Acquisition of Permanent Residency Status by Marriage in Kenya
Permanent residence and citizenship status are long term immigration status conferred upon eligible persons with inherent superior entitlements to those enjoyed by holders of work authorization permits and passes.
Permanent residents enjoy all the rights and entitlements of citizens of a given nation save for the right to vote and participate in the electoral processes of the said nation.
Section 37, 38 and 39 of the Citizenship and Immigration Act, 2011 laws of Kenya (the “Act”) provide for the categories of persons who qualify for permanent residence status in Kenya, their rights, and obligations as well as the instances in which permanent residence status may be lost.
In this article, we enunciate the qualifications for permanent residence status by marriage in Kenya.
Permanent Residence By Marriage:
Section 37 (d) of the Act provides that foreigners who are legally marriage to Kenyan citizens for a period of three years or more are eligible for permanent residence status in Kenya.
Like citizenship by marriage, persons who seek permanent residence status by marriage must demonstrate that their marriage was lawfully contracted whether in Kenya or in another jurisdiction and it must be recognized as such in the republic of Kenya.
It must also be evident that their marriage was not contracted merely for the purpose of acquiring permanent residence status. This requirement is satisfied by proof of family and marital life such as by having children, owning of movable or immovable property together as well as a public perception and regard of the couple as being husband and wife.
The applicant must also be of good standing having not been convicted of any crime and sentenced to imprisonment for a term of three (3) years or more nor declared a prohibited immigrant in Kenya under the Act.
Requirements for Application for Permanent Residence by Marriage:
An application for permanent residence by marriage should be submitted by the Kenyan spouse on behalf of their foreign spouse and must be accompanied by the following documents and or information:-
- A printout of the duly filled permanent residence application form (form 23) signed and stamped by a Magistrate/Commissioner for oaths.
- A duly filled Category D – Questionnaire for Intending Applicants which is generated upon completion of the online application.
- Duly filled Residence status form generated automatically upon completion of the online application.
- Original Police Clearance Certificate.
- Proof of marriage and family life.
- Certified/Notarized copy of Marriage Certificate.
- Copies of national passport, Identity card and birth certificate of Kenyan spouse.
- Copy of national passport and birth certificate for the foreign spouse.
- Copies of national passports and birth certificates for children born to the Kenyan and foreign spouse.
- Lawful current immigration status for the foreign spouse through a work permit or a dependent pass (whichever is applicable).
- Two (2) passport size photographs of the foreign spouse (a soft copy will also be required during application).
- Copy of valid Kenyan Foreigner Certificate for the foreign spouse (Alien card).
Rights and Obligations of Permanent Residents
Permanent residents have the following rights and obligations:-
- the right to enter upon and remain in Kenya.
- the right to be employed in Kenya.
- the right to attend educational facilities in Kenya.
- the right to own leasehold property in Kenya.
- the right to move and settle anywhere in Kenya.
- the right to access and enjoy social services and facilities in Kenya.
- the right to be provided with a Permanent Residence Certificate as prescribed under the regulations.
- The obligation to comply with the conditions prescribed for their residency in Kenya.
- The obligation to observe and uphold Kenyan laws.
Loss of Permanent Residence by Marriage
Under section 39 of the Act, a person having acquired permanent residence status by marriage in Kenya may subsequently lose their status if it is established that the marriage was contracted for disingenuous purposes.
Failure to comply with the conditions and obligations imposed upon their residency as well as there being made an order to remove them from the country are also grounds for loss of permant residence status.
A person may also voluntarily elect to relinquish their permanent residence status in Kenya. Acquisition of Kenyan citizenship will automatically lead to the loss of the permanent residence status.
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