The situation

The Kenyan Department of Immigration issued a new directive on August 27, 2018 noting that it will increase its enforcement of the rule requiring foreign nationals seeking to work in Kenya to apply for a work permit prior to entry.

A closer look

  • Pre-travel steps. As a reminder, foreign nationals must apply for and acquire their work permit prior to travelling to Kenya. They should not enter under a business visa to later acquire a work permit in Kenya.
  • Work permit renewals. Foreign nationals with expired work permits cannot remain in Kenya during the processing of their work permit renewal application. Therefore, foreign nationals are advised to file their work permit renewal applications at least four months prior to the work permit expiry date to avoid having their work permit expire and having to therefore leave Kenya.


The Department of Immigration’s warning of increased enforcement should serve as a reminder for employers and employees to comply with the requisite process for entry for work in Kenya.