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Kenya unable to issue passports after printer broke down

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Passports in Kenya are no longer being produced after the government suffered a printer breakdown. Kenyans who submitted their biometrics to the Ministry of Interior’s Directorate of Immigration Services have been waiting for months to access their passports. The printer is reported to have broken down weeks ago, creating a huge backlog of passports that are in the production stage.

“All passports in Kenya are produced in Nairobi. The printing machine has broken down and there is nothing we can do,” a source at the Immigration Directorate told Bizna Kenya. The printer breakdown is reflected by multiple complaints from Kenyans who have been waiting for their passports in vain.

The current backlog comes as the deadline for the shift from old passports to new generation passports inches closer. In February 2021, Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i extended the migration to second generation passports to December 31, 2021. Initially, the Ministry of Interior had stated that it would take ten days for passports to be produced.

On September 30, the Directorate of Immigration Services announced that it had established a special desk based at Nyayo House to handle urgent passports. “Passport applicants may present their requests for rescheduling appointments for bio-metrics as well as fast-tracking issuance of passports at the special desk, provided that they attach the documentary evidence,”  Director-General Alexander Muteshi said. However, he remained silent on the printer breakdown.

Kenyans have also raised complaints that applicants looking to get their passports at Nyayo House will only be able to have their biometrics taken from January 2021. “I wanted to book an appointment for biometrics. However, the available dates are in January 2021,” Amos Kinyua who resides in Embakasi told Bizna Kenya.


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