News

53,000 passports yet to be collected from immigration offices, gov’t says

Tuesday, March 5th, 2024 13:39 | By
Hundreds of passport seekers queue at Nyayo House to collect the important travel documents in Nairobi. PHOTO/Philip Kamakya
Hundreds of passport seekers queue at Nyayo House to collect the important travel documents in Nairobi. PHOTO/Philip Kamakya

58,330 passports are yet to be collected from Immigration offices across the country, the government has announced.

In a statement on Tuesday, March 5, 2024, the Directorate of Immigration Services said it has intensified its operations to process and print passports to clear the backlog of applications that a surge in demand has occasioned.

"Applications are being processed on a first-in-first-out basis subject to the availability of specific booklets determined by the number of pages paid for by each applicant," the statement read in part.

In Embu, there are 9,584 uncollected passports, 6,087 in Kisumu, 5,759 in Mombasa, 4,538 in Eldoret 4,538, 4,466 in Nakuru and 3,283 in Kisii.

In Nairobi, 24,613 passports are yet to be collected by the owners.

"We urge applicants who have already been notified that their passports are ready to collect them as soon as possible to free up storage space," the statement added.

Uncollected passports to be disposed

In September last year, the government announced that it would dispose of uncollected passports in new guidelines under an initiative dubbed Rapid Results Initiative (RRI).

In a statement, Interior CS Kithure Kindiki indicated that the government will be publishing a list of applicants whose documents are ready for collection.

Passport seekers queue for service at Nyayo House to collect their Passports in Nairobi.
Passport seekers queue for service at Nyayo House to collect their Passports in Nairobi. PHOTO/Philip Kamakya

Persons who fail to pick up their documents within 30 days, according to the new guidelines, will have their passports disposed of and penalised when making a future application.

"Beginning Monday 25th September 2023, owners of 87,574 passports that are now ready but remain with us uncollected are advised to forthwith pick their passport from the designated collection points in Nairobi and various regional immigration offices that will be published in various media outlets and social media platforms from tomorrow and every other Wednesday during the RRI period," Kindiki stated.

"Delivery of uncollected passports is an integral part of addressing the historical backlog and to avert a recurrence, the Immigration Department is at the tail end of procuring modern printing equipment that will triple the production of passports."

Kindiki indicated that the Immigration Department will prioritise printing the travel documents for persons seeking medical care abroad, students due for admission to learning institutions outside Kenya and people who have secured job opportunities which have a clear reporting deadline.

Kindiki to sack corrupt officials

In February, Kindiki promised to remove from service corrupt officials at the Department for Immigration and Citizen Services orchestrating the passport printing debacle.

In a statement on Friday, February 23, 2024, Kindiki said those found culpable will consequently be held personally accountable by prosecution and surcharged.

"Many years of low investment in the passport production infrastructure, piling supplier debts, and corrupt practices continue to undermine the Government’s program initiated last year to transform the State Department for Immigration and Citizen Services. Many Kenyans continue to experience pain and frustration as they seek passports to facilitate their movement beyond our borders for whatever reason," Kindiki said.

Kindiki, who agreed to "take responsibility" for the slow pace of reforms, and the prevailing systemic inefficiencies.

"Many of our people have lost employment opportunities, while many others cannot travel for medical care, education, business or leisure. The prevailing state of affairs is inexcusable, considering that it is the right of every Kenyan to acquire citizenship documents, including travel documents. As the Cabinet Secretary on whose role issuance of passports falls, I take responsibility for the slow pace of reforms, and the prevailing systemic inefficiencies," he added.

He says arrangements have been made to secure the required funds and settle the outstanding supplier debts.

Also, a crackdown was launched on Friday to flush out corrupt officials in the department, which has thousands of pending passport applications.

"The Government undertakes to conclusively resolve this matter and create efficiency and timely service delivery in the shortest time possible. Beginning this morning, a crackdown has been commenced to identify all corrupt officials. Those found culpable will be removed from service, and held personally accountable by prosecution and surcharged. I respectfully appeal for a little more patience from the people of Kenya to conclusively resolve this matter," he added.

In the recent past, Kenyans have been forced to wait for months to get their passports as Nyayo House, the nerve centre of the Immigration Department, experiences challenges such as corrupt officials, breakdown of printing machines and shortage of printing materials.

More on News


ADVERTISEMENT

RECOMMENDED STORIES News


ADVERTISEMENT