Frequently Asked Questions

In 2014 the Department International Trade (DIT) launched an initiative to double UK exports by 2020. As part of this, they undertook to build on existing British business networks, providing them with financial support to offer more services and be part of a global brand. In Kenya, the British Business Association of Kenya (BBAK) had been in existence for many years and agreed to support this initiative – membership is therefore formally in the BBAK for legal and fiscal reasons.
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Ethiopia - has an informal group organised via DIT officers in the Embassy
Rwanda – the High Commission have an officer responsible for promoting UK-Rwanda
Somalia – nothing yet
South Sudan – nothing yet
Tanzania – already has a thriving British Business Group in Tanzania, with chapters in Dar es Salaam and Arusha.  DIT officers in the High Commission
Uganda – the High Commissioner holds informal breakfasts for British business. DIT officers in the High Commission
We have informal links to all of these and can provide introductions and contact details, as well as to the DIT offices.

We have a very close working relationship with the DIT officers in the British High Commission, Nairobi, co-ordinating our support to events, contacts etc; and the CEO works out of the High Commission for part of the week. In addition, the BCCK receives funding from DIT in London as part of the Overseas Business network Initiative.
Our services are complimentary but different. The BCCK focuses on delivering networking, information, advocacy and marketing to members – many of whom may not qualify for DIT support.  DIT predominantly support UK companies coming to Kenya and will increasingly use BCCK for contact management and to organise events. Many of DIT’s services are chargeable.
On red listing
  • We know the UK’s decision to add Kenya to the ‘red list’ was an unwelcome addition to a year of lives disrupted. We recognise the strength of feeling and anger, both at the decision itself and the timing. Our relationship is a partnership, based on mutual respect and trust, and we know many have felt hurt by this.
  • Kenya’s inclusion on the UK’s country red list is not a reflection of the importance we place on our relationship with Kenya. Fifty six countries are on the same list, including Pakistan, UAE, South Africa and India.
  • But the scientific evidence - and the concern about variants – is critical to decisions to red list and de-list. As for the Government of Kenya, the UK Government’s top priority is the safety of our citizens, managing the risk to UK public health remains the Government’s top priority.
  • Whilst over half of UK adults have had their second vaccination, it is unclear how effective existing vaccines are against some emerging variants. The UK wants to take all necessary measures to avoid a further lockdown as a result of the introduction of new variants.
  • UK Ministers have therefore taken the decisions to the red list countries to help prevent the spread of variants of concern to the UK.
  • Decisions to introduce or remove countries from the red list are in direct response to the latest scientific and medical data showing an increased risk to UK public health and community transmission. As with all our coronavirus measures, we keep the red list under constant review and our priority remains to protect the health of the UK public.
  • The traffic light system categorises countries based on risk to public health and the vaccine rollout from variants of COVID-19. The Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC) produces risk assessments of countries and territories. Decisions on Red, Amber or Green List assignment and associated border measures are taken by Ministers, who take into account the JBC risk assessments, alongside wider public health factors. Key factors in the JBC risk assessment of each country include:
    • genomic surveillance capability
    • COVID-19 transmission risk
    • Variant of Concern transmission risk

A summary of the JBC methodology is published on gov.uk, alongside key data that supports Ministers' decisions.
  • These are temporary measures that are kept under review and the Government will continue to be guided by the latest scientific evidence. Before red listing, people arriving from Kenya already had to quarantine, red listing just means they have to do so in a hotel as part of a the wider regime
On de-listing
  • The UK’s “traffic light” system is regularly reviewed. Data is reviewed to assess risks including the prevalence of new variants of concern, border measures, measures to control community transmission and genomic sequence testing to trace the emergence and spread of new variants.
  • Changes will ensure public health continues to be prioritised as travellers are required to continue following strict rules on testing and self-isolation.
  • In the interests of continuing to protect public health, the public are being discouraged from leisure travel to countries categorised as ‘Amber’ and ‘Red’.
  • Our Foreign Ministries have setup a Joint Committee to chart the way forward on COVID-19 restrictions in a structured manner. Meetings between scientists and diplomats on all of the affected issues are continuing.
  • The UK is also continuing to improve our understanding of how effective different vaccines are against COVID-19 variants, which inform our assessment of the risks these variants pose to the UK.

  • Visa Application Centres in Kenya are open for applications in Nairobi and Mombasa.
  • There have been changes at the UK border because of COVID-19. We will continue accept all categories of visa applications in red list countries. We are still processing Student and Skilled Worker visa applications in red list countries including Kenya. However, we have paused issuing visit visas until UK travel restrictions are lifted. This means parents applying from red list countries will not be able to accompany students to the UK as they will not be issued a Visit visa.
  • Applications for transit visas and visas for work, study or residence in the UK continue to be processed from all red list locations.
  • If you applied for your visit visa before Kenya was added to the red list and want to get your passport back whilst your application is being considered, you should contact the VAC at which you applied. You will be contacted by the VAC to resubmit your passport once a decision has been made on your visa application. If you have an outstanding visit visa application that you have not withdrawn, once the pause has been lifted you will be notified of your decision and how to collect your passport from the VAC.
  • Whilst the pause remains in place, we will continue to refuse applications that do not meet the requirements of the immigration rules and inform customers if their application is unsuccessful.

