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When foreign nationals plan to visit Kenya for tourism or business purposes, obtaining the appropriate visa or pass is a crucial step. The choice of visa or pass depends on the nature of the visit and the desired duration of stay within the country. For tourists, the common choice is the visitor’s pass, which is valid for two months and can be extended through an application. However, this pass confines the holder to tourism activities alone, without permitting business engagement, employment seeking, or partnership formation.

Investing in Kenya: Unveiling the Special Pass

Foreign individuals with intentions to invest, explore business opportunities, or form strategic partnerships in Kenya have a dedicated option: “The Special Pass.” This pass serves as a key gateway for those seeking temporary engagement in business and trade activities. Issued under the Regulation 34(c) of the Kenya Citizenship and Immigration Regulations, 2012, the Special Pass, often referred to as a temporary work permit, offers a unique advantage. It allows a three-month renewable stay, enabling applicants to apply for the relevant work permit while conducting business activities on a provisional basis.

One of the primary appeals of the Special Pass is its facilitation of the application process for the Class D work permit. This permit is suitable for those who have received specific employment offers from Kenyan employers, government institutions, or authorized agencies like the United Nations. To qualify, applicants must showcase expertise or qualifications that are scarce within Kenya. Moreover, their engagement should contribute to the country’s development.

Understanding the Special Pass: A Deeper Dive

As per Regulation 3 of The Kenya Citizenship and Immigration Regulations, 2012, the Special Pass grants entry into Kenya within its specified period, allowing a stay of up to six months from the date of issuance. This window provides ample time for business exploration and networking while allowing holders to re-enter the country as needed during the pass’s validity. However, it’s essential to note that Special Passes cannot be renewed after six months, making efficient planning and use of the pass crucial.

The Synergy: Choosing the Right Path

Foreign nationals seeking business opportunities in Kenya are at a crossroads, choosing between the limited visitor’s pass and the dynamic Special Pass. While the former is suitable for short-term tourism, the latter serves as a strategic tool for individuals invested in Kenya’s economic landscape. By leveraging the Special Pass, individuals can make informed decisions, explore opportunities, and work towards obtaining the necessary permits for extended engagement.


Kenya’s visa and pass system is tailored to diverse needs, with the Special Pass emerging as a preferred choice for business-focused foreign nationals. The pass’s provision for temporary business activities, coupled with the opportunity to seamlessly transition to a work permit, showcases Kenya’s commitment to fostering a vibrant and inclusive business environment. Whether you’re a tourist or an investor, understanding these options is crucial for a successful and legally compliant stay in Kenya.

CR Advocates LLP has effectively facilitated the application and successful acquisition of diverse pass categories and essential work permits for a multitude of clients. Our expertise extends comprehensively to encompass all facets of immigration, labor, and employment matters, delivering bespoke legal services of the highest caliber. Our methodology is characterized by a pragmatic and innovative approach, ensuring expeditious outcomes within efficient timeframes for our esteemed clientele.


The information provided in this article is intended for general legal advice and does not constitute legal advice for a specific transaction or case. Since each transaction represents a unique legal context, it is advisable to retain a legal adviser for specific transactions.

To contact CR Advocates LLP, send us an email at or call +254 100979081 or Book a strategy call HERE or direct message us HERE on WhatsApp at your convenience. Our legal team will be happy to help you.