a lot more complicated.  In the end, I withdrew it.

The funds can be in the form of cash at the bank, or invested in the business (the business can be running - operated by a Kenyan business partner, for example.  In my case, as it was potentially a new business, they asked to see bank statements to evidence that the money was there.

For renewal, you would submit accounts to evidence that the business is operating successfully.

Regarding your wife; normally you would get a Dependents Pass for her, once your permit has been approved, otherwise, I believe that you would be treated as two separate applicants.  I really don't know how, say husband & wife both being company directors would be dealt with...........

If you are thinking of a Class G Permit as a means to live in Kenya, rather than run a business, I don't think that this is the best route.

I have successfully applied for a Class K Permit:

Any income that is unearned is acceptable, or income say from mobile working, that is paid from the UK, so rental income from a Kenyan property would be accepted.  The government do prefer income from outside the country, as it benefits Kenya. 

In my case, the government wanted to see bank statements for 3 or 6 months (cant recall which), but basically evidence of the income is what is required, so maybe rental contracts, statements from investment companies and so on.

With regard to your wife, the above applies.  I imagine if you both wanted a Class G Permit, then your applications would be treated separately.  My situation is different, as my wife is a dual citizen, but throughout, Immigration has treated any applications separately.  It's only the Dependents Pass where your applications are linked, as far as I am aware.

With a Class K Permit; paid work is prohibited.  I did some voluntary work without a problem - to fill time.

If your wife wants to work in Kenya, then she would apply for a job and the employer would facilitate an application for a work permit.  You should know that the government are currently on a drive to review foreigners work permits, as they believe that many foreigners are in posts where a local could be employed.  This may well potentially make an application more difficult.

Hi

I have doubts applying for Class G or Class K permits, so I am going to post them here. If the mods consider that I should start a new thread, please feel free to tell me, I don't mean to derail the post.

I have recently spent over a month in Nairobi to evaluate moving to Kenya. I loved it and I am now researching my options to apply for residency. I work from home as a trader, investing in stock and currency markets, in markets outside of Kenya. All my income comes from this activity. From Longonot62 advice, I take my best option is class K, as class G does not seem to apply.

For the requirements to apply to class K, last year I generated profits well over the 24k usd minimum requirements (several times that amount), but it is not a guaranteed income like a pension. I have also substantial savings. If this income could qualify for class K permit, I have doubts on how it would be best to present this to the immigration bureaucrats. Would it ok to show my trading account as proof of income? Last year tax declaration with my present country of residence? I can also show banking transfer from my trading accounts to my banking account, but those are not regular transfers.

Would it help if I plan to buy a house in Nairobi?. I know certain countries concede residency solely based on buying property on the country over a certain amount. For what I read, Kenya does not, but would it help my application to buy a property in Kenya?

My last doubt is about the timing. I was in Kenya for over a month and would like to move definitively as soon as possible. I read in this forum that application K can take between one or even two years to be granted. That is alarming to me. I was planning on moving back to Kenya on a 3 month permit very shortly. I think I should be ok to spend 3 months more as it will have been around 2 months since I left Kenya. But I am concerned of moving to Kenya on a 3 months permit, with a possible one extra, and then not have my residency ready at the end of the period. I am not sure what it would be the best way to proceed here, specially if I want to move to Kenya as soon as possible. Realistically, how long can a class K residency permit take to be processed?

Also, previous time I went into Kenya the immigration officer was very interested in whether I had a returning flight or not. Will it be a big problem if I don't have a returning flight when I apply for the 3 month permit again?

Thanks

Munduks; who told you that a Class K Permit takes between 1 and 2 years?  I think you are getting confused with permanent residency applications.  Class K applications take around 3 months and the application process can continue, even if you return home.  In fact Kenyan law requires you to have a valid visa/permit to remain in the country.

Having a return/onward ticket is part of the regulations around the single entry visa, but you can extend the 3 month single entry visa by a further 3 months while you are in Kenya, so you can apply for a Class K and extend your 3 month single entry visa, or apply for the class K, then return home while you wait for the approval notice.

