Introduction

In 2010, Kenya endorsed a new constitution via a referendum, and the answer to all those seeking dual citizenship in Kenya was finally in black and white. The promulgation of the new constitution paved the way for dual citizenship for Kenyans.

Hence, a citizen by birth does not lose their citizenship by acquiring citizenship by naturalization. And despite the process kicking off with challenges leading to a backlog, the Kenyan government assigned a rapid response team at the Kenya Immigration Offices in Kenya and abroad to work tirelessly and ease the application process. It is a step in the right direction to create more economic opportunities for investment in the country.

Then, are you a foreigner who wants to invest and reside in Kenya for a long time? Or, are you a Kenyan in the Diaspora wishing to regain your Kenyan citizenship? What about your kids born to Kenyan parents living abroad? Let’s explore your options for dual citizenship for Kenyans below: –

 

Understanding the Concept of Dual Citizenship for Kenyans

 

Dual citizenship is a legal status that allows an individual to have more than one nationality or citizenship. It is permissible in Kenya. And as per the Kenyan constitution, one can become a citizen by birth or registration. Still, anyone interested in acquiring dual citizenship for Kenya must disclose their dual citizenship immediately they gain their new citizenship status.

 

Who May Need Kenyan Dual Citizenship?

Dual Citizenship for Kenyans

Note that there are instances when a Kenyan can acquire dual citizenship automatically. For example, per the new 2010 Kenya Constitution, a person born outside Kenya is deemed a citizen of Kenya by  birth if they can prove that one or both their parents is or was a Kenyan citizen at the time of their birth. Hence, this person assumes citizenship of Kenya and that of their resident country until they reach 22 years, when they can choose to renounce one of the citizenship status, if they so wish.

Other persons who may want to acquire dual citizenship for Kenyans include: –

  • Foreigners lawfully resident in Kenya
  • Naturalized Kenyans in the Diaspora wishing to renew their revoked Kenyan citizenship
  • Children born in a foreign country to Kenyan national parents or guardians
  • A Kenyan citizen who renounced or lost their Kenyan citizenship upon attainment of the age of 22 years

 

Potential Benefits of Dual Citizenship for Kenyans

Dual citizenship for Kenyans diversifies their economic options while cushioning them, their loved ones, and their wealth from adversities. Think of the recent Coronavirus pandemic where persons with dual citizenship to Kenya would reside in the other country if it had zero or minimal cases of Covid-19 reported. And anyone fleeing war, famine, or political instability may use their dual citizenship to escape to Kenya. Besides, dual citizenship is proof that the individual has a clear criminal record.

A Kenyan with dual citizenship gains the following rights in Kenya: –

  • Enter and leave the country as they so wish
  • Remain and reside anywhere in Kenya for as long as they wish
  • Register to become a voter and elect political leaders in Kenya’s general elections
  • Own land, property, and other assets in any part of the country as per the Kenyan law

 In turn, the person enjoys the following benefits and privileges: –

  • Possess irrevocable passports and citizenship in both countries to enter and leave either country with relative ease
  • Diversify the number of countries they can visit without a visa
  • Enjoy government protection from both countries
  • Start companies, open bank accounts, and transact business freely between the two countries
  • Register assets in either country with no restrictions
  • Vote in both countries (subject to the laws in the other country)
  • Access social services systems in both countries
  • Tap into the beneficial tax regimes in either country (e.g. lower property taxes, transfer taxes, zero tax on capital gains)
  • Have full control of their wealth to attain life and financial security that guarantees peace of mind for them and their families

 

Duties of a Kenyan with Dual Citizenship

Any foreigner who is now also a citizen of Kenya after applying for dual citizenship is obliged to: –

  • Pay full allegiance to the state and the constitution of Kenya
  • Obey the laws of Kenya as stipulated in the Constitution
  • Pay their taxes as stipulated under the Kenyan laws
  • Promote the values and principles prescribed in the Kenya constitution
  • Respect and observe the unity and peaceful co-existence of Kenyans at home and abroad

 

Potential Setbacks to Dual Citizenship for Kenyans:

Dual Citizenship for Kenyans

1.      Double Taxation and the Determination of Kenyan Tax Residency

Now, anyone with dual citizenship is liable to the laws of Kenya and the second country. In turn, the new citizenship status may expose you to double taxation. Indeed, the income of a Kenyan living abroad may or may not be subject to tax in Kenya depending on their country of residence, nature, and source of income. And, if it is determined that you were a tax resident in Kenya for that particular year (even for a day), the employment income you earn globally becomes subject to tax in Kenya. Hence, you may be liable for paying income tax to the Kenya government. 

