Assessing travel and visa obligations in Kenya

When traveling to Kenya, your nationality and the types of activities you will conduct during your trip will determine whether you may travel lawfully as a business visitor or if you require work authorization. Please seek advice from your immigration counsel if you are uncertain about the specific types of activities that constitute business or work.

Traveling for business

What types of activities may I engage in as a business visitor?

As a business visitor to Kenya, you may engage in the activities below. While this list is not exhaustive and other activities could qualify as business, you may:

  • Attend business and sales meetings.
  • Visit clients.
  • Conduct site visits.
  • Attend conferences, workshops, or trade shows.


If I qualify as a business visitor, do I need a visa for Kenya?

Most foreign nationals, including nationals of the United States and most European countries, are required to obtain an e-Visa prior to travel to enter Kenya and conduct ordinary business activities.

Certain restricted nationalities require additional security clearance and must obtain a Referred Business Visa prior to travel. In these cases, the Director of Immigration Services in Nairobi must approve the visa application in advance. Please consult with your immigration counsel to determine whether such restrictions apply.

Nationals of select countries, including Ghana, Malaysia and South Africa may be eligible for visa waiver status, which allows visitors to enter and conduct business activities without a visa. Please consult with your immigration counsel prior to travel to verify your eligibility for a visa waiver or e-Visa.

Working in Kenya

What types of activities require work authorization?

The activities below, whether paid or unpaid, generally constitute work under Kenyan law. This list is not exhaustive, and many other professional activities are considered work in Kenya, even if conducted for a short duration.

  • Conducting training
  • Performing audits
  • Presenting at a conference


If I am traveling to Kenya for work, what type of work authorization do I need?

The requirements for work authorization depend on your qualifications, on the nature and duration of your work and on whether your employer has an entity in Kenya. The most common forms of work authorization for Kenya are:

  • Special Pass (short-term work authorization)
  • Class D Work Permit (long-term work authorization)


Is it possible to be exempted from work authorization requirements?

Kenya does not offer work authorization exemptions.

What else should I know?

Inevitably, the legal and strategic considerations impacting visa selection, as well as visa waiver and work authorization eligibility, entail the careful consideration of many factors. We recommend that you consult with your immigration counsel before taking any course of action.


Copyright ©2024 Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. Government immigration agencies often change their policies and practices without notice; please consult an immigration professional for up-to-date information. This document does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. BAL maintains comprehensive immigration information and processing specifics for our clients.