Fast retrieval methods are critical for large-scale and data-driven vision applications. Recent work has explored ways to embed high-dimensional features or complex distance functions into a low-dimensional Hamming space where items can be efficiently searched. However, existing methods do not apply for high-dimensional kernelized data when the underlying feature embedding for the kernel is unknown. We show how to generalize locality-sensitive hashing to accommodate arbitrary kernel functions, making it possible to preserve the algorithm’s sub-linear time similarity search guarantees for a wide class of useful similarity functions. Since a number of successful image-based kernels have unknown or incomputable embeddings, this is especially valuable for image retrieval tasks. We validate our technique on several large-scale datasets, and show that it enables accurate and fast performance for example-based object classification, feature matching, and content-based retrieval.