By Winnie Kabintie
You will now be required to book an appointment and get approval before setting off to any passport processing centers in the country for either new passport application or renewal.
This follows a new directive from the Immigration Department, which is reportedly aimed at reducing the congestion in passport processing centres.
Applicants will 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.
“You will henceforth be required to book an appointment in the ecitizen portal specifying the date, time and station of your convenience,” The notice reads in part.
According to the Immigration Department, the directive takes effect immediately and all the applicants who had recently applied for passports have been directed to book appointments.
Students on scholarship requiring immediate travel abroad, sickly persons with urgent travel appointments, public servants and business executives with urgent travel appointment will, however, be exempted from the directive.
Before the directive, all an applicant had to do was apply for the passport on the ecitizen portal, print the form then show up at an immigration center for the processing of the passport.
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.
The deadline has since been pushed to March 2020 but there are still long queues at Nyayo house.
The appointment directive could make the process more seamless but it could also open a frontier for corruption at the passport processing centres.