Paddy Mwembu, Los Angeles, California
To sign the petition at Change.org, Click here: http://chng.it/RbbJP9VM
The Kenya Diaspora in the United States of America, is petitioning the Office of the President of the Republic of Kenya to consider authorizing processing epassports biometrics at the Consulate of the Republic of Kenya in Los Angeles, California. Fifty percent (50%) or more of the Kenyans in the United States reside on the West Coast of America.
Considering the distance and the cost of travel to Washington, D.C. solely for the purpose of e-passport biometrics processing does not make economic sense. The distance to Washington, D.C. is extreme and the total cost is prohibitive.
As an alternative, e-passport biometrics processing can be performed at the consulate in Los Angeles. The office is fully functional, appropriately staffed and has the capability to handle e-passport processing. Huduma number biometrics, Kenya identification cards, old generation passports, travel visas and even issuance of travel documents to Kenyans wishing to travel to Kenya, but have lost their passports have been issued at the office.
The absence of e-passport services in Los Angeles is hamstringing, disenfranchising, and difficult to understand. Availability of the service in Los Angeles will save Kenyans the cost of travel to Washington, D.C. The money saved could end up being additional Diaspora economic remittance to Kenya.
Estimate of cost of the E-Passport if you Reside in Los Angeles
A conservative estimate of the cost of travel from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C. merely for the purpose e-passport biometrics processing is approximately $1,300 per person. This estimate comprises a return air-ticket at $500; 3 days stay in a hotel at $100 per day or a total of $300; food at $50 a day or $150; rental car for 3 days at $30 per day or $90; and a cost of applying for a 64-page passport at $140. This means that a family of four will be spending approximately $5,200 on the e-passport. Incidentally, this estimate does not include lost income since most people are only paid if they go to work. Assuming 5,000 Kenyans will travel to Washington, D.C. for the epassport, estimates indicate they will spend in excess of $6.5 million (i.e. 5,000 Kenyans x $1,300).
Is this worth it? Is this how the Kenya Government wants its Diaspora citizens to spend their money? How will Kenya and its peoples benefit from such spending? The answer is simple; benefits will accrue to airlines and hotels. The smart action to take is to bring the epassport services closer to the people.
Distance Between Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.
According to Google maps, the distance between Los Angeles and Washington, D.C is approximately 2,691 miles or 4,306 kilometers. If one would be crazy enough to drive, it will take approximately 80 hours round trip. Supposing one drives an average of 10 hours a day, the round trip will take 8 days. If you add roughly the 3 necessary days for rest and getting processed at the embassy, one must budget two full weeks for the epassport. Is this wise?
If the e-passport service is initiated at the Los Angeles consulate, residents of surrounding states such as Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Idaho et al could easily drive to Los Angeles if they chose not to fly.
In summary, the Kenyan Diaspora in the United States of America petition the Office of the President in the Republic of Kenya to intervene with an order that will allow e-passport processing at the Consulate of Republic of Kenya in Los Angeles, California.