In a significant move aimed at addressing long-standing issues plaguing the acquisition of Kenyan passports, the government has announced comprehensive measures to streamline the process, significantly reducing waiting times for applicants.

Historical bottlenecks, including underfunding of the Directorate of Immigration, corruption, disruption of passport booklet supply chains, and inefficiencies in passport production and delivery, have long frustrated Kenyans seeking to obtain passports.

Speaking from Nyayo House in Nairobi, Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki highlighted the government's commitment to resolving these challenges.

He stated, "The backlog of pending passports, which stood at 724,000 in March, has now been reduced to below 50,000, with 40,000 ready for collection."

Effective May 1, 2024, all passport applicants can expect to receive their passports within 21 days of application, according to the statement.

This timeframe will be further reduced to seven days from August 1, 2024, and to just three days from November 1, 2024.

"Effective May 1, 2024, all applicants for the Kenyan passport will receive them within Twenty-One (21) Days from the date of application. This period will be reduced to Seven (7) Days effective August 1, 2024 and to Three (3) Days effective November 1, 2024," the statement read.

Kindiki said the surge in passport applications, driven by the government's labour export policy, necessitated infrastructural and personnel improvements to ensure timely service delivery.

The Ministry of Interior and National Administration assured the public that adequate arrangements have been made to meet these demands.

Additionally, Kindiki disclosed that efforts to combat corruption within the immigration sector have yielded results, with 17 individuals arrested for involvement in an organized criminal gang that extorted applicants. 

"The fight against corrupt practices within the Immigration space will remain a continuous process until the public can access immigration services without having to corrupt anybody," Kindiki affirmed.

Acknowledging the public's patience and the dedication of immigration officials, Kindiki expressed gratitude for the support of the National Treasury in securing funds to settle supplier bills and modernize passport production equipment, crucial steps in achieving this turnaround.

As Kenya takes strides towards enhancing passport services, these reforms signify a positive step in improving administrative efficiency and upholding transparency within the immigration process.