Understanding the Kenyan Immigration System and its Application Process
Kenya has many visa-exempt countries. You can also seek an eVisa, which is an authoritative PDF document that allows visitors to travel to Kenyan entry points without the need for a Visa. They are then given the right to enter the country by the immigration officer. The application process is simple and quick and can be done entirely online.
Understanding the Immigration Requirements
Research is always necessary when considering immigration, and you need to fully understand what type of visa you’re looking for, how long you’re planning on staying, and what kind of work you intend on doing. You should also ensure that you have all necessary documentation well before considering submitting an application.
It’s also recommended to seek professional guidance from local immigration consultants who are familiar with the process.
Researching the Visa Options
Considering the different types of Visas available for immigration purposes, it would make sense for there to be separate requirements and restrictions attached to each Visa type.
There are 6 types of Visas and Permits available ranging from a Single Entry Visa to a 5-year Multiple Entry Visa and Permit. Each one has separate criteria for eligibility and you need to ensure that you’re making the correct decision regarding your application process.
Preparing the Required Documentation
Depending on the type of visa you require, you will be expected to provide different documents in your application. This is alongside the standard photos and copies of relevant identity documents.
For most visits, business or pleasure, you will need a letter from the relevant party involved in your visit (whether that be from a family member or an employer) as well as a valid identity or registration document.
Meeting the Financial Requirements
Once again, the financial requirements to enter Kenya depend entirely on the type of visa you’re applying for, but in all cases you need to be able to provide proof of funds, showing that you have the financial capacity to survive in Kenya.
There are a number of ways to do this, such as producing bank statements, proof of accommodation, or proof of subsidy or sponsorship.
Submitting a Complete Application
You should never submit forms or applications without first running through and checking all the finer details.
In these instances, having a professional – or an outside opinion – assist in this regard can be a fantastic help.
Submitting a form online is quick and straightforward. The processing time for a visitor visa applications can take a few days, and a business visa, a few weeks. Once approved, the visa will be forwarded to your email inbox.
Because of this, it is recommended to submit applications at least 7 days prior to the intended entry date.
Communication with the Immigration Authorities
There are a number of relevant authorities to contact regarding immigration, and much, in the same way, you’d expect them to respond quickly and reliably, you should extend them the same courtesy.
It’s also important to make sure that you have all the relevant information when getting into contact with the immigration authorities.
It is far better to tell the truth and be honest on your application than lie, as the consequences of fraudulent information can and will be severe.
Always make sure that even if you fully believe the information you produce on your applications is correct, someone qualified has read through and fact-checked so as to save you the costly time delay, further along the line.
Following Up on the Application
You can and should consistently track your visa status online. Because application processes are completed online, you will be able to track your application status online through a corresponding tracking number.
Naturally, if you feel like the application is going nowhere, you should feel comfortable reaching out to the relevant immigration office authorities via email or phone number, or to an immigration expert.
Responding to Application Outcomes
To be approved for your visa is the outcome you expect, but often things can go wrong.
Unfortunately, appealing a denied travel visa is not possible, but it does not stop you from reapplying in the future.
A visa or long-term permit ban, suggests that you have done something wrong, and now have a mark on your permanent record, whereas a rejection simply means that something is missing in your paperwork, and you will need to reapply.
A visa application process takes up a lot of time and energy, and so naturally being refused or rejected would warrant an appeal. In most cases, you will receive a reason as to why you have been denied a visa.
If not, and you feel like you have been wronged, it is strongly advised to seek immigration consultation in drafting an appeal letter. These letters must be rooted in facts, rules, and laws, that explain why you should not have been denied. Every country has its own rules, so it’s important to be in contact with someone from that country to assist in the process.
Renewal and Extension
Extending or Renewing a visa/permit requires you to go to the main immigration office in Nairobi before your visa/permit expires. The process can take up to two weeks, so it is advised to go through at least two weeks prior to your visa’s expiry. You should also make sure you have all the required documents including, evidence of economic assistance.
While most immigration laws and policies won’t be changing on a regular basis, it is still important to ensure that you are keeping up to date with the latest news on visas and immigration.
Consider subscribing to Blogs and Newsletters to ensure you’re kept up to date.
Adapting to Cultural Differences
Kenya is one of the most culturally rich environments in Central and Eastern Africa.
Kenyan business is built on respect and integrity, and it is important to understand this and respect the business culture.
Understanding and appreciating Kenya’s culture can greatly enhance your experience and relationships both personal and business-related.
There are a number of things to consider when navigating the Kenyan immigration system, all of which revolve around ensuring proper research and preparation is done well in advance.
Allow ample time for submitting documents, and ensure that you have at all times the correct documents with the correct information submitted. And finally, don’t be afraid to seek professional assistance throughout the process.
Written by Simon Carletti, PR and Creative Supervisor