August 19, 2021


The Immigration Department is one of the government offices that have improved tremendously in service delivery.

More by Winnie Kabintie

How to apply for a Kenyan passport

How to apply for a Kenyan passport

Despite some of the hardships and issues associated with poor governance that can make life in Kenya a bit or very difficult, depending on who you ask, we still have loads of things that make us proud as taxpayers and one of these recent incidents that have left me a happy mwananchi is the ease of acquiring my Kenyan passport and just how seamless the application and processing process has become.

I applied for my Kenyan passport for the first time in 2019 and this was during the mad rush to beat the August deadline that the government had set for acquiring the new generation passport, that saw lengthy queues build up at Nyayo House from as early as 4am, but exactly three weeks after my application my passport was out and this was done without greasing anyone’s palms in the usual “kitu kidogo”.

Kenya has been keen on introducing the e-passport and had issued a deadline for August 31st, 2019, which had seen hundreds of people flock at Nyayo house in Nairobi as early as 4 am since the year began, prompting the government to open up more passport processing centres in other counties.

I had just applied for an international fellowship and it was essential to acquire a passport especially considering that I had been bold enough to answer “Yes” in the question on the form that had asked if I had one.

I made it to Nyayo House quarter to 6 am and there was a queue already, but not so long. When the gates opened at 6am, a police officer came around seeking to identify the elderly, pregnant women and people with disabilities so that they could get priority and I volunteered to help him identify the women and that is how I went in with those on the priority list.

Unfortunately, once I submitted my paperwork at the counter the immigration pointed out an error in my names as my surname was missing in my birth certificate but had been included in my national ID. So I was advised to go and sort that issue out at a different government office altogether, the one in charge of issuing birth certificates and the process took about a week and I was back at the immigration office in Nyayo house with all my paperwork in order and I was done with my submission within 30 minutes. I dint have to queue this time as I had been wise enough to ask the immigration officer that had directed me to fix the name errors to indicate some clearance note on my form so that I didn’t have to queue again in my return visit, which was quite logical, I guess.

Exactly three weeks after applying for my Kenyan passport, I got the much-waited SMS saying that my passport was ready and that I could go collect it. It was unbelievable, I was elated but wait this is Kenya, where seeing is believing so I contained my joy and waited until the next day to go collect it and it’s here that I came across one of these individuals that continue to taint government offices in a bad light.

To take you back a bit, about a week after I applied for my passport, in an effort to control the crazy queues at Immigration offices as people rushed to meet the ePassport deadline, the immigration department had introduced a new system that would require applicants to book for an appointment online, then they would be scheduled to go submit their application forms at any of the passport processing centers in the country.

So this gentleman we met at the collection tent, which is outside the main building where the passport applications are made, was trying to take advantage of this appointment directive to collect unwarranted bribes.

Those who had not booked an appointment come this way”, he said.

And everyone who was there to collect their passport after getting the much-awaited SMS had not, so we moved aside.

Now you are required to have booked an appointment to come collect your passports but don’t worry I can help, you just need to apart with Sh 1000 each,”.

I was the first one to protest, making it clear to him that I knew about the appointment directive and it was only for new applicants, otherwise the SMS we got would have directed us to do so.

“Ok, lets make it Sh 500”, he added trying to dismiss me.

NO! you need to be ashamed of yourself, you’re the people giving government offices a bad name!”, I said before turning to everyone and asking them not to part with any money.

“I personally came here, applied for my passport and I got the SMS saying it’s ready for collection exactly after three weeks! I never bribed anyone, you can all see that the system is working, so just be patient and follow the process you’ll get your passports”, I said.

By the time I was done the crooked gentleman was nowhere on sight, we went back to the tent and were directed to move inside the building where we collected our passports and signed the collection form.

The Immigration Department is one of the government offices that have improved tremendously in service delivery.

How to Apply for Kenyan Passport Online

In 2015, the immigration department introduced of an electronic system, which will allow citizens to make their passport applications and payments online on the ecitizen portal.

Once you do this the system allows you to print the forms, which you then attach passport photos and then go submit physically at any of the approved passport issuance offices in the country, where your biometrics are also captured.

Why You Need to Book Appointment to Apply/Renew Passport in Kenya

Applicants are now be required to still apply for their passports online via the ecitizen portal and then book an appointment to get approval to visit the passport centres for either new passport application or renewal.

Students on scholarship requiring immediate travel abroad, sickly persons with urgent travel appointments, public servants and business executives with urgent travel appointments will, however, be exempted from the directive.


‘Why you need to book an appointment early to get your Kenyan passport’




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