The acting Director General of Immigration Services, Evelyn Cheluget, announced on Monday that the immigration department has implemented a series of new measures to enhance the efficiency of processing Kenyan passports. Speaking to immigration officers at Nyayo House, Cheluget expressed confidence that these changes will strengthen the processing and issuance of travel documents, addressing the persistent delays that have caused frustration among the public. Cheluget stated that starting this week, the workforce will be expanded, and certain officers will be stationed abroad.

Specialized counters will be designated for urgent cases, and a round-the-clock schedule will be implemented from Monday to Sunday, allowing passport applications to be submitted between 7:00 AM and 8:30 PM. Additional solutions involve obtaining new passport booklets, repairing and procuring new machines to enable continuous 24/7 passport printing. “We are making diligent efforts. The passport section is now operating in shifts, with dedicated counters for urgent cases, and all regional heads are supporting the staff at these urgent counters,” remarked Cheluget.

These changes come in response to a backlog that has prompted Kenyans to question the extended processing time for passports, a process that ideally should take 10 to 15 days. On Friday, the Directorate of Immigration Services defended its actions, noting that between July 13 and August 2023, Nyayo House managed to print 96,310 passports. Of these, 53,750 were printed during daytime shifts, while the remaining 42,560 were processed during night shifts. Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki issued a stern warning to the department, pledging to thoroughly address the situation at Nyayo House.

During his appearance before the Parliamentary committee on Thursday, Kindiki attributed the delays to corruption and vowed to find a solution to the problem. “I am committed to resolving the issues at Nyayo House once and for all. We will secure Nyayo House and declare it a crime scene.

How can Kenyans endure queues from 6 a.m.? Normal operations will no longer continue. We must clean up Nyayo House,” Kindiki asserted. According to Kindiki, the current backlog of passport applications stands at 58,000, with the Department of Immigration and Citizen Services processing around 5,000 passports daily. He also mentioned plans to expedite passport issuance to 7 days, eventually reducing the timeframe to 3 days, and even providing emergency issuance within 24 hours.

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