Kenyan Immigration goes online

The Kenyan Immigration has officially gone online! All applications including Visas, Special Passes, Work Permits, Alien Cards, Dependant Passes, Student Passes, etc. can now be submitted using an online portal.

How does it work?

Despite submitting applications via an online portal, a hard copy of the file still needs to be submitted to the Directorate of Immigration and Registration of Persons (DIS) for the applications to be assessed and verified. As a result, assignees and corporates will still be required to courier and deliver the original documents for assessment.

The benefits of the online system include:

  • Applications are processed timeously and more efficiently.
  • Since processing is now automated, less human interference is needed which will significantly reduce corruption within the DIS.
  • There is no longer a need to visit the DIS (which usually lasted an entire day). However, you’re not prevented from going to their offices should you want to speak to someone.
  • Special Passes are now issued within approximately 5–10 working days, while work permits are issued within two months.

Challenges currently experienced by the online system:

  •  The only real challenge is that since it’s still fairly new and many people are using it, the site is often down, which can result in the following:
    • a delay in the submission of an application;
    • a delay in the receipt of a notification;
    • a delay in the issuance of a Pass/Permit (worst case scenario).

However, despite the abovementioned challenges, Kenyan Immigration Officials really go above and beyond in order to be of assistance. Amongst other, officials:

  • Try to assist in the submission of applications if problems have been incurred for quite some time (check and provide guidance);
  • Provide verbal notifications if needed;
  • Should the Pass/Permit be in the collection room of the DIS, the DIS will enable it to be issued manually. The endorsement will then be recorded in order to update the online portal, once the site’s working condition has been restored.


Despite the initial teething issues, which can be expected with any newly-developed system, the online platform is truly a significant development in the advancement of Kenyan immigration services. Both corporates and expats are expected to benefit from this new virtual experience.