Immigration boss explains why you can't get your passport on time

EAC-Kenya Passport

Kenyans have had to wait for about three months to receive their passports.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

The delay in issuing passports was caused by printer maintenance, Ministry of Interior Directorate of Immigration Services Director General, Mr. Alexander Muteshi has told Nation.Africa.

But he added that the equipment is now working and the backlog will be over in three weeks.

“All our printers were undergoing service but that is over now. We have started printing the passports and within the next three weeks, all the pending passports will be ready,” he said.

Mr Muteshi also asked Kenyans due to travel and in urgent need of their passport to contact Immigration offices for help.

“We have been updating weekly on all our platforms that in case someone needs the passport urgently, (they should) visit our offices. We will make sure they don’t miss their travel dates,” he added.

Alexander Muteshi

Ministry of Interior Directorate of Immigration Services Director General Mr. Alexander Muteshi.

Photo credit: Francis Nderitu | Nation Media Group

Applications for passports were made easier when the government said the services would be accessed by appointment only, booked on the eCitizen portal.

But Kenyans have had to wait for about three months to receive their passports.

“Your passport is at the printing stage, when it is ready you will receive a text message to book for collection,” one social media user shared the message with the Nation.

He had received this email from the Communications Unit of the Directorate of Immigration Services in response to his email inquiring about his passport.

His biometrics details were taken on February 16. He is still waiting.

On the eCitizen digital platform, the Immigration department says it takes an applicant at least 10 working days to get their first passport once the form is physically submitted at their offices.

“For all other application types, it should take at least five working days,” reads a notice on eCitizen.

Comments on social media show that many Kenyans blame the Immigration department or the Postal Corporation of Kenya for the delay.

Postmaster-General Dan Kagwe told Nation.Africa that they are not to blame.

“There is no delay from our end; if they have been told the passport has been dispatched, then they should visit the post office they indicated during the application. They will get the passport,” Mr Kagwe said.

In 2020, after Covid-19 hit Kenya, the Postal Corporation and the Immigration department signed an MoU to have passports delivered to applicants.

When applying for a passport, one is supposed to indicate the post office where they will collect their passport.

The Immigration office will send an SMS notification to the applicants whose passports are ready for collection/delivery.

The applicants who receive the message can then track their passport on the Posta website using a tracking number provided by the Immigration department.

If the passport is available for collection, the applicant will then fill out the form as required.

The portal will direct the applicant to make a payment to a paybill number. After paying, they will receive a message from Posta detailing the collection information.

But for another social media user, he has not received a message from Immigration or Posta on updating his passport. His biometrics were taken on November 9, 2021.

The young man had to track the passport to find out the progress. He then realised the passport had been delivered at the point of collection, the Kisii post office.

He paid the delivery fee and was given an appointment date to collect the passport.

“I went to the Kisii post office but was told the passport was still in Nairobi yet I was given a date to collect it after I paid the delivery fee. It has been two months of back and forth and it’s frustrating,” he said by phone.