What is the change? Kenya’s nationwide work-permit verification audit is underway, requiring all work-permit holders to appear in person at the Department of Immigration Services in Nairobi.

What does the change mean? Foreign employees should take certain precautions before appearing, including making sure they bring the correct receipt—the receipt for their electronic payment acknowledgment—and that their account profile is activated. They should also be prepared to wait in line without sitting or protection from the elements for five to six hours. Officers are not allowing anyone besides the work-permit holder to stand in line, including representatives or consultants.

  • Implementation time frame: Immediate and ongoing.
  • Visas/permits affected: All work permits.
  • Who is affected: Companies employing foreign workers and all work-permit holders in Kenya.
  • Impact on processing times: Those who need to register should expect to wait in line for five to six hours.
  • Business impact: Employers are encouraged to have their expatriate employees complete the procedures as early as possible.
  • Next steps: Work-permit holders should prepare for the visit by confirming that they have the proper receipt and that their account is active. They should also bring an umbrella, water and snacks for the long wait.

Background: Kenya launched the work-permit verification drive May 21 to run for 60 days until July 21. All work-permit holders must appear in person to show the proper documents and have their fingerprints and photos taken. In the first week of the drive, authorities were operating with one computer, one fingerprint scanner and one camera. Foreign nationals who are uncertain whether their account profile is activated may go to a separate room (Room 16) where they can activate their account.

BAL Analysis: Foreign nationals registering their work permits should be prepared for long wait times and exercise patience, as military personnel are present and will remove anyone causing a disturbance.  

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

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