Here are the guidelines for determining your Kenyan tax residency status: –

  • Kenyans earning income abroad but physically present in Kenya (permanent home or visiting for a substantial period)
  • Kenyans earning income abroad, with no permanent home in Kenya, but were physically present in the country for 183 days or longer in that year of income
  • Kenyans earning income abroad, with no permanent home in Kenya, but were physically present in the country for 122 days in two preceding years of income

2.      Prohibition from Taking up Public Office in Kenya or Abroad

Second, Article 78 and 137 of the Kenya Constitution prohibits a state officer or a member of defense forces from having dual citizenship. In turn, any Kenyan with dual citizenship cannot hold a public office (in Kenya or be appointed to represent the country abroad by working at Kenya missions abroad) or vie for any elective office in the country. That way, the law avoids instances where this state officer has to choose between paying allegiance to Kenya or another foreign country. This person must first renounce their second nationality before being allowed to contest for political office in Kenya or being posted to a Kenya mission abroad.

 

Validity of Kenyan Dual Citizenship         

A Kenyan by birth does not lose their citizenship when acquiring the citizenship of another country. In contrast, a foreigner who acquired Kenyan citizenship as additional citizenship can revoke it to maintain their citizenship by birth.

 

Applying for Dual Citizenship in Kenya

Dual Citizenship for Kenyans

1.      Meet the Qualification Criteria

Anyone interested in applying for dual citizenship in Kenya must be at least eighteen years old and above. And, if a foreigner legally adopts children of Kenyan citizens, the children cannot apply for dual citizenship to add the citizenship of their adoptive parents until the adoptive parents also finalize their dual citizenship application. Hence, the adoptive parents must also be Kenyan citizens before their children attain citizenship in the foreign country.

2.      Make an Online or Manual Dual Citizenship Application

Online Application

If you are applying online while residing in Kenya, ensure you are lawfully present in the country.

Documents Needed

  • A copy of your birth certificate
  • A copy of your Kenyan passport
  • A copy of your foreign passport
  • A copy of your Kenyan national identification card
  • A copy of your foreign citizenship certificate
  • Two passport size photographs
  • A copy of your police clearance certificate

The Steps

  • Visit the Kenya Department of Immigration Services Foreign Nationals portal (eFNS) at https://fns.immigration.go.ke/
  • If you already have an eCitizen account, use its login credentials to sign in to eFNS, otherwise, use your national ID (for Kenyan citizens) or foreigner certificate (foreigners resident in Kenya) to create your eFNS account
  • Login to your eFNSaccount using your email address, ID number, passport number or alien number, and password
  • Go to the navigation menu and select “Apply Now”
  • Click “Submit Applications”
  • Select “Dual Citizenship”
  • Confirm that you have all the necessary documents or meet the pre-requisites as listed above
  • Click on “Apply Now”
  • Fill out the application form by providing the following details: –
  • Your full names and gender
  • Postal and email addresses
  • Telephone number
  • Passport numbers
  • The Immigration File Number
  • Physical address abroad, if any
  • Current citizenship status (Kenyan By or Other Nationality By)
  • Country, place, and date of birth
  • Current residence at the time of applying for the dual citizenship
  • Upload the required documents 
  • Click “Continue” 
  • Print your filled application

Even after making an online application for your dual citizenship, you must appear in person at the immigration offices in Kenya or Kenya missions abroad for digital photo and biometrics capture. Hence, present the filled dual citizenship application printout to the immigration department offices near you or the Kenya missions abroad. Here, you will be required to provide your digital photo and signature, fingerprints, and submit the necessary documents.

 

Applications at the Immigration Offices of the Kenya Missions Abroad

Documents Needed

  • A copy of your birth certificate
  • A copy of your Kenyan passport
  • A copy of your foreign passport
  • A copy of your Kenyan national identification card
  • A copy of your foreign citizenship certificate
  • Two passport size photographs
  • A copy of your police clearance certificate

The Steps

Even though you are applying for dual citizenship at the immigration offices in Kenya or Kenya missions abroad, you still need to visit the Kenya Department of Immigration Services Foreign Nationals portal (eFNS) at https://fns.immigration.go.ke/. Here, you will fill out online application form 3, print it, and submit it to the immigration offices alongside the other required documents listed above. Here are the steps: –

  • Collect all the required documents, including the printout of the duly filled online application form 3
  • Submit these documents to the Kenya immigration office near you
  • Provide a digital photo, signature, and fingerprints

Once you complete your application for dual citizenship online or at a Kenya immigration office, wait to receive an automatic notification via email or your eFNS account. Ideally, Kenya immigration offices process dual citizenship applications within 15 working days.

