Global Alerts

Kenya – In-Country Work Permits Suspended Indefinitely [UPDATED]

Effective immediately, the Kenyan government has suspended indefinitely the issuance of work permits and passes to foreign nationals who are already in Kenya, and has limited visa extensions. Applications for entry/work permits must be submitted while the foreign national worker is outside Kenya.

The Cabinet Secretary for Interior and Coordination of National Government issued a directive on December 10, 2018 that foreign nationals may not remain in or enter Kenya prior to the issuance of their permit or pass. This is not a new law but the enforcement of the existing Citizenship and Immigration Act.


Any foreign national found in the country without a valid permit or pass will be arrested and deported, only to be allowed to return when their permit or pass is issued. This also applies to those who are in Kenya pending approval of submitted applications.

The Cabinet Secretary also emphasized that work permits will not be issued for jobs for which there are qualified Kenyan candidates.

Visa extensions are to be limited to a single extension of up to one month.

Action items

Employers should ensure that all foreign national employees remain outside Kenya until their permit or pass is issued. This includes employees whose permit or pass has expired, and those with pending applications.

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