Kenya/Travel to Kenya
I'm a Cameroonian recently married to a Kenyan. We both reside in the US and are in the process to get our green cards. We are planning to visit his parents in Kenya. Will it be possible for me to travel with him with just my green card? Or will i need a passport and a visa? If yes, since i will be considered as a permanent resident, which passport can I apply for?
ANSWER: Hi Leez,
Thanks for your query.
You will need a passport and a visa to enter Kenya. If you were from the East African Community, you would only have needed a travel document.
Get a cameroonian passport. I'm sure that you could apply from the Cameroon Embassy in USA;
Embassy of the Republic of Cameroon
1700 Wisconsin Ave. N.W., Washington, DC 20007
In Kenya, you need to have lived on Kenya for 7 years with your spouse before you can apply for permanent resident status.
For now, you will need to get a passport, get a visitor visa to enter Kenya. If you decide to stay on a longer term basis, you can apply for a dependant pass.
Hope this helps. If you need more assistance, don't hesitate to ask.
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: Thank you Maggie.
Is it possible for me to buy a land in Kenya, even though I'm not Kenyan? If yes, please could you let me know what the process is and how long it takes?
Thanks once more,
Yes you can buy land in Kenya, but only that which is on a leasehold title. This means that you can not buy land which has freehold titles. Most agricultural land has a freehold title.
The only way round this is if you buy land as a company rather than as an individual.
Purchasing land in Kenya is a rather tasking process and any would be purchaser is normally involved in several pre-checks to verify the actual legality of the entire deal.
Ideally, a purchaser will have a lawyer who would do the due checks before money is committed.
Land titles are held in the Ministry of Lands offices in Nairobi our capital. As such therefore, your lawyer would verify the status of the title of the land you are interested in.
This involves an actual physical search at the various registries to verify that the title is genuine (not a forgery) and once we verify it is genuine we proceed to verify whether the said title is free or encumbered.
A title can be encumbered by the following:-
1. The land owner might have used it as collateral to a loan or charged it in a bank to take a loan.
2. The land owner/owners might have placed caveats (instructions preventing sale of land) against the land. Here family members can place a caveat in a case where say the husband wants to sell land without and or disregarding his wife and children and they therefore place a caveat preventing the sale of the land.
3. The land can also be in an area where the government through its zoning process is marked for a different use and thus cant be sold. It can be on a road reserve or such other reserve.
4. The land can also be on riparian areas (water catchment areas) and or forest areas as per government directives.
Once the lawyer has cross checked the above and is satisfied that the title is good enough to be passed from the owner to yourself, the next thing is to seek the liabilities and or monies accrued on the land if the owner has not paid money payable to various entities as provided by the laws of Kenya.
Particularly, I mean:-
1. Land rates.
2. Land Rent.
These are payable to the government of Kenya and the applicable municipal council/city council respectively.
Your lawyer would then seek further liabilities like payments of water bills if there is metered water on the land, electricity bills if applicable and such other bills.
Once convinced that the title is good, negotiation on terms, modes of payments and how the title passes from the seller (vendor) to yourself commences.
Your lawyer will normally do a sale agreement and file a transfer document at the lands office attached to the original title document that is then held by the government and your title issues.
There are various government fees to pay like the stamp duty which is a percentage of the price of the land and a government valuer will normally determine this amount. If the land is agricultural a land board would be convened to allow the sale of the land.
If it is smooth sailing, the land can transfer in a matter of weeks. But if there are any complications, it could take longer.
If you are looking to buy land in Kenya, I would be happy to assist in this process as your lawyer.
Thanks and let me know if you have further questions.