Physical Issuance Of Passports Set To Cease From April

The Immigration Department will from next month stop accepting physical applications for passports to seal loopholes that have seen foreigners get the permit and cut the issuance period.

A Kenyan passport. The Immigration Department will from April 2015 stop accepting physical applications for passports to seal loopholes that have seen foreigners get the permit and cut the issuance period. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

A Kenyan passport. The Immigration Department will from April 2015 stop accepting physical applications for passports to seal loopholes that have seen foreigners get the permit and cut the issuance period. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

 


Director-general Gordon Kihalangwa said Thursday passport applications would be done online through the eCitizen portal – a government website launched last year to host multiple departments.

“Towards end of next month, we will only accept online passport applications,” Maj-Gen (Rtd) Kihalangwa replied to our queries saying an exact date would soon be announced.

This is part of efforts that saw the department close a number of its upcountry offices, prompting many to travel to Nairobi to obtain a passport.

The Embu, Eldoret, Nakuru and Garissa offices were closed last year while the Kisumu and Mombasa were expected to be shut by June 2015.

The immigration unit said closure was in line with global standard practice to centralise the issuance of passports and the need to safeguard the integrity of the Kenyan travel document.

Maj-Gen (Rtd) Kihalangwa said the online application would still take two weeks. It costs Sh4,550 to apply for a 32-page passport and Sh7,550 for a 64-page permit. The fee for an East African passport stands at Sh990 and Sh7,550 for a diplomatic one.

Widespread threats of terrorism and corruption have seen a number of countries tighten their passport controls, including introducing new security features.

Security agencies have been on high alert after several gun and grenade attacks which followed the killing of 67 people in a raid by Al-Shabaab militants on Westgate mall in September 2013.

The eCitizen portal enables users to apply and pay for their passports online as well as keep track of the progress via text, Twitter and email, effectively eliminating the need for regular trips and queuing at the Immigration offices.

The portal hosts four government departments including Land, Immigration, National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) and Office of the Attorney General.

The NTSA’s online platform allows Kenyans to apply and pay for provisional driving licence, book a driving test and download interim driving licence online. It also enables users to renew their licences, locate their uncollected logbooks and driving licences.

– Business Daily

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