Trying to get a Visa

I'm an American citizen (USA) currently living in the USA but I want to move to Eldoret, Kenya. I just came back from my first missionary trip and I have fallen in love. My trip was not sponsored by any organization.

Does anyone have any suggestions on how to obtain a missionary visa? Or should I plan to move using the ordinary 90 day visas. I understand by going to Nairobi, I should be able to extend those another 90 days, but that will still mean living in Kenya only 6 months at a time.

How do other missionaries who are not part of one of the approved missionary societies handle the visa situation?

Thank you so much,
Debbie Oxford

Hi, immigration tend to give 30 days entry, which  then can then extend for 60 days after which you have to fly outside East African Union & reenter Kenya to renew visa. There is a missionary status work permit you can apply for, but that has to be done by an NGO organisation. Even if this is voluntary no fees you would be advised to seek professional help in visa application as getting it wrong will cause you a lot of problems

"Immigration tend to give 30 days entry, which  then can then extend for 60 days after which you have to fly outside East African Union & reenter Kenya to renew visa."

The above is incorrect.  In the event of you being issued with a 30 day entry permit, you can extend it to a total of 90 days, then apply for a further 90 day extension, before having to leave Kenya and East African Union countries (ie, you cant renew the visa by going to Tanzania, or Uganda for a couple of days).


Be aware that ANY type of work, be it paid, unpaid, missionary is illegal without a work permit.  So, don't think about going to Kenya on a Single Entry Visa and doing voluntary/missionary work.  Penalties are harsh if you are caught and the government drive, recently has been to weed out illegal foreign workers.

There is a Class 1 Permit for approved religious or charitable activities.  I have copied below from the government website:

This permit is issued to a who is a member of an institution registered under the Society’s Act who is engaged as a missionary, Member of a company limited by guarantee, Member of a trust registered under the Trustees Act and is approved by the Government of Kenya, and whose presence in Kenya will be of benefit to Kenya.
Member of an institution registered under the Society’s Act who is engaged as a missionary
Member of a company limited by guarantee.
Member of a trust registered under the Trustees Act and is approved by the Government of Kenya, and whose presence in Kenya will be of benefit to Kenya.


As you can see, from above, you must be aligned to a religious or charitable organisation, in order to be eligible for this permit. 

Am not really sure how you managed to do an unsponsored trip - even the short term work permit, the 'Special Pass' requires the applicant to be supported by an organisation.

If you have an income from investment, rent, commission, etc which is not derived from working in Kenya and is $24,000 or more, then you could apply for a Class K Permit.  I had one until fairly recently and it stated that paid employment was prohibited, so I did do some voluntary work to stave off the boredom!

Thank you so much

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