Kenyans can now breathe a sigh of relief after the Ministry of Interior CS Kindiki Kithure announced an end to the delay in the issuance of new Kenyan passports which had prevailed for one year.
In a statement detailing the ministry's progress in the past three months, the CS said that the delay was due to a lack of passport booklets and the breakdown of the printer at the Directorate of Immigration Services which has now been addressed.
In addition, Kindiki said that the department is in receipt of 50,000 34-page booklets with a further 200,000 booklets expected next week and a similar figure each month for the next six months.
On the approval of citizenship applications, permanent residency and work permits, the CS said that the process would henceforth take only 21 days from the date of application pledging to convey his determination on all applications including appeals within 7 days following receipt of the recommendation.
In light of this, Kindiki noted that last week, he had already approved 1,698 applications for the years 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022 which were all pending approval from his office.
Of this, the CS said that 808 applications were to gain Kenyan citizenship mainly by the Kenyan diaspora who had previously opted to renounce their citizenship in order to enjoy the citizenship of their host countries.
“Before the enactment of the Constitution of Kenya 2010, Kenya did not allow one to be a dual citizen,” he said.
In addition, Kindiki noted that he has also approved 815 applications for citizenship made by spouses and children of Kenyan citizens.
“This was in an effort to strengthen the social fabric of the Kenya society by promoting the family unit,” he added.
Further, the CS approved 75 applications made by lawful residents who have met the legal requirements and made a positive contribution to the socio-economic well-being of Kenya.
“19 work permits were also approved during this period to allow genuinely skilled individuals to work for various organizations in Kenya.”
The Ministry of Interior has further initiated the policy framework for efficient online registration for births and deaths.
It has also begun the introduction of the Unique Personal Identifier, at birth, for all newborns.
The UPIs will be a child's personal number in school and upon transiting to 18 years, in their national IDs, social security number, health insurance number and death certificate.
Kindiki said the Ministry is working on the introduction of the Third-Generation, smart, digital ID.
On upscaling the security systems at JKIA and other entry points, the CS noted that his ministry is at an advanced stage of acquiring and installing an Advanced Passenger Information (API) System that will be integrated into the international immigration system.
The system according to the Kindiki is to profile passengers travelling in and out of Kenya including those transiting through the country before they land.
In addition, the CS said that the APIs will be supplemented with the installation of e-gates at JKIA and ports of entry.
This installation will eliminate queues at the immigration counters as well as give a major boost in assisting in immigration and endeavours.
Kenya and East African Community citizens will be exempt from queueing for the immigration stamp unless for custom enforcement.
Finally, the CS noted that Kenya is in the process of upgrading the security electronic surveillance equipment at the gates to be able to detect prohibited items at ports of entry.