Hotel Quarantine
  • International visitors who have departed from or transited through a Red list country in the previous 10 days will be refused entry into England. Only British and Irish citizens, or those with residence rights in the UK (including long-term visa holders e.g. Student, Skilled Worker visa holders), will be allowed to enter. All arriving passengers must stay in a government-approved quarantine facility for 10 days. Please visit GOV.UK for the latest quarantine views: Red, amber and green list rules for entering England - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Compassionate reasons
  • If you need to travel urgently for compassionate reasons, you’ll need to apply for a visa in the usual way, including submitting biometrics at the VAC. You should clearly explain the compelling or compassionate reasons for your visit in your application form and alert the VAC staff during biometric submission. You’ll be contacted by UKVI once your application has been received.
  • If you do not hear from UKVI or your request is exceptionally urgent, you can also contact UK Visas and Immigration for help. Please note that this is a chargeable service for overseas customers.

  • There are a very limited number of exemptions for red list countries. The list of exemptions for jobs and medical or compassionate reasons, is reviewed regularly. Information can be found here on GOV.UK. For guidance on exemptions from managed quarantine for medical and compassionate reasons please visit GOV.UK.
The new Points-based system
  • The UK introduced a new points based system which will treat people from every part of the world equally, based on the skills they have to offer and not where they are from. The new immigration system includes changes to existing visa routes for workers and students, providing an easier and streamlined process for all customers.

Graduate Route
  • Applications for the post-study graduate visa route open on 1 July 2021. This will make it easier for Kenyan graduates to work in the UK.

Wider UK-Kenya relationship
  • We have a longstanding and strategic partnership, from security, trade, development, people-to-people ties and tackling climate change. Reflecting the importance of the UK-Kenya bilateral relationship, we have had visits by the Foreign Secretary, the Defence Secretary, the Minister for Africa, the President of COP26, and the UK trade envoy for Kenya this year. We signed a refreshed Security Compact when the Defence Secretary visited. Together, we have put in place a trade deal to allow the continuity of trade between our two countries. We look forward to welcoming President Kenyatta to the UK in July to co-host the Global Partnership for Education summit with Prime Minister Johnson.

Requirements for travel
  • Travel Advice is regularly updated and provides information about travel to Kenya and entry requirements for the UK. The link to Covid-19 guidance on GOV.UK is found here
  • British nationals requiring consular assistance in-country can find further information on the BHC website here. There is a Consular enquiry form for British nationals available on: https://www.gov.uk/world/organisations/british- high-commission-nairobi
  • If you’re in Kenya and you need urgent help (for example you’ve been attacked, arrested or someone has died), call +254 (0) 20 2873000 or +254 (0) 20 2844000. If you’re in the UK and are worried about a British national in Kenya, call +44 (0) 20 70085000. Consular assistance is available 24/7. When calling please stay on the line and select the option for ‘calling about an emergency involving a British National’ to speak to a consular officer.

UK support on COVID
  • Vaccine programme in Kenya: Kenya is a trusted friend and ally and we have had a fantastic partnership on COVID-19. The UK is one of the major donors to COVAX, the facility which provided Kenya with their first million doses of AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccines. At the G7 Summit in June, G7 countries, including the UK pledged over 1 billion doses - either directly or through funding to COVAX – that includes 100 million from the UK – which is another big step towards vaccinating the world.
  • The UK has already committed KES 82 billion (£548 million) to the COVAX Advanced Market Commitment (AMC). Our commitment helped encourage other donors to commit KES 108 billion ($1 billion) by the end of 2020. Our funding will contribute to the supply of at least 1.8 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines in 2021 for up to 92 developing countries.
  • We have joined the self-financing mechanism, contributing KES 10.6 billion (£71m), to supplement our bilateral agreements.
  • We have made new commitments worth up to KES 195 billion (£1.3 billion) of ODA to counter the health, economic, and humanitarian impacts of COVID-19 worldwide and to support the global effort to distribute vaccines equitably. In addition, in 2020, the UK adapted development programming amounting to more than KES 105 billion (£700 million) of ODA.
  • Our KES 51 billion (£340m) core contribution to the WHO (2020 -2024) is a significant uplift on public health.
  • We are working through the IFIs to ensure governments and businesses in developing countries can access affordable financing and advisory support. With UK support, the Multilateral Development Banks have made over $200bn available to developing countries. We have also committed an additional £2.2bn loan to the Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust Fund which provides financing to the poorest countries.

We have previously provided short-term technical assistance to the Ministry of Health to help them prepare for the COVID vaccine roll-out in Kenya.