JMK Partners Advocate



The Kenyan Government through the Department of Immigration Services regulates the entry and stay in Kenya of foreigners who have the intentions to engage in:  trade, business, consultancy, professional employment, missionary activities, investment in various industries including the mining, agricultural and manufacturing industries or even mere reside in Kenya. At JMK we have a team of experienced advocates and staff who are committed to offering efficient and effective services in the immigration law department and following below is an analysis of various classes of work or residence permits that must be obtained by or on behalf of foreigners interested in entering Kenya to engage in the aforementioned activities.

Classes of Work or Residence Permits in Kenya

Category Description and Specific Requirements (to be met in addition to the general requirements)
Class A It is issued to persons who intend to engage in the prospecting for minerals or mining.

Specific Requirements
1. Obtain licences and authorizations from the relevant government ministry.  
2. Proof of adequate resources or capital for investment in the mining activities.
Class B Issued to persons who intend to engage in agriculture or animal husbandry.

Specific Requirements
1. Proof of ownership of land onto which there will be conduct of agricultural or animal husbandry activities. Foreigners can only hold land in a leasehold interest not exceeding 99 years.
2. Proof of availability of capital.
3. Clearance from the relevant regulatory authorities.
Class C Issued to a person, whether alone or in partnership, who is a member of a particular prescribed profession and intends to practice in that profession.

Specific Requirements
1. One must possess key professional qualifications relevant in the field of profession. 2. Proof of sufficient capital or resources to practice in the profession.
3. The individual/professional must be legally registered with the body of profession relevant in his/her field and as established in his/her country.
Class D Issued to persons intending to be engaged in capacity of employees.

Specific Requirements
1. Copies of academic and/or professional certificates along with the Curriculum Vitae (CV) of the applicant.
2. Proof that the employer cannot fill the vacancy from the local labour market.
3. Clearance letters from the relevant institutions.
3. Copies of certificates of registration of the employer.
4. Tax Compliance Certificate for the employer and where the permit is for a renewal there is a requirement for both the tax compliance certificate of the employee and employer.
Class G It is issued to investors intending to invest, whether alone or in partnership, in a specific trade, business or consultancy.

Specific Requirements
1. Documentary proof of the amount to be invested which must not be less than USD 100,000 or its equivalent currency.
2. Documentary proof of registration certificates of legal vehicles to be used in carrying out of the investment, it can be either a company, business name among others.
3. Proof of obtaining the licences or authorizations relevant in the specific trade, business or consultancy.
4. For renewals, there is a requirement for current audited accounts as well as list of employed Kenyans.
5. Copies of Tax Compliance Certificates for the organization and where there is renewals Tax Compliance Certificate for both the organization and individuals.
Class F Issued to a person who intends, whether alone or in partnership, to engage in manufacturing.

Specific Requirements
1. Obtain licence, authority or permission from the regulating authorities relevant in the specific field of manufacturing.
2. Proof of sufficient capital to carry out the manufacturing.
Class I Issued to a member of missionary society approved by the government of Kenya and whose presence in Kenya is beneficial.

Specific Requirements
1. Copies of the certificate of registration of the organization.
2. Copies of academic and professional certificates of the applicant.
Class K It is inherently a residence permit issued to persons who have an assured income derived from sources outside and undertakes not to accept any paid employment of any kind.

Specific Requirements
1. The applicant must be not less than thirty-five years of age.
2. The applicant has an assured income that is not to be derived from sources such as employment, trade, business or profession that would inherently require procuring of another class of permit as described above, the income ought to be derived from sources outside or from pension or annuity payable from sources in Kenya.
3. Undertaking not to accept employment, paid or unpaid, or engage in any income generating activity of any kind without a permit of the relevant class.
Class M It is issued to conventional refugees.

Specific Requirements
Recognition letters from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and Department of Refugee Affairs.
General Requirements that apply to all classes of work or residence permits
1. Duly filled prescribed application form.
2. Covering Letter for the application from the respective organization/employer/applicant depending on the class of permit.
3. Copies of National Passport for the applicant.
4. Coloured Passport Size Photographs.
5. Registration Certificates for the organization as where applicable.
6. Tax Compliance Certificates of the organization/applicant as applicable.
7. Prescribed processing and issuance fees for the permit as applicable in a specific class.

Lodging of the application for processing and issuance of a permit

The application together with all the supporting documentation are lodged with the Department of Immigration Services who through their internal operations consider whether to approve or deny the grant of a permit. Among the factors considered by the Department include:

  1. The impact of any proposed investment into the Kenyan economy.
  2. Creation of jobs in Kenya.
  3. Contribution to government revenues through taxation.
  4. The nationality of the applicant. Applicants from countries that have a stronger economy, low security threats and criminal statistics have a higher chance of having their applications approved.

A permit is valid for two years with a renewal for a further two years at a time. Application for renewal are done three months prior to the expiry of a valid permit.


It is certain that there are various classes of work or residence permits suited for differing circumstances of entry into Kenya, that is to either work, invest or reside in Kenya. It is worth noting that besides the permits, a person can apply for a special pass which is a temporary document that allows such a person to apply for a permit, follow up with a review of decision denying a permit or temporarily conduct business in Kenya. The immigration law in Kenya provides that it is an offence for a person who is not exempted from obtaining the relevant permit or pass, to enter and remain in Kenya without possession of the requisite permit or pass.

This article is for informational purposes only and should not be taken to be or construed as a legal opinion. For more insights, please do not hesitate to contact Jane Makena Kirimi ( or Faith Wambui Karanja (