Introduction to the Business Investment Visa in Kenya
The Kenyan Business Visa is the necessary certificate one needs to conduct trade and investment in Kenya. Due to the nature of Kenya’s economic climate, it is one of the most sought-after certificates in the world of trading and investment.
Intention to invest requires a minimum of USD100,000 to be considered for application.
Why Choose Kenya for Investment Opportunities?
There are a multitude of reasons to choose Kenyan as a place of investment. From its thriving economy and socio-economic development to its strategic location and safety benefits, there’s no secret as to why Kenya is one of the most important investment locations in the world.
Understanding the Business Investment Visa:
Besides the usual benefits of having investment visas, a Business Investment Visa provides one with an avenue into the Central and Eastern African region, as well as a connection to various other countries accessed by the Indian Ocean.
Qualification Requirements for the Business Investment Visa
Minimum Investment Threshold
The minimum investment threshold for the application of a Business Investment Visa is USD100,000.
Types of Investments Allowed
There are a number of Business Investment Visas(Permits) that one can apply for, for Kenya.
The relevant ones are:
- Class A Permit – Investors in prospecting and mining
- Class B Permit – Investors in agriculture and animal husbandry
- Class F Permit – Investors in the manufacturing sector
- Class G Permit – Investors who intend to engage in specific business, trade, or consultancy.
Proof of Funds and Source of Investment
One must produce documentary proof of funds to be invested, as well as a Certified bank statement.
Eligibility Criteria for the Business Investment Visa
Age and Legal Capacity
In order to be considered eligible for a Class G Business Investment Visa(Permit) in Kenya, one must be able the age of 18 and have a valid passport and a registered company in Kenya.
Compliance with Immigration Laws
The work intended to be carried out must be legal within Kenya and comply with relevant immigration laws.
Business Investment Visa Application Process: Step-by-Step Guide
Gathering Required Documentation
First things first, one must register one’s company with the Registrar of Companies in Kenya.
Then one must apply for a local county business license, appropriate for the location of your business.
The required documentation for the Business is as follows:
- Documentary proof of capital to be invested of at least USD 100,000
- Certificate of incorporation of the company in Kenya
- Memorandum of Association
- Articles of Association
- Copy of PIN certificate of your company
- Duly filled and signed Visa Application Form
- A signed cover letter addressed to the Director of Immigration Services indicating your intent to engage in business in Kenya and your request for the visa to be duly processed.
- Copies of a national passport
- Recent coloured passport-sized photo
- Current Immigration status if you are already in the country
All documentation must be submitted in the English language and all pages or documents not submitted in English must be submitted with a translated page accompanying them.
Submitting the Application
Your application should be submitted along with relevant documentation.
Following the submission, one must pay the processing fees for the Business Investment Visa and application.
The government charges approximately Ksh 10,050 as a processing fee. Following approval of the visa, the investor must then pay Ksh 100,050 for 1 Year or Ksh 200,050 for two years..
Application Review and Processing Time
The officer in question in possession of your application will then review and process your application, which can take anywhere between 2 and 6 months.
Potential Risks and Liabilities for Business Investment Visa Applicants
Providing False Information
One must pay due diligence in providing the correct information in the application forms, otherwise, an application will be terminated.
Knowingly submitting false information makes one guilty of an offence and is liable, on conviction, to a fine not exceeding KES 1 million or imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years, or both.
Engaging in Prohibited Business Activities
Besides the standard list of illegal activities prohibited in Kenya, there are also a number of sectors deemed a security risk to the country, and as such are prohibited to investors.
- Power and Lighting
Non-Compliance with Tax Obligations
The law requires one investing in Kenya to pay certain taxes based on the income received; this includes everything from Income Tax, Pay As You Earn (PAYE) to Withholding tax.
Failure to do so will accrue penalties, specific to the type of tax not being paid.
Engaging Legal Professionals
It is highly recommended that you seek the advice of a lawyer or consultant in Kenya who is familiar with the various investment regulations within Kenya to guide you through the application process.
Conducting Due Diligence
One must insist on due diligence to be upheld throughout the application process and ensure that one conducts the necessary investigations, and review or audit the various facts and information provided regarding the application process.
Thoroughly Reviewing Application Materials
There are few application forms to fill out, all of which have materials attached to assist during the application process. It is highly recommended to have a qualified professional with you at the time of reviewing to alleviate as much confusion as possible.
Maintaining and Renewing the Business Investment Visa
Continuous Compliance with Investment Requirements
After a valid period of 2 years, a Business Investment Visa can be renewed. When renewing, one must ensure to produce audited accounts for the previous 2 years and a certificate of tax compliance from the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA).
A non-refundable processing fee of KES10,050 is also required, and after approval the Government fee of Ksh 100,050 (1 year) or 200,050 (2 years) is due.
Embracing Kenya’s Thriving Investment Environment
Kenya’s thriving investment environment is one that should be tapped into with great respect. The investment climate is very positive, made attractive by its strategic regional position, and incredible resiliency.
Unlocking Growth and Expanding Business Horizons
The potential growth of investment in Kenya is an addition to an investment portfolio that most investors should secure. The long-term economic growth potential in Kenya is an attractive addition and the high number of expatriates living and working in Kenya is a testament to that fact.
Navigating the Business Investment Visa Process Successfully
There are a number of ways one can navigate the Business Investment Visa Process seamlessly, starting with contacting relevant legal and financial professionals.
Following the laws and regulations, and ensuring due diligence is paid throughout, will guarantee a successful Business Investment Visa application.
Written by Simon Carletti, PR and Creative Supervisor