Role of the Directorate – Kenyan Visa and Permit Applications


The Directorate of Immigration Services Kenya, under the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government, plays a crucial role in managing the immigration processes for expatriates and investors alike. 

The department aims to effectively facilitate and control the movements of people in and out the country. 

Key Benefits of the EFNS Portal

  • Convenience: The portal is accessible 24/7 from any location with an internet connection, allowing you to submit applications at your convenience.
  • Streamlined Process: The EFNS Portal streamlines the application process, reducing paperwork and processing times.
  • Real-Time Updates: The portal provides real-time updates on the status of your applications, ensuring you stay informed throughout the process.
  • Secure and Transparent: The platform maintains high levels of security, protecting sensitive information, and ensures a transparent application process.

The Authority and Mandate 

The Directorate of Immigration Services Kenya is responsible for regulating and overseeing the movement of people in and out of Kenya. Its primary concern is ensuring effective and efficient immigration services while maintaining a level of security and integrity throughout the country. 

The department oversees many internal systems and handles many tasks, including visa issuance, work visas, citizenship applications, passport services, and border control management. 

Visa(Permit) Categories 

There are 7 types of visas available for those looking to live and/or work in Kenya. They are: 

  • Class A: Mining work visa
  • Class B: Agriculture work visa
  • Class D: Offered to specific employment  
  • Class G: Investment visa for specific sectors 
  • Class I: Work/residence visafor missionaries 
  • Class K: Residence visa
  • Class M: Work visa for conventional refugees 

Visa and Permit Application Process 

Those who have obtained employment in Kenya are required to apply for a relevant Kenyan work visa. In most cases, the success rate depends on whether skilled labour for the position is available locally. 

Work visas are generally valid for a period of 2 years, with renewals permitted for an extra 2 years at a time. The number of renewals is unlimited but they need to be done at least 3 months prior to expiry. 

There is a list of required documents for every application, but most applications will require other more specific documents as well. 

Entry Requirements 

You will be eligible to apply for permanent residence in Kenya if you can hold work visas for at least seven years, and have been a continuous resident in Kenya for the three years immediately preceding the application for permanent residency. 

Application Submission 

Kenya has made it such that all applications for Visas(Permits) and Passes are made and submitted online accompanied by all the necessary requirements which should be uploaded. 

It is also possible for applicants to print out their own Visas, Permits and Passes from their eFNS Accounts once they are processed and issued. 

Application Processing 

The Department of Immigration in Kenya has a concise and systematic approach to handling immigration applications, but the process may differ based on the type of visa or permit being applied for. 

On submission of the application, the immigration officers sift through and review the documents to make sure they have been submitted correctly and meet the specified requirements. The department then conducts a background check on the applicant to make sure there are no security concerns. 

Security Screening and Background Checks 

The Department of Immigration carries out background checks and security screenings on applicants if suspicion arises, so as to ensure they are not a security threat. This can involve verifying the applicant’s criminal record, conducting security checks through various databases, and liaising with relevant law enforcement agencies as well. 

It’s incredibly important during this stage of the application process to comply with all procedures and requests in a respectful manner. 

Communication with the Department 

Make sure to continuously track your application throughout the process. If you find yourself with any questions or concerns during the application process, do not hesitate to reach out to the relevant immigration authorities or seek clarification from an official source. 

Because the entire application process takes place online, tracking your application is now much simpler. 

Decision-Making and Issuance 

Once all the necessary assessments are complete, the immigration officers make a judgment on the application. Your application can be approved or rejected, or they can make a request for additional information or clarification. 

There are a number of factors considered during the process, such as eligibility, compliance with immigration laws, etc. 

Appeal Process 

If you feel like you have been wrongfully refused a visa by the department, you can issue an appeal, which will take you through the legal process of resubmitting your application following instructions from the department. 

It is recommended that you make use of an immigration consultant during this process as well, as you don’t want to make a wrong decision and end up denied entry into the country. 

Visa Validity and Extensions 

Regrettably, not all visa(permit) types are eligible for renewal, but for those that are there is a renewal/extension process you can navigate. 

It requires heading to the main immigration office in Nairobi before your visa expires, and after submitting the relevant documents, waiting up to two weeks for your visa to be renewed. 

Compliance and Enforcement 

Always make sure to pay close attention to the instructions the Kenyan immigration authorities provide. Ensure that you meet all the eligibility criteria, adhere to the specified timelines, and provide the necessary information as required. 

If you fail to comply with the immigration guidelines, your application could suffer complications or rejections

Collaboration with Other Government Agencies 

The Directorate of Immigration Services Kenya is mandated to collaborate with other Ministries, Departments and Agencies regarding the Collection of Relevant Primary Data. 

The department aims to project, promote and protect Kenya’s interests by working alongside other relevant sectors and government agencies. 

Continuous Improvement 

Kenya is working to continue to improve its internal systems and processes in the hopes of promoting social and economic development.  

Kenya has been making waves by introducing and improving E-governance, intending to improve Kenya’s public services and strengthen the government’s support to the public. 

Resources and Online Platforms 

Thanks to Kenya’s incentive of pushing all application processes online, finding relevant platforms and resources has been made exponentially simpler. 

The Directorate of Immigration Services website offers all the information about immigration facilities and processes you need. 

Stakeholder Engagement 

The Directorate of Immigration Services Kenya makes sure to work closely with a wide variety of stakeholders, including the public, private sector, and international partners, to enhance its operations, promote efficiency, and ensure effective immigration management.  

Kenya’s public engagement ensures a sense of collaboration and inclusion within immigration management. This way, the stakeholders are involved, the public’s concerns are addressed, and Kenya’s immigration processes are efficient, secure, and beneficial for all. 


Kenya’s Department of Immigration is committed to efficiency, security, stakeholder engagement, and international cooperation and contributes to a well-managed immigration system that benefits both individuals and the country as a whole. 

Written by Simon Carletti, PR and Creative Supervisor

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