American marrying Kenyan national

Hello, I am American and currently residing in Texas. I am engaged to a Kenyan citizen and we will be married in October. My fiance still lives in Kenya and I am planning to move to Nairobi in June 2017 after completing my university degree.
What will I need to do beforehand in applying for a visa to join my husband? What type of visa will I need? As for employment do I need to apply for jobs whilst still here in the US before being offered employment? What is the Certificate of Good Conduct? Thank you :-)


Generally speaking, you would come to Kenya on a single entry visa, then apply for a dependents pass, provided that your husband has the means to support you. It should be noted that any work, paid or unpaid is prohibited with both a single entry visa and a dependents pass.

For employment, you need a work permit, rather than a dependents pass. To obtain this, you have to gain an offer of employment, then the employer applies for the permit, in the process evidencing to the Kenyan government that the position cannot be filled locally.  The company is also supposed to train a local worker to do the job, so after 2 years, the work permit may not be renewed.  The government are currently reviewing the issuance of work permits to foreign workers, particularly in the NGO sector, due to the local unemployment problem and the fact that local workers are cheaper. 

The work permit takes a little time to process, so if you came here on a single entry visa, looked for work, then go through the permit application, chances are high that the visa will run out, giving you no option but to leave Kenya, then return.  The jobs market is competitive........there are a considerable number of unemployed people educated to degree and masters level.

A Certificate of Good Conduct is a police check. You can apply after living here for 6 months and the certificate is valid for a year.

Bear in mind that after 3 years as a married person you will entitled to apply for permanent residence, which amongst other things entitles you to work without a permit.  However, the government tends to sit on applications for months if not years, unfortunately.

The other thing to consider is corruption. The immigration Dept is riddled with it and bribes are often required to hurry things along. Bribes for permits and passes can be sizeable, as are the costs of many of the permits.

The good news is that it's generally much much easier for a foreign woman marrying a Kenyan man.....attitudes are still fairly patriarchal.

The above is just an outline. Check the links below: … -services/

Thank you Longonot62 for all of your helpful feedback. I am sure it will all be a headache but thank goodness I have an idea as to what to look forward to.

No problem.  If you are marrying in Kenya, don't forget to come with a certificate of no impediment to marriage!

Settling in Kenya will be relatively straightforward, provided that your partner can support you. It's the working bit that could well be complicated as well as expensive. Make sure that you have a few thousand $ to call upon!

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