Kenyans applying for passports could soon see a significant reduction in waiting times, with Parliament recommending a three-day turnaround for processing applications.

This initiative is part of a broader push by the National Assembly's Committee on National Administration and Internal Security to enhance accessibility and efficiency within the Directorate of Immigration and Citizen Services.

Narok West MP Gabriel Tongoyo affirmed the feasibility of the three-day timeline, stating, "With adequate resourcing, targeting a maximum of three days for applicants to be issued with passports is realistic."

He emphasized the importance of expanding the reach of immigration services, particularly by opening more offices across the country.

Currently, many Kenyans face long and expensive journeys to access the central office at Nyayo House or one of the eight regional immigration offices.

The Committee acknowledged the positive impact of recent reforms implemented by the Directorate.

Mandera East MP Hussein Abdirahman noted the significant reduction in queues at Nyayo House, attributing it to the reforms introduced by the Directorate of Immigration.

"We were used to seeing long queues of people at Nyayo House even after working hours," Abdirahman commented.

"But we note that nowadays, those scenes are gone."

This progress report came during the presentation of the State Department's budget estimates for the upcoming fiscal year.

While the requested budget of Sh15.873 billion was not fully met, Sh15.151 billion was allocated. This allocation prioritizes recurrent expenditure (Sh10.145 billion) while allocating Sh5.091 billion for development projects.

The presentation also highlighted the Department's success in clearing a backlog of approximately 700,000 passports.

This achievement, along with investments in equipment and technology, demonstrates the Directorate's commitment to improvement.

Immigration PS Julius Bitok attributed these advancements to Parliament's support and outlined specific reforms, including establishing additional banking halls, acquiring new printers, and increasing personnel.

"With Parliament’s support, we have dealt with the issue of passport backlog and instituted important reforms, including creating two banking halls, buying two printers, and increasing personnel," Bitok stated.

Looking ahead, PS Bitok requested additional funding to support the rollout of the new Maisha Card digital ID and its infrastructure, as well as the Shirika Plan, which aims to integrate refugees with host communities by moving them out of camps.

Previously, Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki and PS Bitok had proposed a maximum waiting time of seven days for passport applications.

The Parliament's current recommendation for a three-day turnaround signifies a heightened focus on improved efficiency for Kenyan citizens seeking passports.