KENYA FILM VISAS AND PERMITS

Kenya Film Visa PermitTo get your film visas and film permits for Kenya takes some navigating, but once the process is underway, the turnaround is relatively quick.

Production companies are required to submit their film visa and film permit applications through a local agent registered with the ministry. This requirement is mandatory for all applications. The film visas and film permits approvals are subject to the project and includes all who are part of the project.

Whilst Kenya is very positive and pro-active about film crews coming into their country,  they experience massive volumes over ‘the season” (the animal migration) and there is little or no perceived benefit to the industry. Having said that, there is a big push to facilitate skills transfer and local industry growth.

It is also worth noting that due to the international demand and tourism trade, Kenya has a Dollar-based approach to costs, that is reflected in some areas, but it is still a very affordable filming destination. Read more about Kenya as a potential location for your production.

Contact FilmFixers if you would like help to apply for and process your film visas and films permits for Kenya.

Kenya Film Permit Visa

Kenya Film Commission

The first step of the process is to secure a film licence, which is issued by the Film Licencing Officer at the Department of Film Services at the Ministry of Information of Communications. Do not try and phone them – it is futile. Next, it is important to note that NO FOREIGN COMPANIES may submit a Film Licence application without going through a local agent.

The Ministry issues a comprehensive list of local agents – although many of them do not exist any more, or are not legitimate production companies.

Film Fixers works with a core of really good local agents and we have a fantastic relationship with them in this regard. The actual process is quite quick. They promise a 48 hour turn-around, but it can take longer, so build that into the timing. We can speed things up with some calls, but do not rely on that. Documentation required is quite comprehensive, and includes :

  • Formal letter of application.
  • Application form itself
  • List of all foreign crew members, giving names, nationalities, passport numbers and date of expiry of passports.
    Script and synopsis or storyboard.
  • List of equipment to be imported for shooting purposes, the value of each piece of equipment, etc. This is part of the process, and determines the fee for the equipment. Do not worry, it is not excessive.

There are fees involved (over and above the Agent Fee, which is negotiable depending on their involvement).

  • Initial Fee for documentaries, dramas, short features, advertising and stills – Kshs. 5000 (US$50)
  • Initial Fee for full length feature film – Kshs. 15,000 (US$150)
  • Filming fee per day – Kshs 1000 (US$10)
  • Filming Special Pass (per crew member) – US$150

This is a fairly lengthy process, with lots of discussions. Contact Filmfixers can manage all of this on your behalf.

Kenya Wildlife Filming Permit

Filming in Kenya Wildlife Parks

Any filming in any of the Kenya National Park locations is subject to a separate approval process as well as potentially more charges – depending on the scale of the production. When the filming permit from the Ministry of Information and Communication is applied for, an application needs to be (simultaneously) applied for filming in a National Park, through Kenya Wildlife Services. In most cases there will not be a charge – other than payment of the relevant park fees.

If, however, the crew is larger than 10 people, and the filming is deemed to have a potentially negative effect on the environment, Kenya Wildlife Services MAY apply specific conditions and fees. This can include a ‘surcharge’ of 15% of the total value of the Park fees incurred over the period (entry, staff, vehicles etc.). It is all subject to discussion and negotiation – which is where it is important to have the right Fixers on board.

 

Kenya equipment permit

Kenya Customs and Equipment

The inhibitive cost of ‘importing’ equipment into Kenya was scrapped over 8 years ago, making it a lot easier – and cheaper – to bring equipment in. A comprehensive list of all the equipment, including item name, description, serial number and value needs to be submitted as part of the initial Film Licence application through the agent. Equipment list must be attached to the film license application form. This will determine how much you pay at customs at the airport. Make sure you carry a physical list of the equipment you will be carrying. Customs will use this info to verify what you are carrying (it becomes a checklist). A nominal non-refundable fee of 1% of the value of the equipment or Ksh 30,000 (around EUR240) -whichever is less – is payable to the Customs Department on presentation of the film license.

 

Kenya Drone Permit

Kenya Drone Permit

Kenya are in the process of promulgating formal drone regualtions – we are expecting something concrete during the course of 2018 after draft regualtions were published in November 2017. The Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) is currently working on training standards and testing mechanisms to ensure that integration of drones in conventional airspaces does not risk safety and security.

Until now, there has been mixed messaging, with some government sources welcoming the technology and the jobs created, while it was still technically illegal to fly drones in Kenya, with hefty fines applicable. This, however, is aimed more at the recreational use and non-declaration for commercial use.

It IS legal to fly a drone commercially, provided you comply with regulations – and these are still being developed. To apply for a permit, one must possess Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) general knowledge, flight performance and navigation skills. The proposed regulations also require commercial drone owners to have security clearance from the Ministry of Defence and have trained pilots, among other things.