It’s no secret that getting a Kenyan passport can be a terribly arduous process. However, thanks to the recent measures by the Ministry of Interior Cabinet secretary, Mr. Kithure Kindiki, passport processing is now taking much less time compared to former times.
Nevertheless, the passport application process is still riddled with unnecessary procedures that need optimizing to streamline the entire process. Meanwhile, I have a detailed list of tips to help with the current process of application on the eCitizen platform and the subsequent biometric appointment.
Once one is done with these two stages is when the real problem rears its ugly head, namely, the waiting time for the passport collection. Passport printing problems aside, recent first-hand experience indicates that the source of the inordinate waiting times is actually attributable to simple communication, or rather lack thereof.
Unfortunately, as the passport printing presses have roared back to life, the same can’t be said of the immigration department’s communication to applicants of ready passports. The truth of the matter is that a lot of passports are already printed, however for whatever reason, this information is not reaching applicants.
This is especially true for applicants that applied for passports before the recent shake-up by the interior CS, i.e. pre-July 2023.
Take my case: I applied in April and had my biometrics taken end of May yet by September I hadn’t received any communication regarding the passport. After the biometric appointment, we were advised to wait for an SMS and thereafter to track our passport on the Posta Booking and Collection Portal.
To our surprise, the SMS never arrived and the diligent checking of our tracking number on the portal over the months only proved futile. The only response we got was: Tracking number not found.
Four months later as of this writing the portal now has a message that reads: This service has temporarily been suspended.
It would therefore seem that the lack of communication was simply a symptom of a much larger problem, that is: the bottleneck caused of having Posta handle the passport delivery and collection.
Earlier applicants had to use this Posta process (and still have to) however the immigration department never communicated to newer applicants that some of them would have to collect their passports at the immigration centres where they applied.
Consequently, some applicants are under the misguided notion that their passports are not printed, yet they’re ready for collection. Two friends and I learnt of this fact only after we contacted the immigration department on their social media pages inquiring about the status of our passports (two of us on Facebook and the other on Twitter).
Before contacting them, the passport stage on our respective eCitizen dashboards were still stuck on the first stage. In all our cases they eventually replied indicating the passports were ready for collection and that we were required to book for a passport collection appointment on eCitizen. This is after we had provided them with our tracking numbers.
Surprisingly, after this ‘consultation’ we found that the passport stages’ had magically jumped to the final stage of collection and as such we were able to book for collection.
You can now see what I really mean with poor communication. It turns out that our passports were printed in June (2 months earlier) yet nobody had bothered to contact us despite them having all our contact information.
To avoid all these, here are a few tips on what you need to do before and when you go to collect your passport.
Passport Collection Tips
- If you have received any communication regarding your passport collection, make sure to contact the immigration department and have them track your passport. You can call the immigration office where you had your biometrics taken or contact them on their official social media pages.
In the case of the latter, please beware of fraudsters who are masquerading as the immigration department. The official handle on Twitter is @ImmigrationDept and on Facebook you can message them on the State Department for Immigration and Citizen Services page. They’re more responsive on Facebook.
- Regularly monitor the status of your passport on the immigration’s eCitizen dashboard until when it gets to the final stage of Collection. If it takes longer than usual, contact the immigration department as explained in point one.
- Once the status changes to the collection stage, make sure to book the passport collection appointment at the centre where you had your biometrics taken, even though all stations will be available for selection.
- On the appointment day, carry with you the eCitizen receipts that you were left with after the biometrics appointment along with your National ID and the eCitizen appointment invoice. This invoice shows the date and time of the passport collection appointment. You can get it by reprinting your passport’s payment receipt after scheduling the appointment.
- Finally, show up early as possible on D-Day for faster collection. However, if there are too many of you on that day, then be prepared to wait for a few hours. As such, go on a full stomach or carry some refreshment with you.