This article delves into the intricacies of Business Visas(Permits) in Kenya, exploring their importance, eligibility criteria, application process, evaluation, and approval procedures. Additionally, we will discuss the renewal and extension process, the circumstances under which a permit can be terminated or revoked, and the appeal process for denied permits.
Understanding the Importance of a Business Visa
A Kenyan Business Visa(Permit) grants the applicant numerous financial benefits and opportunities in Kenya. With a Business Permit, applicants can establish and expand their business, invest in various sectors, and contribute to the growth of the Kenyan economy.
Eligibility Criteria for Applying for a Business Investment Visa in Kenya
Applicants must demonstrate a genuine intention to invest in Kenya’s economy. Applicants must also possess the financial resources to fund the investment. The threshold is a minimum of 100,000USD.
Applicants do not qualify if they have a criminal record.
Processing Time and Steps to Apply
It takes 1-2 weeks for the immigration office to receive the application.
Timeline: 2-3 months if no delays are encountered. Once approval is issued the government payment will be paid and a security bond prepared.
A security bond is a form of financial guarantee that is required by the Kenyan government. The security bond is intended to ensure that the foreign national will comply with the conditions of their visa and will not pose a risk to national security or become a burden on the Kenyan government.
- Upload payment by attaching approval, swift proof of payment, security bond, and payment receipt
- Take the hard copies of the uploaded payment to the immigration office for issuance of the visa which takes 1-2 weeks after submission
- Copy of Passport
- Approval slip
- Government Invoice generated from EFNS portal and swift payment or bank slip
- Original Security bond and receipt
- Issuance of visa is completed online
The Alien card is a document that is issued by the Kenyan government to foreign nationals. The card contains information such as the foreign national’s name, passport number, date of birth, nationality, and place of residence in Kenya.
- An alien application generates automatically once the E-Visa has been issued
- Confirm if all the captured details are correct if not you make the amendment and print out form 50 and share it with Assignee for signing.
- Pay 2050Ksh Government Fee via Mpesa
- Check the available dates for biometrics and book. The assignee has to appear in person for biometrics
- Two recent passport photos on white background (Hard Copies)
This process takes 6-8 weeks if delays are not encountered.
Gathering Required Documents for the Application
- Copy of your national passport (biographical page in the passport)
- Copy of your immigration status, if in Kenya OR previous visas and/or visas held (visa page in the passport), if applicable
- Proof of residence for the current residential country
- Certified and translated copies of Academic/Professional Certificates
- Signed application Form 25
- Recent clear passport-sized photo on white background (Soft Copy)
- ORIGINAL covering letter from your company’s office in Kenya and addressed to THE DIRECTOR OF IMMIGRATION SERVICES, Nyayo House, Nairobi, KENYA
- Documentary proof of capital to be invested at least USD 100,000
- Certificate of incorporation of the company
- Memorandum of understanding
- Articles of association
- Shareholding certificate (CR 12)
- Copy of PIN certificate
- Signed audited accounts for the last one year (for renewals)
- Tax compliance certificate from KRA (for renewals)
Evaluation and Approval Process for a Business Visa
Upon application submission, it is carefully reviewed to ensure the investment aligns with the country’s development objectives. During this stage, additional scrutiny may be conducted, including background checks on the applicant and their business associates. It is important to remain patient during this phase, as the evaluation process may take some time.
Receiving the Business Visa and Its Validity
Once the evaluation is complete, and the application is approved, the applicant will be issued a Business Investment Visa(Permit). This visa serves as official documentation, granting the holder legal permission to invest and conduct business activities in Kenya.
The Investor Visais typically valid for one to two years, depending on the investment plan and other factors, such as industry or sector. This can be renewed.
Rights and Privileges of Business Visa Holders in Kenya
Business Visa/Permit holders in Kenya enjoy a range of rights and privileges that contribute to their ease of doing business. These include:
- Freedom to establish and operate businesses.
- Owning property.
- Engaging in trade and investment activities.
- Hiring of both local and foreign employees.
Visa holders also have the flexibility to bring their immediate family members, including spouses and dependent children, to reside with them in Kenya.
They can also freely enter and exit the country, making travel convenient for business purposes.
Renewal and Extension of a Business Visa
As the validity of a Business Visa approaches its expiration date, visa holders must begin the renewal or extension process to maintain their legal status in Kenya.
This involves submitting a new application along with updated information, such as audit reports and compliance records.
The renewal process should be submitted well in advance to avoid any gaps in the visa’s validity, or possible government delays.
Termination and Revocation of a Business Visa(Permit)
In certain circumstances, a Business Visa may be terminated. This can occur if the visa holder fails to comply with the conditions outlined in the visa, engages in illegal activities, or poses a threat to national security or public interest.
Appeal Process for a Denied Business Visa
In the event of a denied Business Investment Visa (Permit), applicants can appeal the decision.
Applicants can submit a formal appeal, providing additional information or addressing any concerns raised during the evaluation process.
To improve the chance of overturning a denied adjudication, applicants must follow the prescribed appeal process, adhere to the timelines, and provide compelling arguments or evidence to support the appeal. Engaging immigration consultants during this stage can significantly improve the chances of a successful appeal.
Documents in foreign languages MUST be translated into English by the Embassy, Public Notary, authorised/recognised institution.
Immigration may request a meeting or extra document if they feel what you have provided is not sufficient.
The validity of your passport should exceed the intended duration of your stay for at least 30 days.
Obtaining a Business Visa opens a gateway to benefits and opportunities in Kenya. It allows foreign investors to actively participate in the country’s economic growth, establish businesses, and contribute to job creation.
Business Visa holders enjoy various rights and privileges, including buying property, engaging in trade and investment activities, and bringing their families to reside with them.
Although the application process involves several steps, the rewards make it a worthwhile endeavour.
Written by Simon Carletti, PR and Creative Supervisor