 

Case Studies

 

1.      Case Study 1: Applying for Dual Citizenship in Kenya for a Foreigner

Are you a foreign investor residing in Kenya for a long time? You can now acquire dual citizenship in Kenya if you meet the following eligibility requirements: –

  • Meet the minimum number of years residing in Kenya, that is 7 consecutive years preceding your application
  • Be a Kenyan resident with valid permits or exemption documents
  • Speak and understand Kiswahili or a local Kenyan dialect
  • Understand your duties and rights as a Kenyan citizen

Next, log in to your eFNS account and fill out the dual citizenship application form for foreigners (form 9- Citizenship for Foreigners). Provide the documents listed above when making an online application. Also, attach the following additional documents: –

  • A cover letter stating that you are a lawful resident. Mention and attach proof of your contribution towards national development within Kenya
  • A letter of reference from your current employer or close friend
  • Duly filled and signed Citizenship Questionnaire Form
  • A copy of all permits held for the last seven years
  • Personal financial statements for the last six months
  • A copy of the Tax Compliance Certificate or Tax Exemption Certificate
  • PIN Registration Certificate

Once you acquire your dual citizenship, the Kenya law requires you to endorse your new citizenship status into your non-Kenyan passport. The endorsement fee is 500 Kenya shillings per applicant. Then, log in to your eFNS account and fill and sign the Endorsement on Non-Kenyan Passport form.

2.      Case Study 2: Kenyan Children Born or Adopted Abroad

Section 13 and 14 of the Kenya Citizenship and Immigration Act, 2011 stipulate how dual citizenship for Kenyans affects Kenyan children born abroad as follows: –

  • A minor or someone with a disability whose legal guardian or biological parent is a citizen of Kenya by registration (upon successful dual citizenship application) can also apply to become a citizen of Kenya
  • A child with foreign citizenship adopted by a Kenyan citizen may apply

The parent or guardian must fill and sign Form 11 and have it attested to by a Commissioner for Oaths. Next, provide the following supporting documents: –

  • Two passport-size photographs of the child
  • Two passport size photographs of the adoptive parents
  • Copies of local adoption certificate or birth certificate of the child
  • A copy of the child’s pass
  • Original certificate of good conduct if the child in question is above 18 years

Kenya Immigration offices charge 20,000 Kenya shillings to process dual citizenship for children.

3.      Case Study 3: Foreigners Married to Kenyans

Are you a foreigner married to a Kenyan citizen for at least seven years? And, was your marriage solemnized under a system of law recognized in Kenya? If so, you are entitled to Kenya citizenship. Then, apply for your dual citizenship for Kenyans as follows: –

Documents Needed

  • Two passport size photographs
  • A certified copy of your marriage certificate
  • Original certificate of good conduct
  • Copy of your passport
  • A copy of the Kenyan spouse’s passport of national identification card
  • A joint Sworn in Affidavit
  • A copy of your dependent’s permit or pass, if any
  • Copy of death certificate if you are a widow or widower to a deceased Kenyan citizen

   The Steps

  • Follow the online or manual application steps for dual citizenship for Kenyans
  • Fill out an additional questionnaire (Citizenship Questionnaire form)that verifies your marriage status
  • Attach a letter that states you are applying for citizenship via marriage to a Kenyan citizen. Address the letter to the Director of Immigration Services
  • Submit your duly filled form, attested to by a Commissioner for Oaths

The Kenya Immigration Office charges 5,000 Kenya shillings for applicants from the East African Community and 30,000 Kenya shillings for anyone else outside the East African Community.

4.      Case Study 4: Dual Citizenship by Kenyans Living Abroad – Example: The United Kingdom

The Kenya High Commission in the UK facilitates the application for dual citizenship for Kenyans living in the UK.

