In recent news, the Kenyan government has announced a significant increase in fees for obtaining new passports and replacing national identification cards. Birth and death certificates, too, have gone up from Ksh50 to Ksh200. The Interior Cabinet Secretary, Kithure Kindiki, released a gazette notice dated November 7, 2023 stated:
“It is notified that pursuant to Regulation 60 of the Public Finance Management (National Government) Regulations, 2015, the Cabinet Secretary for National Treasury and Economic Planning has granted the Interior and National Administration Cabinet Secretary the authority for the State Department for Immigration and Citizen Services to revise charges and levies on its services.”Read the notice in part.
The most notable adjustment is the introduction of a fee for obtaining a new ID, which was traditionally a free service. Kenyans will now be required to pay Ksh 1,000 for a new ID, marking a departure from the past practice. Additionally, the fee for replacing national identification cards has skyrocketed from Ksh 100 to Ksh 1,000, reflecting a tenfold increase.
The Kenyan government also announced significant revisions to passport fees, affecting various categories. Ordinary passports, previously priced at Ksh4,500 for 34 pages will now cost Ksh7,500. And a 50 pages passport that previously cost Ksh 6000 will now cost Ksh9,500. The 66-page passport fee has been revised from Sh7,500 to Sh12,000. Diplomatic passport fees have doubled from Ksh7,500 to Ksh15,000. For lost passports, the fee has increased from Ksh12,000 to Ksh20,000. And replacing a valid mutilated passport now costs Ksh20,000, up from Ksh10,000.
Marriage Certificates and Civil Weddings
Marriage Certificates and Civil Weddings: In a surprising move, marriage certificates will now cost a staggering Ksh100,000, more than thrice the previous amount. The cost of civil weddings has also skyrocketed, increasing from Ksh5000 to Ksh50,000. These changes raise questions about the accessibility and affordability of essential documents for those planning to get married or formalize their unions.
Citizenship and Residence Fees
The government has extended its fee revisions to citizenship and residence matters. Acquiring citizenship or residence now comes with an increased financial commitment. Notably, the amount payable for children born to Kenyan citizens abroad seeking permanent residence in Kenya has doubled to one million shillings. These adjustments aim to address administrative costs but may pose challenges for those seeking to establish or formalize their ties to the country.
In the broader context of identification services, fees for civil servant cards have surged from Ksh300 to Ksh1000. And the charges for staff badges have seen a notable increase from Ksh350 to Ksh1000. These adjustments encompass a wider spectrum of government-issued identification, further contributing to the ongoing discourse surrounding the affordability and accessibility of essential documents for all citizens.
The government needs to cover administrative costs adequately. But, it should not come at the expense of burdening ordinary people. They rely on these documents for various essential activities such as travel or accessing public services. Policymakers must find a balance between addressing expenses and ensuring accessibility for all citizens during these changes.