Immigration Alert: Regaining Kenyan Citizenship
The promulgation of the Constitution of Kenya (“the Constitution”) on 27 August 2010, was a hallmark for all Kenyans in relation to citizenship and immigration rights.
Unlike the repealed constitution, it allows for dual citizenship. Therefore, a Kenyan citizen who acquires citizenship of any other country after the promulgation date does not lose Kenyan citizenship. Previously, those who acquired a citizenship of any other country were forced to renounce or forfeit their Kenyan citizenship. This was particularly common for Kenyan women who got married to foreign spouses or those who decided to acquire foreign citizenship due to work or career related reasons.
To address this injustice, the Constitution as augmented by the Citizenship and Immigration Act, 2012 and the regulations made thereunder, provides a pathway to those who had lost their Kenyan citizenship under the repealed constitution by virtue of acquiring citizenship of other countries to regain their Kenyan citizenship upon application in the prescribed manner. Articles 14 (5) of the current Constitution provides that “a person who is a Kenyan Citizen by birth and who had ceased being a Kenyan citizen upon acquiring the citizenship of another country, is upon application entitled to regain Kenyan citizenship”. Moreover, under Article 13(3) thereof, “citizenship is not lost through marriage or the dissolution of marriage”.
An Application to Regain Kenyan Citizenship,
Section 10(1) of the Kenya Citizenship and Immigration Act, 2011 provides that a person who was a citizen of Kenya by birth and who ceased to be a citizen of Kenya because he or she acquired the citizenship of another country may apply in the prescribed manner to the Cabinet Secretary to regain Kenyan citizenship. Under this subsection, the application must be accompanied by proof of applicant’s previous Kenyan citizenship, proof of citizenship of the other country as well as evidence of payment of the prescribed fee.
A person who wishes to regain Kenyan citizenship can make an application to the Immigration Department or any Kenyan Embassy or Consular offices. The requirements for this are as follows:
Two copies of Form 1 “Application to Regain Kenya Citizenship form”:
Two sets of duly filled Form-2 (Declaration by dual citizen) which must be notarized by the Commissioner of Oaths.
Two copies of proof of previous Kenyan citizenship (copy of passport, Birth certificate and Kenyan ID)
Three (3) current, clear and un-mounted passport size photographs not less than 6 months.
Proof of lawful immigration status if in Kenya during the processing of the application to regain citizenship.
Two copies of proof of current foreign citizenship (bio-data page of current foreign passport/citizenship certificate and citizenship card).
For those who wish to apply to regain the Kenyan citizenship through foreign Kenyan Embassies, their applications must also be accompanied by a self-addressed prepaid return courier envelope and mail by courier from the designated Kenyan Embassy.
Upon receipt of the application, the Cabinet Secretary for the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government, through the Immigration Department, shall cause the application to be processed and if successful, the applicant is issued with a citizenship certificate in the prescribed form.
Only Kenyan citizens by birth are eligible to regain Kenyan citizenship. Therefore, those who are not citizens by birth can only regain Kenyan citizenship through registration in accordance with the requirements set out in the Constitution as well as Kenya Citizenship and Immigration Act and the regulations thereunder.
Upon regaining Kenyan citizenship, one is entitled to all rights, benefits and privileges of a citizen under the law as well as to a Kenyan passport and any other identification and registration document like Kenyan ID card issued to citizens.
Regaining Kenyan citizenship may imply acquiring dual citizenship if the laws of the other country permit dual citizenship or may require the renunciation or occasion the automatic loss of citizenship of the other country.
Persons who acquire dual citizenship by regaining Kenyan citizenship may apply to have their passport in respect of their other nationality endorsed with the Kenyan dual citizenship status. After doing so, such a person can use the endorsed passport to enter into or exit out of Kenya and be exempted from visa, pass or permit requirements when visiting Kenyan.