You will need the following documents: –

  • Two passport size photographs
  • Two copies of your naturalization certificate
  • Two copies of your Kenyan passport
  • Two copies of your foreign passport
  • Two copies of your UK residence visa or permit
  • If you changed your names, provide two copies of documentary proof to support this

The Steps

Online Application

Manual Application

If you are making a manual application at the Kenya High Commission in the UK, ensure your application form is signed and stamped by a Solicitor or Commissioner for Oaths. Then, log in to https://www.kenyahighcom.org.uk/dual-citizenship to book an appointment at the Kenya High Commission. Enter your email address to receive a link for the meeting. 

Finally, submit your supporting documents and a self-addressed envelope with a pre-paid postage stamp. That way, the Kenya High Commission can dispatch the dual citizenship documents when ready. Write the full names and postal code of the applicant clearly on the face of the envelope. 

 

Regaining Kenyan Citizenship

Are you a Kenyan by birth who voluntarily renounced your citizenship when applying for citizenship to other countries that forbid dual citizenship? Well, if later you wish to relocate back home or move to another country with less strict dual citizenship conditions, you may apply to regain your Kenyan citizenship. Here is the application process: –

Documents Needed

  • Duly completed declaration form (Form 5)
  • Two copies of your previously held Kenyan national identity card and passport
  • Two certified copies of your current valid passport or naturalization certificate for the other country
  • Two recent colored passport-size photos (photo taken within the last month)

The Steps

Follow the steps for online or manual dual citizenship application as detailed earlier. The applicable fee is 5,000 Kenya shillings. The process of regaining your Kenyan citizenship may take at least a year.

Disclosure/Declaration of Dual Citizenship

Once you become a dual citizen, you must disclose/declare your new status to the Kenya government within three months. This requirement is per Section 8(3) of the Kenya Citizenship and Immigration Act, 2011. Otherwise, you shall commit an offense and become liable to a fine not exceeding five million Kenya shillings, imprisonment of up to three years, or both. Also, you risk being de-registered as a Kenyan citizen.

The Steps

  • Visit the Kenya Department of Immigration Services Foreign Nationals portal (eFNS) at https://fns.immigration.go.ke/and sign in to your eFNS account
  • Fill and sign the dual citizenship declaration form
  • Print two copies of the duly filled form
  • Notarize both forms on the last page
  • Submit the forms to the nearest Kenya Immigrations Office of Kenya mission abroad
  • Attach the required document, i.e.
  • Two passport-size photographs
  • Certified copy of your Kenyan passport and national identity card
  • Certified copy of your dual citizenship certificate
  • Your certified copy of the other country’s passport

Dual Citizenship for Kenyans FAQs

1.      Where are the immigration offices in Kenya?

If you are in Kenya and want to apply for your dual citizenship at an immigration office, you can visit any of the following Kenya immigration offices near you: –

  • Department of Immigration Services – Nairobi
  • Physical Address: Nyayo house, Passport Section Ground Floor, Kenyatta Avenue/ Uhuru Highway
  • Postal Address: O. Box 30191, 00100 Nairobi.
  • Telephone Number: +254-20-2222022, +254-20-2217544,+254-20-2218833
  • Email Address: dis@immigration.go.ke

 

  • Immigration Department Office – Mombasa
  • Physical Address: PC’s Office Building
  • Telephone Number: +254-41-2222676

 

  • Immigration Department Office – Kisumu
  • Physical Address: New Provincial Headquarters
  • Telephone Number: +254-057-2024935/2025438/0700596071

2.      What are the applicable fees for dual citizenship application in Kenya?

The Kenya Immigration charges 200,000 Kenya shillings and 30,000 Kenya shillings for a male or female applying for Kenyan citizenship, respectively. The applicant is to pay the fee via a banker’s cheque addressed to the Principal Secretary Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government.

3.      Where can I get the Certificate of Good conduct in Kenya?

Visit the CID Headquarters in Nairobi or the Divisional CID Office if residing outside Nairobi to apply for the Certificate of Good Conduct. Carry a cover letter explaining why you need the certificate of good conduct and a copy and original valid passport, pass, or entry permit to Kenya. Applicable fees are 1,000 Kenya shillings payable via cash or banker’s cheque.

Final Thoughts

The promulgated Constitution of Kenya and the Kenya Citizenship and Immigration Act of 2011 make dual citizenship permissible in the country. And most Kenya missions abroad and the Kenya Immigration offices in Kenya allow online dual citizenship applications. Then, if you need to apply or regain your Kenyan citizenship while in Kenya or abroad, visit the official website of the Kenya immigration office or Kenya missions to start the application process.

 

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