High Court suspends fee increases for passports, ID cards and other key documents

EAC-Kenya Passport

A Kenya Gazette Notice reviewed charges of critical documents like identity cards, passports and government staff badges.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • A Kenya Gazette Notice reviewed charges of critical documents like identity cards, passports and government staff badges.
  • A Nakuru doctor told court that the fees review was done arbitrarily and without any form of public participation.

The High Court has suspended a Kenya Gazette Notice that reviewed charges of critical documents like identity cards, passports and government staff badges, pending the determination of a petition filed by a Nakuru-based doctor.

While certifying the case by Dr Magare Gikenyi as urgent, Justice Lawrence Mugambi suspended the increase of the levies and other fees contained in the gazette notice dated November 6.

The judge further directed Dr Gikenyi to serve the court documents upon the CS Treasury Njuguna Ndung’u and his Interior counterpart Kithure Kindiki alongside the Attorney General Justin Muturi within three days and set November 29 for mentioning of the matter to confirm compliance.

“A conservatory order be and is hereby issued suspending Gazette Notices No. 15239-15242 dated 6th November 2023 and/or any other document purporting to give authority to increase or review the charges/fees/levies specified therein pending the hearing and determination of this Application inter-partes,” the judge said.

In the changes, the cost of processing a basic passport went up by 66.7 percent to Sh7,500 in the latest review of charges and fees announced by Prof Kindiki.

To process a 34-page ordinary passport was been increased from Sh4,500, a move that is likely to make it hard for ordinary Kenyans to acquire the critical travel document.

Kenyan citizens will also have to part with Sh20,000 to replace a mutilated passport, up from Sh10,000, while to replace a lost passport will set one back by Sh20,000.

Kenyans who lose their ID will pay Sh2,000 to replace a national identity card. This is 20 times the Sh100 that Kenyans have been paying. 

Late registration of death will cost bereaved families Sh500 from Sh150 while civil servants who want to replace their job cards will pay Sh2,000 from Sh100.

Dr Gikenyi argued that the increase was made in a capricious and arbitrary manner such that it’s as high as 20 times of the original and also introduced new charges.

The Nakuru-based surgeon said the amounts were increased arbitrary without any formula or public participation whatsoever.

“In considering NPR (Not Previously Registered) would affect young Kenyans joining the age of majority, this increase is likely to affect young Kenyans and hence make it difficult for them to get Identity cards, the effect which will lead to inability to get job opportunities,” he said.

He further argued that the reviews were not approved by Parliament and the court should, therefore, intervene and stop the illegal increase of fee and levies.

Other than fees for passport, identity card fees and registration of births and deaths, Prof Kindiki also reviewed citizenship fees and fees on permanent residence.

The fees review comes at a time when the Land Ministry has also hiked fees levied on land registration by up to 100 times, impacting the cost of home and land ownership.

President William Ruto is keen to increase revenue collection by also going after the fees and fines charged by State agencies have remained unchanged for decades. 

Kenyans seeking to replace their lost identification cards will now pay Sh2000 from the current Sh100. This is 20 times increment.

Civil servants will now pay Sh1000 for their staff badges from the current Sh350 while civil servant cards that have been costing Sh100 will now cost them Sh1000.

The Registration of births will now cost Sh200 from the current Sh50. Similar increment applies for death certificate, while parents who apply for late registration of birth certificate will be required to pay Sh500 from the current Sh150. Late registration of death will also cost Sh500 from the current Sh150.

At the same time, parents who seek to amend details of both birth and death certificate will now pay Sh1000, up to from the current Sh130. Presumed death certificate will now cost Sh1500 from the current Sh150.

The Nation has since established the review that touches on the Public Finance Management Regulations, formed part of President Ruto’s deliberations with the MPs drawn from his ruling alliance during the Tuesday’s Parliamentary Group meeting held at State House.

Verification of ID information under Registration Database System (IPRS) will cost Sh20, from the current Sh5. Under the same system, government institutions and private institutions will pay Sh500,000 and Sh1 million as annual subscription. Currently, the subscriptions are free.

Kenyans seeking to regain their citizenship under section 10 will now pay ten times after the charges were reviewed from the current Sh5,000 to Sh50,000.

Declaration for dual citizenship will now cost Sh10,000. There are zero charges currently. Passport endorsement that has been attracting Sh500 will now be levied Sh10,000. Renunciation that is currently charged at Sh20,000 will now attract a charge of Sh50,000.

Further, Kenya Kwanza administration seeks to charge those seeking citizenship by marriage Sh100,000 from the current Sh30,000.

Registration for citizenship for widows and widowers will now cost Sh50,000, upto Sh20,000, while those seeking citizenship by registration will for lawful residence will pay Sh1 million from the current Sh200,000. Children whose parents seek their citizenship through registration will pay Sh100,000. It currently cost Sh20,000.

At the same time, stateless persons seeking citizen by registration will now pay Sh10,000 from the current Sh2,000. Migrants have also been slapped with the same increment.

Issuance of permanent residence for Children of Kenyan citizen born outside the country will now cost Sh1 million from the current Sh500,000 while processing permanent for same category of individuals will double from the current Sh100,000 to Sh200,000.

Work permits for investors under class G will now cost Sh250,000 from the current Sh100,000 while investors categorized as Class D will pay Sh500,000 from the current Sh200,000.

The new charges by President Ruto’ administration adds to new tax measures that have made live expensive with cost basic commodities skyrocketing.

President Ruto rode to power last year on lofty promises to create jobs for millions of unemployed youths, prioritise the needs of low-income earners and bring down the cost of living. But new tax measures that took effect on July 1, have made life more expensive while hitting businesses hard with high taxes.

On Tuesday, Kenya Kwanza MPs told President Ruto how their constituents were increasingly becoming hostile against them due to the high fuel prices and new taxes.

The MPs pleaded with the President reintroduce fuel subsidy so as to bring down the cost of fuel in the next review.

The MPs reportedly told the President that they have become unpopular in their constituencies as a result of some of the policies, including the high taxes, that they say has gone against their bottom up economic model that promised to bring down the cost of living.

According to the lawmaker who attended the Tuesday morning meeting, the President rejected the push for fuel subsidy, saying it was unstainable.

President Ruto reportedly told the MPs that they only need to be “popular at the right time and not all the time”.

Nominated Senator Veronica Maina is said to have raised the matter with the President, telling him that Kenya Kwanza administration should find ways of cushioning Kenyans, according to MPs in attendance.

Sources who talked to ‘Nation’, confirmed that the fuel crisis was a matter of concern, with some MPs indicating that the Kenya Kwanza administration was becoming unpopular because of some of its policies.

“The government does not add fuel costs. The president does not add fuel costs. It is the international cost of the crude oil that has affected our local cost,” a member quoted the President as having said.

President Ruto reportedly told the MPs that some of the challenges the country is facing is because of the debt burden by the previous administration.

“There was a request by a member that the government consider removing some taxes on fuel but the President corrected that the executive has not added any taxes on fuel. He said the high prices are because of the price of a dollar, price of fuel in the world market,” said another member.