British Working in Kenya - Kenyan Fiance

I am British and engaged to a Kenyan, we get married in April 2017.  We had the traditional Kikuyu Dowry ceremony back in March 2016.
I am also pregnant, due Dec 2016.  I was wondering what the stages are in order for me to live and work in Kenya. 

Thanks in advance

Hi Louise,

Maye you should contact the embassy for more information about the procedures.

The article Requirements for Foreigners to Live and Work in Kenya might also help you.


Priscilla  :cheers:

Hi, If your partner is employed in Kenya and can support a family, then following marriage you should be eligible to apply for a Dependents Pass. This allows you to remain in Kenya but employment is prohibited.  After a period of three years, you could apply for Permanent Residence, after which you would be able to work legally, to the best of my knowledge.

If you want to work sooner, then this is rather more complicated and as a foreigner you would need a work permit. There are various classes of these, depending on your area of expertise, but for most employed positions, a Class D Permit is required. After being offered a job, your employer would normally apply for this on your behalf. 

The other thing to bear in mind is that Immigration is very corrupt and officials tend to know how much people want these permits and passes, so bribes are often sought and they can be quite my experience anyway.

We can apply for permanent residence after 3 years of living here? That is useful for me to know. Thank you.

For a foreigner married to a Kenyan citizen, an application for permanent residence can be made after 3 years of marriage, provided that the marriage is genuine and ongoing - something that may well be tested through interview.  It is not essential that the applicant has resided in Kenya during the three years.

It would be assumed that an applicant would intend to live in Kenya.

Hi Longonot,
That is a useful information for me being married to a Kenyan.

Thanks :)


Hello Longonot62,

It seems you have experience with the permanent residence and might be able to help me out on this topic.
In August I will be married for 3 years to a Kenyan citizen and i thought that would  qualify me for the permanent residence.

However, the immigration officer in Nyayo house told me that I did not qualify since I was in Kenya on a normal visitors visa and that I needed to stay here for three more years on a residence permit (or Dependents Pass) before my application could be considered.

Later I had a look into the The Kenya Citizenship and Immigration Act (2011) which on page 34 clearly states that " spouses of Kenyan citizen married for at least three years [...] shall be eligible upon application in the prescribed manner for grant of permanent residence status in Kenya—" ( … f_2011.pdf).

I have read about this thing with the residence permit (or dependents pass) over and over. However, I can not find anything like that in the Immigration Act. Do you know if that is mandatory? I have a feeling the officer was out for bribe..

What's your experience on this?



According to the information I have, you only have to be married to a Kenyan citizen for three years minimum to be eligible to apply.  However, I also note that your status in Kenya must be current and be kept current throughout the application process (which can be lengthy).  In reality, this would mean that a tourist visa may not be acceptable, for two reasons:

- You need to be in country for a minimum of 6 months in order to obtain a Certificate of Good Conduct from Kenya Police, which forms part of the application process - the tourist visa will expire too soon.
- You cannot maintain your status in Kenya, as after 6 months, you would have to leave the country in order to renew your visa.

If your partner is working in Kenya and can support you, then you should be able to obtain a Dependents Pass.  In my case (married for almost 19yrs), I have had to obtain a Class K Permit (required proof that I had sources of income other than from work in Kenya).  I can now go on to apply for PR (very expensive), or dual citizenship (a whole new world of pain).  See the link below. … residency/

If your partner has not been living in Kenya, I am not sure whether this affects your chances.  I assume that the government would anticipate that an applicant would be resident in Kenya, otherwise they may question your interest in the country.

On the matter of bribes;  my experience is that many of the permits and passes require a bribe and sometimes quite a large one.  The reason is that the officials know how much you want the permit, etc.  The other thing is that a bribe seems to ensure that your application will be dealt with in a more timely manner.  I don't know how e-citizen (the online service to make immigration and other applications) will affect this.  Its very wrong, but the system is so deeply entrenched that you just end up negotiating a bribe.

The company in the link above, claim that they don't bribe.  Nevertheless there is a substantial charge for their service.

Hello Longonot62,

Thank you so much for the information! I am getting your point with the residence permit. That makes sense. Unfortunately I will not be able to get a dependents pass since we are both still students. However, I hope to obtain a student visa soon. I guess that should do the job as well. I think I will try the new e-citizen service and hope that there is no bribe involved. Good luck with the PR or the citizenship!

With the dependants pass and visas you fill in the forms using the online service but you still have to do a personal visit.
This is where the time delay and request for extra money comes in so do not think as you applied online it will all be granted without costs

About bribes, Kenya is a corruption free Zone, in actual fact so no bribes are sought, we are only getting more protective of our educated population, just like Brexit. Kenya is great

Wanjiru;  it would be nice if this were true!  Unfortunately bribes are actively sought in the immigration department. It goes something like this: You submit your application and are then told that your circumstances are a little unusual and as a consequence, 'something small' (actually quite a large amount) is required to ensure that the application will be successful. You end up paying the bribe, as not doing so will ensure that your application is rejected.

As I have recent experience of this system at work, I know that this is what happens, for many expat applications.

As an aside, what about the police? I think that they are yet to receive the news that Kenya is corruption free!

Hi there @Longonot,

I've read through this post and a lot of what you have written are the options my husband and I have open HOWEVER, I wanted to know if you and/or anyone else reading this can assist in my case.

I'm Kenyan (born and bred) My husband is British, we got married in December 2015. We've decided to live in Kenya. His father who is now a British passport holder was born in Kenya and a holder of a Kenyan birth Certificate, expired passport and really old ID card. His mother and father both born in Kenya too. So I'm thinking there has to be a was that my husband (even though born in Britain to a native British mother) is legible for a dual citizenship? Anyone with any tips or ideas as to how to handle this situation? At the moment he cant work, he's been here on a visitors visa for 3 months, we renewed his visa recently for another 3 months as we source a permanent solution.

Any help would really be appreciated.

Hi Longonot62

There has been a slight change to the plan, I am pregnant and due in Dec and plan on travelling to Kenya in November to have the baby in Kenya.  Can I apply for the dependents pass once I have the baby or do I have to wait till we are officially married. 
Also, what do I need to be able to import my personal effects duty exempt.


Hi, Its my understanding that the Dependents Pass can only be issued to married dependents (or children), so you would be here on a single entry visa and have the hassle of going to Nyayo House to renew it after 3 months. 

Also bear in mind that its quite expensive to have a baby in Kenya (medical care costs), so you may want to have a look at that before you make your final decision. 

I understand that because your fiancee is Kenyan, your baby will assume Kenyan citizenship by birth, whether or not s/he is born in Kenya
Nationality of a child born abroad to a Kenyan parent.  I have copied below:

"The Kenyan constitution states that "a person is a citizen by birth if on the day of the person’s birth, whether or not the person is born in Kenya, either the mother or father of the person is a citizen" (Art. 14.1).                       

Children born abroad and who have at least one parent with Kenyan citizenship, are automatically Kenyan citizens by birth.  They may, therefore, apply for a Kenyan passport.  It is also recommended that they apply for a “birth certificate for children born abroad”, which serves as the child’s registration in Kenya."

With regard to personal effects, you need to be a returning Kenyan resident, or working in certain occupations, such as military or diplomatic service in order to qualify for duty exemption.

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