Kenya delays e-passport issuance in UK over system set up

Friday July 26 2019

Kenya’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom (UK) Manoah Esipisu. FILE PHOTO | NMG


Kenyans living in Britain may have to wait for three more weeks to be able to apply for the e-passports at the High Commission in London as authorities set up the facility.

The changes in the timelines come amid protests from the diaspora over lack of passport services at the Mission.

Reacting to the complaints, Kenya’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom (UK) Manoah Esipisu said the service will start mid next month.

“We are aware of the complaints (from Kenyans in the UK). The Immigration Department has said infrastructure will be in place by August 10 so we expect to be at full steam around August 15,” said Mr Esispisu.

“We are calling on them to be patient. We are all set to start next month when infrastructure is put in place and there should be no cause for worry or angst,” he added.

The UK is one of the countries where the trialling of e-passport services was to be done, before rolling out in other diplomatic stations.


Others include Kenyan embassies in Pretoria, Paris, Dubai, Washington and Beijing.

At least 200,000 Kenyans live in the UK, according to records at the diaspora portal of the foreign ministry.

The launch of the e-passport centres, which target places with largest number of Kenyans in the diaspora, could mean that Kenyans will no longer not need to travel back home to apply for their new passports.

Run by the Immigration Department, portals will be available on each Kenyan mission website, directing applicants on the procedure to follow.

The programme could—once in place—come in handy to help Kenyans living in the diaspora who had complained of lack of service despite a March directive by President Uhuru Kenyatta that the passports be issued in their countries of residence.

Officially, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs manages diplomatic missions abroad. But specific services like passport issuance as provided by the same departments as at home. That means the Immigration Department will have to send attaches in all embassies to ensure the service is provided there.