Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki announced on Thursday a new 21-day deadline for the issuance of passports, effective from May 1.

The Ministry of Interior has successfully cleared the backlog of passport applications, reducing the number from 724,000 to below 50,000.

As a result, starting from May 1, Kenyans can expect to receive their passports within a 21-day timeframe.

Furthermore, this processing period will be further reduced to seven days starting August 1, and eventually, passports will be issued within three days by November 1.

The Ministry of Interior assured the public that the government is committed to maintaining these deadlines, as the challenges previously faced in passport printing have been addressed.

“The bottlenecks have now been comprehensively addressed. The backlog of pending passports, which stood at 724,000 by March 11, 2024, has now been brought to below 50,000; 40,000 of which are ready for collection,” the statement read.

Challenges within the immigration department, such as underfunding, corruption, and supply chain issues, were identified as contributing factors to the delays in passport issuance.

“The underfunding of the Directorate of Immigration, corruption, disruption of passport booklet raw material supply chain globally, dilapidated printing infrastructure for the personalization of passport booklets, and delivery inefficiencies of ready passports had the combined effect of crippling service delivery, greatly inconveniencing applicants for the Kenyan passport,” stated CS Kindiki.

Additionally, it was confirmed that seventeen individuals, including both public servants and members of the public, were arrested for their involvement in a syndicate that extorted bribes from passport seekers. These individuals will face criminal charges.

Finally, CS Kindiki expressed gratitude to the Kenyan public for their patience during the backlog clearance process and the ongoing reforms within the department.

“The Ministry of Interior and National Administration appreciates and thanks members of the public for their patience; the Immigration officials who worked tirelessly to turn around the situation since the ongoing reforms in the Directorate were initiated in April 2023,” the Interior Ministry stated.

Acknowledgment was also given to the National Treasury for securing funds to settle pending supplier bills and modernize passport production equipment.