Types of Visas in Kenya

Visas

A visa is an official document that allows the bearer to legally enter a foreign country. The visa is usually stamped into the bearer’s passport. In Kenya, there are several types of visas for different reasons and having different requirements and rights in the country.

ORDINARY VISA

It is issued for Single or Multiple entries to persons whose nationalities require visas to enter Kenya. Intended for regular visitors, particularly businesspeople, who enter Kenya several times a year. It is valid for 6 months or one year.

The visa is issued by Immigration HQs in Nairobi, and can be applied for directly in Nairobi for some countries citizens. It can also be applied for through the Embassy in the country of origin.

Those visitors who travel to Tanzania and/or Uganda from Kenya, and wish to re-enter Kenya a second time (without leaving the territory of the three countries), must apply for a single entry visa (tourist/business) which will enable re-entry without obtaining another entry visa.

An ordinary visa may be one of the following:

  • Travel visas allow the bearer to enter a foreign country for touristic and leisure purposes only and stay for a predetermined amount of time. These visas do not entitle the holder to work or engage in any business activities in the host country.
  • A business visa allows the bearer to enter the host country and engage in business activities without joining that country’s labour market. For example, an individual may require a business visa if they are travelling to a country to do business with another company or if they are attending a business conference. The visitor typically must show that they are not receiving income from the country.

Requirements for single entry visa

  • Original and Photocopy of Passport (valid at least six months, 3 continuous blank pages)
  • Visa application form, duly completed and signed by the applicant
  • Passport-size photograph (3.5cm×4.5cm, in color, with signature on the back)
  • Itinerary/ flight schedule prepared by travel agents or airline companies, indicating; date, place of departure, arrival, and flight number (from departure to return to the country of the residence)
  • Invitation letter (for those visiting friends or family member in Kenya)
  • Recommendation letter from the company (for those going for short term business trips or volunteer activities)
  • Photocopy of certificate of Resident Card or Alien Registration Card (in color, both sides)
  • Photocopy of bio data page of passport (in color)
  • A payment fee of USD 51

Requirements for multiple entry visa

  • Passport (valid at least six months) + copy of the page containing the biographical data.
  • Visa application form, duly completed and signed by the applicant.
  • Two recent passport-size photographs.
  • Letter from the company/employer, stating the reason why several visits to Kenya are required and indicating whether the visa is to be valid for 6 months or for one year.
  • Invitation Letter from the Host or Organization to be visited in Kenya; or recommendation letter from the employer or the school (in the case of students); stating the reasons for the visit.
  • Letter from the applicant
  • Proof of applicant’s employment (copy of contract or staff identification card)
  • Copy of registration or incorporation certificate for the host company/organization
  • 3 recent single journey visas or multiple journey visa

TRANSIT VISA

Travellers may sometimes require transit visas in order to pass through a country that is not their destination country. Transit visas are typically required if you have a layover in a country of more than a few hours.

It is issued for periods not exceeding three days to persons whose nationalities require visas to enter Kenya and who intend to transit through Kenya to a different destination. Original and Photocopy of Passport (valid at least six months, 3 continuous blank pages)

  • Visa application form, duly completed and signed by the applicant
  • Passport-size photograph (3.5cm×4.5cm, in color, with signature on the back)
  • Itinerary/ flight schedule prepared by travel agents or airline companies, indicating; date, place of departure, arrival, and flight number (from departure to return to the country of the residence)
  • Onward ticket to the next destination
  • eVisa Printout
  • Supporting letter e.g. letter from company or Invitation letter for business visits/family visits
  • Hotel bookings/details about places to visit if going as tourist.
  • A payment fee of USD 21

DIPLOMATIC VISA

Issued for Single or Multiple entries to holders of Diplomatic passports who are on official duty. It has no charge as it is free.

