Friday, May 07, 2010

Constitutional Anatomy 002 - Dual Citizenship

Away from the controversy, I sought to know what the draft law says about holding two passports. This is of particular interest to me as one of the services we offer under is work permit registration. I regularly communicate with many folks who are curious about the provision for dual citizenship in Kenya. In the current constitution that's a flat no, but I wondered what the draft law said.

A very brief section 16 spells out the main criteria for dual citizenship, you must first be Kenyan by birth. Section 14 describes what a citizen by birth is: (1) on date of birth, one of the parents is a Kenyan citizen, (2) applies to persons born before the effective date of the new constitution or (4) a child found in Kenya who is less than 8 years old. The birthers would find this interesting as it means that Obama is still a Kenyan citizen, and even if he had renounced Kenyan citizenship when he turned 18, then (5) allows him to acquire citizenship on application. Wouldn't that be interesting, a US president holding US and Kenyan passports?

Section 18 further provides for parliament to create legislation for among other things permanent residency. This is a significant change from the current consitution which doesn't provide for permanent residency, and the current immigration law which provides for resident permits ofa maximum of two years.

So are you a former Kenyan who would like to regain your citizenship or a non-Kenyan living and working in Kenya on a resident permit? What do you think about this section?


wor said...

Just to clarify:

I am an American Citizen that married a Kenyan in 2009. Is there any way I can obtain dual citizenship in Kenya?


Harry Karanja said...

@wor Article 15(4) provides for citizens of other countries acquiring Kenyan citizenship. However before this can take effect parliament will need to enact legislation.