The immigration department Friday morning was ordered by President Uhuru Kenyatta to issue new generation passports to Kenyans in the diaspora.
Speaking during a press briefing in Windhoek, Namibia, where he is the chief guest in the country’s 29th independence anniversary celebrations held on Thursday, the president gave a direct order to the immigration department to speed up the process.
Very few Kenyans abroad have managed to acquire the passports despite government’s plan to start officially using the new generational passports by 2021.
Uhuru said Kenyans living outside the country shouldn’t incur huge financial costs to travel back home to Nairobi to acquire them.
“Form a team that will go from country to country to register Kenyans in the diaspora. No Kenyan should be forced to spend money to travel to Kenya to get passports,” he said at the Windhoek Country Club.
The directive is a relief to many Kenyans abroad who had been forced to incur huge expenses coming back to the country to renew their passports. Uhuru was responding to questions from Kenyans residing in Namibia, as many were concerned over the difficulties involved in acquiring the new passports.
Many complained over the long queues at immigration offices and lengthy processes involved on acquiring the document.
The Department of Immigration in February said that it would open new digital passport issuance points across the country and abroad to ease congestion at Nyayo House and asked those living in diaspora not to fly back.
“Those in the diaspora do not need to travel back here as they will be able to acquire passports from our offices in Paris, Berlin, Washington, London, Dubai and Johannesburg in the next two months.” said Immigration Director-General Alex Muteshi.
D.K Gitau, founder of Kenyan Parents in US, had said the embassy in DC told him biometric kits would only be available at two consular centres — Los Angeles and DC leading to an outcry.
“If that is the case, it will cost each one a minimum of $750 (Sh75,000) for travel and accommodation, assuming you live in Seattle, Washington or Boston, Massachusetts, and you have to travel to either DC or LA to process a passport,” he said.