Passport issuance in Kenya became a full-blown crisis after the Immigration Department, in May and June 2023, confirmed that it was grappling with a shortage of booklets.
The breakdown of printing machines compounded the issue, forcing Interior Cabinet Secretary to intervene. According to Kindiki, all passport applications will be cleared in 7 days, with urgent or emergency applications attended to within 24 hours.
As of April 2023, a significant backlog of 63,265 passport applications awaited issuance, primarily consisting of the widely sought-after 34-page A-series passports.
Most of those applying for passports are Kenyans seeking employment abroad or students enrolling in foreign institutions. Unfortunately, many applicants encounter challenges as they often make errors during the application process, which consequently delays the issuance of their passports beyond their anticipated timelines.
One small mistake is enough to compel the Immigration Department to reject a passport application or ask you to amend the details before processing.
To successfully apply for a passport, applicants are required to submit essential documents such as a birth certificate, national identification card, and copies of their parents' ID cards.
Once the applicant has submitted the required documents and paid the service fee via the eCitizen platform, they receive a status notification to confirm the progress of their application.
One of the common mistakes made when applying for a passport through the eCitizen platform is the occurrence of typos and misspellings.
For instance, a specific error that can have consequences for applicants is incorrectly entering their date of birth, such as mistakenly writing 1990 instead of 1999. The mistake is noticed and cross-checked after you upload your original birth certificate.
To avoid this mistake, applicants must review dates and names before applying.
Another common mistake made by applicants is providing a signature that does not match the one appended in their government documents.
Applicants must also use a red, blue, or black pen to fill out the important travelling document.
During passport application, one must specify the mode of payment used to pay the service fee. One must also use one of the accepted payment methods, namely; cheques, money orders, credit, mobile money and debit card.
The amount depends on whether one is making a fresh application or renewing a passport.
Failing to Submit Required Documents
While applying for a passport, one must submit a duly filled application form and 2 payment invoices, an original birth certificate and a copy for citizens of Kenya by birth, and an original applicant’s national identity card and a copy for adults.
Other required documents include; copies of the recommender's national identity card, duly filled consent form(s) for minors, copies of parents’ national identity cards as well as original and copies of the parents’ birth certificates.
Failing to submit the documents as required automatically leads to disqualification.
Wrong Documents and Information
Submitting wrong and misleading information results in automatic disqualification of the passport application.
Intentional submission of wrong documents could also prompt the government to institute charges against the applicant.
Reason for Travel
Amidst the government's daunting challenge of addressing a substantial backlog in passport applications, insiders caution that individuals who state visiting or tourism purposes as the reason for their application may experience delays. Urgent cases are often prioritized.
In some instances, those applying for 34-paged passports (ordinary) may be prioritized over 66-paged passports.
How to Apply
- One is required to register for an eCitizen account.
- Fill online application as prompted on the eCitizen portal.
- Scan and upload all the required documents.
- Submit the required amount.
- Book an appointment to visit Immigration offices in different parts of the country.
- Print the duly completed application form and two invoices.
- Attach all the copies which will be required when visiting their offices.
- Book a date and honour your appointment.
Reforms Announced by Kindiki
On Wednesday, May 31, Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki announced that Kenyans with emergencies would have their passports processed within 24 hours.
Kindiki further directed that all pending passports be processed and duly disbursed to the owners within 21 days from the date of his announcement.