How foreign nationals coming to Kenya can utilize the special pass prior to issuance of a work permit
Foreign nationals intending to visit Kenya for business or tourism normally have to apply in advance for the necessary visa or pass. The appropriate visa or pass a foreign national can consider to apply for depends on the reason and the time period the applicant wishes to legally remain in Kenya.
Tourists ordinarily apply and obtain the visitor’s pass which is limited for tourism purposes only and is valid for two (2) months which period can be renewed through an application for extension. A visitor’s pass is limiting as the applicant cannot engage in any business, seek employment or form any business partnership upon arrival in Kenya.
What is the relevant visa for foreigners intending to invest in Kenya?
The preferrable visa available for foreign nationals coming to Kenya to prospect for businesses or form strategic partnerships is the Special Pass.
The Special Pass is issued for a limited renewable period of three (3) months to enable the applicant to apply for the relevant work permit and to temporarily conduct any business, trade or profession.
The Special Pass as issued under Regulation 34(c) of the Kenya Citizenship and Immigration Regulations, 2012 is also commonly referred to as a temporary work permit. As a temporary work permit, it enables a professional to apply for the Class D work permit where the applicant has been offered specific employment by a specific employer, or by the government of Kenya or within an approved technical aid scheme under the United Nations or another approved agency. Such an applicant must demonstrate that they possess the necessary skill or qualifications unavailable in Kenya and their engagement in that employment should benefit the country.
Regulation 3 of The Kenya Citizenship and Immigration Regulations, 2012 stipulates;
“A special pass shall, subject to the terms and conditions as may be specified in the pass, permit the holder to enter Kenya within the period specified therein and to remain in Kenya for such period, not exceeding six months from the date of issue and to re-enter Kenya at any time during the period of validity of the pass.”
Special Passes CANNOT be renewed after 6 months.
At CM Advocates LLP, we have assisted numerous clients to apply for and obtain all types of passes and the necessary work permits. In addition, we offer bespoke world-class legal services concerning all your immigration, labour and employment matters. We are practical and innovative in our approach and offer quick turnaround timelines. We will be delighted to receive your feedback and enquiries on this and any other of our articles.
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This article is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice.