The Constitution of Kenya provides for acquisition of Kenya citizenship in two ways namely:

  1.  By Birth
  2. By Registration

1.Kenya Citizenship by Birth:

This is provided for under Article 14 of the Constitution of Kenya as read together with Clause 30 of the Sixth Schedule:-

  • One is a Kenyan by birth if at the time of his/her birth either the mother or father was a Kenyan citizen. This is regardless of where the person was born.
  • The following are also Kenyans by birth once their registration formalities are completed:-
  • Child found in Kenya who appears to be under 8 years of age and whose nationality and parents are not known is presumed to be a Kenya citizen by birth.
  • Person who is a Kenya citizen by birth but ceased to be so on acquisition of other citizenship before the promulgation of the new constitution, such a person is entitled on application to regain Kenya citizenship

2.Citizenship by Registration:

Spouse of a Kenyan

A  person who has been married to a Kenyan citizen for a period of 7 yrs is entitled on application to be registered  as a Kenya citizen provided that:-

  • The marriage was solemnized (in Kenya or outside Kenya) under a system of law recognized in Kenya.
  • applicant is not declared as a Prohibited Immigrant in Kenya; has never been convicted of an offence and sentenced to imprisonment for a term of 3 yrs. or longer
  • marriage has not been entered for purposes of acquiring a status or privilege in relations to immigration or citizenship
  • marriage is subsisting at the time of application

Lawful Residents

A person who has been ordinarily resident in Kenya for a continuous period of 7 years under the authority of a work permit and children (under 18 years) of a legal resident are also eligible for registration.

Widows and Widowers of a Kenyan Citizen

Section 12(1) of the Kenya Citizenship and Immigration Act, 2011 provides for:

  • A foreign national who has been married to a citizen who but for the death of the citizen would have been entitled, after a period of seven years, to be registered as a citizen of Kenya under section 11, shall be deemed to be lawfully present in Kenya for the unexpired portion of the seven years and shall be eligible for registration as a citizen on application in the prescribed manner upon expiry of the seven-year period.
  • The conditions for registration provided in section 11 shall apply to a widow or widower who has applied for registration under this section.
  • A widow or widower who marries a non-citizen before the expiry of the period of seven years shall not be entitled to acquire citizenship by registration under this section.

Children/Adopted Children

Section 13(3) of the Kenya Citizenship and Immigration Act, 2011 provides:

A child of a citizen by registration who was born before the parent acquired citizenship may on application by the parent or legal guardian be registered as a Kenya Citizen upon—

  • Production of documents conferring Kenyan Citizenship to any of the parents;
  • Production of the child’s birth certificate; and
  • Proof of lawful residence of the child in Kenya.

Section 14 of the Kenya Citizenship and Immigration Act, 2011 provides:

A child who is not a citizen, but is adopted by a citizen, is entitled on application in the prescribed manner by the adopting parent or legal guardian to be registered as a citizen upon—

  • The production of proof of the Kenyan citizenship of the adopting parent;
  • The production of a valid adoption certificate issued in a reciprocating state or other jurisdiction whose orders, decrees are recognized in Kenya; and
  • Proof of lawful residence of the child in Kenya.

By moseax

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