Citizenship By Registration – Lawful Residents
In this week’s series, we discuss the qualifications and requirements for procuring Kenyan citizenship by lawful residents/holders of valid work permits/passes in continuation of our citizenship series, (see previous articles here)
Kenyan citizenship may either be acquired by birth or by registration.
With regards to citizenship by registration, the law provides that, a person who has been lawfully resident in Kenya for a continuous period of at least seven years, and who satisfies the conditions prescribed by the law may apply to be registered as a citizen.
A person is considered to be lawfully resident in Kenya if he or she has held valid work permit.
Qualifications for Citizenship by Registration of Lawful Residents
A person who has attained the age of majority and capacity and who has been lawfully resident in Kenya for a continuous period of at least seven years may on application be registered as a citizen if that person:
- has been a lawful resident under valid permit including diplomatic residents (e.g ambassadors, envoys, diplomatic & consular staff including their spouses and approved staff) who have waived diplomatic immunity and privileges.
- has resided in Kenya throughout the period of twelve months immediately preceding the date of the application;
- has adequate knowledge of Kenya and of the duties and rights of citizens
- understand and speak Kiswahili or a local dialect;
- has not been convicted of an offence and sentenced to imprisonment for a term of three years or longer;
- satisfies the Cabinet Secretary that he or she intends to reside in Kenya after registration;
- has been determined, through an objective criterion, and the justification made, in writing, that he or she has made or is capable of making a substantive contribution to the progress or advancement in any area of national development within Kenya; and
- has not been adjudged bankrupt.
Take note that vetting by NIS is a pre requisite to approval of the application by the Department of Immigration. This is intended to clear the applicant of involvement in any terrorist or illegal activity. Once approved, the applicant is issued with a Certificate of Registration as a Kenyan citizen and is entitled to all the rights and benefits of a Kenyan citizen.
Children of a Registered Citizen
Children born prior to the acquisition of Kenyan citizenship are upon application eligible for Kenyan citizenship by registration PROVIDED that these children must be lawfully resident in Kenya and be the holders of valid dependents passes at the time of making the application.
Such application must be presented before the attainment of the age of twenty-one years. Children past the age of 21 are not eligible to acquire citizenship as dependents of the Kenyan Parents. They would be required to independently seek lawful residency status in Kenya through work permits and student passes as the case may be.
Children who are born after acquisition of Kenyan citizenship by registration, become Kenyan citizens by birth and would be entitled to all rights bestowed by the law to citizens by birth.