I was going through my important papers the other day and chanced upon my passport. I went through the pages, reminiscing at all the stamps from different countries’ immigration counters at various airports when I realised that the passport had no empty pages at all. It hadn’t expired but there was no space for another stamp, so I decided that I must update and keep my travel documents in order in case of any emergency.
I’ve never had to sort my passport issues out before because someone has always done that for me, so I was wondering how to go about this. These days, the first thing I do is Google just about everything I need to know and I’m glad I did. I came across a website that told me what I need to do to get a new Kenyan passport and the forms were also available online to download. There was also a phone number on the website so I tried calling it and was pleasantly surprised that it was answered at the second ring and my query was very politely answered. I had to take the completed passport form along with the list of documents required to Nyayo House and apply there.
Off I went to Nyayo House with my neat folder with pretty flowers on it and I queued up to hand in my paperwork along with my old passport. My documents were checked, I was sent to the cashier to make my payment. After payment, the cashier gave me a slip and told me to go to the next counter, which is like a little room where they take pictures for the passport. Here, you’re given a receipt with a tracking number for your passport and you can check the progress of your application online.
I went back a week later and was told my passport is ready and I collected it with no major hassles at all. In fact, there were NO hassles at all. Contrary to popular belief, I didn’t need to ‘know’ someone at the Passport Control Office to be issued with a passport. There is no preferential treatment. You get in line and are served like the person in front of you and the one behind you, with the same courteous manner.
I must say that the members of staff are very helpful and very polite, both on the phone and in person. I must have made over 25 calls in one day to track my passport application because the online link seemed to be down and each time I was attended to very efficiently and with pleasant manners. I hate people who work somewhere and are RUDE and slam the phone down on you… I digress but watch this space for a rant on that too.
So there you go. It seriously is very easy to get yourself a Kenyan passport without having a degree in Rocket Science. No ‘kitu kidogo’ was parted with; not that I’d ever agree to part with my hard-earned money to bribe someone to get something done for me. No one asked for anything from me or did I offer it or have the need to. Just like every other person I was with in that hall at Nyayo House, I was served pleasantly and politely.
A high recommendation is what I give the Passport Control Office for being so exemplary and for stamping out any form of corruption. I just had to share my simplistic view and experience because many were shocked that I got my passport so easily.
And now we build on that towards Vision 2030.