  • Valid travel document not less than six months.
  • Must be a holder of a service, official and diplomatic passport
  • Must hold an official letter from the country of origin/ organization/ foreign affairs.
  • At least One Blank page in the holders passport.
  • Spouses and children accompanying Diplomatic, Service or Official passport holders on duty, but travelling on ordinary passports do not qualify for courtesy visa whether on transit, business or holiday.
  • An onward ticket or a boarding pass for passengers on transit.
  • In cases of applicants who fall under category 3 of the Visa regime / Regulations, the Kenyan visa regulations must apply whether on transit or official business.
  • Clear Passport bio data page.
  • A clear photograph.
  • No fee charged

COURTESY/ OFFICIAL VISA:

Issued to persons holding Official or Service passports on Official duty and to Ordinary passport holders who are not entitled to Diplomatic visa; but where it is considered by the Director to be desirable on the grounds of international courtesy.

EAST AFRICA TOURIST VISA:

This is a joint tourist visa that entitles holders to travel to and within the Republic of Kenya,Republic of Rwanda and Republic of Uganda for the purpose of tourism.

An East Africa Tourist Visa is multiple entries visa and shall be valid for 90 days. Applications for this visa shall be lodged at any of the diplomatic representation of the Republic of Kenya, Republic of Rwanda and Republic of Uganda, at the Immigration Offices of the respective countries or online where applicable.

REQUIREMENTS

  • Original and Photocopy of Passport
  • One clear colored passport size photo with white background recently taken without glasses, caps and surf; (the photo should be attached to the application form by use of glue stick. Stapling and clipping the photo to the application form is not advisable).
  • A complete filled application form.
  • Visa application letter addressed to the issuing authority of the concerned country.
  • E-tickets/ flight confirmation schedule prepared by travel agents or airline companies, indicating; date, place of departure, arrival, and flight number (whole schedule of going and returning)
  • Multiple entry fee of USD 101

REFFERED VISA/ REFUGEE VISA/ASYLUM VISA

Refugee visas and asylum visas can be granted to individuals fleeing persecution, war, natural disasters and other situations in which their life is at risk. Stateless persons and holders of refugee travel documents are also referred to the Director of Immigration Services. This type of visa applies to:

  1. Nationals of Countries, Classes and Categories of Persons who require referred Visa Click here;
  2. Applicants against whom there is some local objections or doubt in the country where the application is made;
  3. Stateless persons or persons not holding valid passports or other travel documents issued by their own country of nationality, including recognized refugee holders of the United Nations Refugee travel documents;
  4. Prohibited immigrants as enumerated under Section 33 (1) and (2) of the Kenya Citizenship and Immigration Act,2011.

The requirements for this category of visas are as follows:

  1. Three Visa application Form 22 to be duly filled, signed and dated;
  2. Original passport of the applicant with a validity of at least six months;
  3. Valid Passport/travel document of the applicant’s bio data page and page showing validity of at least six months;
  4. Three(3) current, clear and un-mounted passport size photographs not less than 6 months. 
  5. Three copies Applicant’s letter of request;
  6. Invitation letter from the host in Kenya;
  7. Three Copies of National Identity Card of the host in Kenya;
  8. Processing period is within 6 to 8 weeks from the time the Embassy receives the application request but this may be longer on case to case basis;
  9. Certificate of registration and an invitation letter from the company.
  10. Marriage certificate for visiting spouse.
  11. Doctor’s letter, the patient passport and Kenyan residence permit for visiting a sick relative.
  12. Processing fees
  13. A self-address envelope with sufficient stamps, international coupons or click here for information on postal charges.


The possession of a visa for Kenya is not the final authority to enter Kenya. The Immigration Officer at the port of entry may refuse such a person permission to enter if he is satisfied that such a visitor is unable to fulfil the immigration requirements and that the entry and presence of such a visitor.

In Kenya it would be contrary to national interests even though such a person may be in possession of a valid visa for Kenya, provided that any such refusal is consented to by the Director of Immigration Services Nairobi, his Deputy or Provincial Heads of Immigration at Mombasa, Kisumu, and Garissa or any other Senior Officer so authorized to deputize.

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Silvana
Silvana
Silvana & Associates Advocates is a premier medium-sized law firm established in 2014 and based in the Metropolitan City of Nairobi. We offer Corporate and Commercial Law services.