What is the change? Kenyan immigration authorities are no longer processing special pass applications that are filed at the same time as work permit applications.

What does the change mean? Employers who file the two applications together will have the special pass request rejected and will need to complete the lengthier work permit process before the employee may travel to Kenya.

  • Implementation time frame: Immediate and ongoing. 
  • Visas/permits affected: Special passes, work permits.
  • Business impact: Employers who want to apply for special passes should no longer submit their application simultaneously with the work permit application.
  • Next steps: Employees who need to start work in Kenya sooner should apply for a special pass alone, wait until it is issued, and then travel to Kenya and apply for a work permit.

Background: In August, Kenya’s Department of Immigration Services tightened up the issuance of special passes by banning applications from foreign nationals who are in the country. Special passes are a form of short-term work authorization and are widely used for temporary assignments.

Analysis & Comments: Employers and assignees who rely on special passes should be aware that their application will be rejected if it is filed at the same time as a work permit application. Foreign employees with accompanying family members should also note that immigration authorities have limited visitor visas to one month instead of three months to prevent unauthorized work while on a tourist visa. Family dependents, therefore, may wish to apply for their dependent visas before travel rather than enter Kenya on a tourist visa and risk having it expire before their dependent visas are approved.

Source: Deloitte LLP. Deloitte LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with registered number OC303675 and its registered office at 1 New Street Square, London EC4A 3HQ, United Kingdom.