MPs demand passports be out within 3 days

Parliament has recommended that Kenyans applying for passports receive the travel document within three days of submitting their application.

Through the National Assembly’s Committee on National Administration and Internal Security, MPs further urged the government to open more Immigration offices across the country to make it easier to acquire passports.

The MPs said currently, many applicants are forced to make long and costly distances to access Nyayo House or any of the eight regional Immigration offices.

“With adequate resourcing, targeting a maximum of three days for applicants to be issued with passports is realistic…This should be feasible, especially with the opening of more offices in other parts of the country,” said Narok West MP Gabriel Tongoyo.

The MP, who is also the chair of the Committee and other members, however, lauded the government for introducing reforms that have improved the efficiency of the Directorate of Immigration.

“We were used to seeing long queues of people at Nyayo House even after 5 PM on working days, but we note that nowadays, those scenes are gone,” said Mandera East MP Hussein Abdirahman.

The MPs spoke during the presentation of the State Department for Immigration and Citizen Services' budget estimates for the 2024/25 Financial Year and supplementary estimates for FY 2023/24.

Immigration PS Julius Bitok, who made the presentation, revealed that the Department has been allocated Ksh.15.151B instead of the Ksh.15.873B it requested in the Budget Policy Statement.

Of the amount, Ksh.10.145B will be spent on the recurrent budget, while Ksh. 5.091B will be committed to development projects. Under the second Supplementary estimates for FY 2023/2024, the State Department’s revised budget was Ksh.12.633B, with the bulk of the amount, Ksh.9.136B, going to the recurrent budget.

Prof Bitok told the MPs that the Department had successfully cleared the backlog of around 700,000 passports and invested heavily in equipment and technology using funds obtained as Appropriation-in-Aid from Immigration and other services.

“With Parliament’s support, we have dealt with the issue of passport backlog and instituted important reforms, including creating two banking halls, buying two printers, and increasing personnel.”

He also cited the digitization of over 16,000 government services on eCitizen and the introduction of the visa-free entry regime in January and the Electronic Travel Authorisation (eTA) that has processed over 500,000 visitors to Kenya among the Department’s milestones.

The PS appealed for more funding to roll out the newly introduced digital ID, the Maisha Card and its supporting infrastructure, and the Shirika Plan that proposes moving refugees out of camps by integrating them with host communities.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki and the PS have previously promised to introduce a 7-day maximum waiting time for passport applications.

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Passports PS Bitok