Six-month limit on Visitor’s Passes now strictly enforced

4 Nov 14



What is the change? Kenya’s Department of Immigration Services has issued a memo reminding officers to strictly enforce the six-month limit on Visitor’s Passes.

What does the change mean? Foreign nationals holding a Visitor’s Pass must leave the country before six months elapses to avoid being arrested and prosecuted for unlawful presence.

  • Implementation timeframe: Immediate.
  • Visas/permits affected: Visitor’s Pass.
  • Who is affected: Foreign nationals holding Visitor’s Passes.
  • Business impact: The government will prosecute those overstaying their Visitor’s Passes.
  • Next steps: Foreign nationals should plan to leave Kenya before the six-month deadline.

Background: According to the memo, many foreign nationals are overstaying their passes. “All manner of excuses are given such as waiting for the approval of a work permit or other residence documents,” DIS said.

Visitor’s Passes are issued up to a maximum of six months and should not be extended.

“An expired Visitor’s Pass renders the foreign national unlawfully present in the country” in violation of the Kenya Citizenship and Immigration Regulation 2012,31(4), according to the memo. “Those contravening the Act should be arrested and prosecuted,” DIS said.

BAL Analysis: This is not a rule change, but enforcement of existing law. Foreign nationals should be aware that extensions beyond six months will not be granted in-country. Any holder of a Visitor’s Pass is advised to leave the country before the end of the six months. Once the foreign national’s work permit or other type of pass (such as Special Pass, Dependent’s Pass, Internship Pass, Researcher’s Pass or Student’s Pass) is issued, a visa can be purchased at the point of entry to allow the foreign national to enter for purposes of obtaining endorsement of the new permit or pass.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Kenya. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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