Applying for the new passport has been a huge struggle for most people because they are only being issued in one centre, Nyayo House in Nairobi. This means that Nyayo House is always crowded and the process takes longer than expected.
The drama begins at application. To be able to finish the process quickly, you have to get there at around 6 am or latest 6.30 am. I’ll give credit to the applications team in that they open early (before the official 8 am) and if you there by 6 you will be attended to quickly. However if you come later, it will be death by queues.
Collection is even worse. First, the official processing period of the new Kenyan passport is supposed to be 15 working days (3 weeks). However, that’s far from the truth on the ground. Realistically, it takes 6-8 weeks for a passport renewal and even longer for a new passport application.
What makes it even worse is that there’s no communication beforehand if a passport is ready or not. So Kenyans line up for hours and hours at Nyayo House only to be told that a passport isn’t ready and are not provided with a timeline on when it will be ready. There’s a nice supervisor in Counter 18 that helps by telling you when exactly your passport should be ready but this is not readily available information. To be honest the people attending to you, should give you this information but they couldn’t be bothered.
This is a sad state of affairs and here are our recommendations on what can be done to ease the process.
1. Set up more passport application centres immediately
CS Fred Matiang’i announced that passport application centres would be set up in 8 location to ease the burden on Nyayo House. We think that this process should be fast tracked and the new centres opened and soon as possible.
The current situation is so bad that Kenyans in the diaspora have to travel to Kenya for the sole reason of applying for a passport.
2. Set up an online passport status checker
The Immigration department should set up an online and mobile platform where Kenyans should be able to check the status of their passports. The platforms should be able to tell them the approximate time their passport would be ready, and if additional information/documents are needed.