State releases new registration guidelines for ID application

National Registration Bureau workers sort out second and third-generation Maisha identity cards at Huduma centre of Kakamega on December 21, 2023. [Benjamin Sakwa, Standard]

Kenyans living in border, cosmopolitan, and settlement counties will no longer undergo vetting for the issuance of National Identification Cards.

Instead, chiefs and assistant chiefs shall be held responsible for any illegal registration of persons as the government dissolves vetting and identification committees.

While launching the registration guidelines that shall guide the process, the Immigration and Citizen Services Principal Secretary Julius Bitok said the government will leverage on technology to secure the identification and registration process.

"We will hold chiefs to a personal account for any Kenyan ID issued to a foreigner because they will have endorsed the application. They will have to take responsibility for their actions," Bitok said.

This is in line with the president's pronouncement during a Muslim leaders Iftar dinner at State House, Nairobi.

“Every Kenyan should be treated equally. We have changed the old policy and have concluded the policy documents. Beginning May this year, there will no longer be vetting for people who want to get their IDs,” said President William Ruto.

“I will issue a policy document to ensure we have a mechanism similar to other Kenyans and don’t discriminate on the basis of religion or region,” he added. 

The PS announced that the government will utilise the family tree and technology in the registration.

"We are going to use technology because all our systems will be integrated such that when you come for the application for the ID we can check your birth certificate in the system and also your family tree to see where you were born, who your parents are, and those kind of details that we will have on our database," he said.

Interior PS Raymond Omollo said under the new directive, chiefs will be required to work closely with other security agents to ensure no Kenyan is unfairly denied an ID.

"Proper identification of genuine citizens for issuance of identification documents is paramount to counter security threats such as terrorism that occur due to illegal registration of immigrants," said Omollo.

The move by government comes as relief to residents in border and cosmopolitan counties who have historically been subjected to stringent vetting as a prerequisite for obtaining the ID.

According to the registration guidelines, applicants must register in their home counties or places of permanent residence, supported by a chief's introduction letter confirming residency.

In institutions of learning, applicants from border areas or communities shall provide a birth certificate and parent ID. In this case, the head of an institution shall validate information furnished by the applicants.

Applicants are also required to provide documents to prove name and age such as birth certificate or birth notification, academic certificate, religious card, clinic card or age assessment report from a medical officer.

Upon receiving support documents which includes copies of birth certificates, the registration officers shall submit to local civil registration office for verification.

The new guidelines further indicate that the verification of the birth certificate shall take up to five days after which the report shall be given to the registration officer.

Also, the applicants are required to prove citizenship in accordance with Article 13 of the Constitution, where applicants shall provide a parents ID card or certificate of registration as a Kenyan citizen.

In instances where parents are deceased applicants are required to produce death certificate or death notification and Identity Card for the biological relatives.

The registration officer shall liaise with security agencies to prevent illegal registration. A list of all registered applications shall be submitted weekly to the National Intelligence Service, and Directorate of Criminal Investigations for due diligence.

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