For funds; what the government is interested in is that you have the capacity to support yourself for the (usually) 2 year permit period and that the finances to do this are not sourced from employment in Kenya.  The government prefer to have evidence of a regular income amounting to $24,000, or more, as savings can potentially be spent very quickly.  I presented bank statements with my application.

Owning a property is entirely irrelevant.  I own 3 properties (and employ 3 Kenyans).  This fact has done nothing to assist in my likelihood of gaining a permit.

Thanks for the quick reply Longonot62.

Having a return/onward ticket is part of the regulations around the single entry visa, but you can extend the 3 month single entry visa by a further 3 months while you are in Kenya

So I should get a return flight ticket, even if my intention is to extend my stay 3 more months or for two years if I get the class K, just so I can get into the country initially even if I don't expect to actually use the return flight?

You can always get a ticket which you can change and re-set the date for the end of the second 3 months - tickets are usually valid for up to a year.

Airlines often ask to see the return ticket and can refuse boarding if you don't have one, unless you have some type of residence permit for Kenya, so yes you should buy a return.  In any case a single costs almost as much, very often.

In my case, the Class K was approved just after my extended single entry visa had expired and I had to fly back to the UK for a few days, then return and sort out the permit.  It's not automatic.  You have to apply for the permit once the approval notice has been issued and you have a month (I think) in which to do this.

Thank you so much for all for your responses- This is an invaluable resource!

I will update you once I begin the process, but am looking at the class G route; as I think it might be the most flexible for me.

If you go though the Class G route, then make sure that you evidence how your company will benefit the Kenyan economy, perhaps through employment opportunities for local people.  It shouldn't just be a vehicle for you to settle in Kenya.  If that is what you are looking for, then the Class K would be the better choice, as well as being less complicated.

The government are in the process of reviewing foreigners work permits and re-registering, as they believe that the official registered foreigners and the actual number are mismatched.  They also believe that many foreigners are occupying positions for which there are qualified Kenyans (who would work for less money).  Personally, I think that its about to get a whole lot tougher to get a work permit.  There is talk of substantial fee increases too.

Bear in mind that permits generally run on a 2 year cycle and for the Class G to be renewable, you must show that your company is viable.

Hi all,
For the last 15 years I have been working in the NGO world and I am up for a new challenge. Kenya has always been one of my favorite countries and I am hoping to gradually settle there. Eventually I would like to establish a sizeable business, but for now I just want to get a foothold.
I am planning to apply for a permit K for 2 years. If I still feel comfortable about the Kenyan business climate after 2 years of residence, I would like to take it a notch higher and apply for a class G.
In the mean time I would like to try out some business ideas - small scale businesses in which I would be a minority shareholder (49 %). The business would have its own manager, but I would keep an eye on the books through weekly/fortnightly "shareholder" meetings with my business partner.
Does this seem like a perfectly legal set-up to you?
Class K rules say that you should not be getting income from employment, but what happens with income from investment? I have no problem with paying taxes on this income, but how compatible is a KRA income declaration with the Class K statute?     
Looking forward to your feedback!

"I would keep an eye on the books through weekly/fortnightly "shareholder" meetings with my business partner." This would be classed as working, so wouldn't be legal, but you may get away with it.  You can legally register a company in Kenya and a Kenyan partner could run the operation, but you would have to be a sleeping partner.  Even picking up the books would be classed as working.  This also leaves you in a very vulnerable position, as your partner could hold that against you, to your financial disadvantage.  If caught, your Class K would be cancelled and you'd have no choice but to leave the country.

I understand from my wife that a expat with a Kenyan wife was fairly recently arrested and deported for something very similar - his wife ran the shop, but he happened to be in there when the immigration officer came in and he handled some of the goods - it was enough to get him arrested. 

There is also the possibility that you become an employee of your own company and apply for a class D work permit - the big risk here is that you may not be granted the work permit.

Immigration rules have really toughened up for foreigners during the last year or so, on the back of the Kenyan Government realising the extent to which foreign workers had cut into the skilled workforce, with unequal pay and conditions to similarly paid Kenyans (at least those who could get jobs).

The government don't make things easy for foreigners, even those long married to Kenyan citizens!

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