In Kenya, Identity Cards – ID are issued in line with the Registration of Persons Act CAP 107, Laws of Kenya and an Act of Parliament that make provision for the registration of persons and for the issue of identity cards possible.
Types of ID Registration in Kenya:
There are four (4) types of categories of registration as listed below:-
1. Initial Registration
2. Replacement Registration
3. Duplicate Registration
4. Change of Particulars
Categories of Forms that are completed when registering for ID in Kenya
1. Reg. 136A: Filled by persons Not Previously Registered
2. Reg. 136C: Filled by all applicants for the various registrations.
3. RIS I: Replacement Information Sheet is filled by persons applying for the Replacement Registration.
4. Reg. 101: Used to capture fingerprint impressions of the applicant.
5. Reg. 105: Filled by persons applying for the Change of Particulars registration.
6. Reg. 103(Amended 1995): Application for Registration Certificate issued to applicant and will surrender it in exchange for a new identity card (Rule 9(3) The Registration of Persons Act).
7. Rejection Statement: Sent to the applicant via his registration office stating reason for rejecting his application
The Identity Card - ID Card is crucial to citizenship in Kenya and somehow determines the extent to which an individual enjoys his/ her fundamental rights and freedoms within our borders. The law provides that a person may be required by an authority to produce an ID card when applying for the grant of any license, permit or other documents, or for the exercise of lawful or judicial functions.
The law, therefore, makes it mandatory for all Kenyans who are 18 years and above to register and be issued with national identity cards. Failure to do so constitutes a criminal offence.
Information contained in the Kenyan Identity Card
The Registration of Persons Act gives the Principle Registrar powers to establish a register of all persons in Kenya that will contain the following information for each person:
- Registration number
- Name in full
- Declared tribe or race
- Date of birth or apparent age, and place of birth
- Occupation, trade or employment
- Place of residence and postal address
- Finger and thumb impressions, and in case of missing fingers and thumbs, palm or toe and toe impressions
- Date of registration
- Any other particulars as may be prescribed
Kenya Constitution 2010
To actualize the new constitution and breathe life into some of the changes, two new laws have been enacted, ultimately bringing into effect the changes envisaged by the constitution towards issues of dual citizenship and immigration.
This has been a very controversial issue, which contributed to migration of white settlers immediately after Kenya got her independence, as they were not ready to renounce their British citizenship.
In the last few years, the Immigration ministry has been confronted by unprecedented demand for birth certiﬁcates as hundreds of thousands of primary school candidates sought the document, after the Kenya National Examination Council made it a mandatory requirement for one to be allowed to sit for their school final examinations.
Nevertheless this was somehow surmounted and prompted the introduction of a new plastic national identity card even as the country inched closer towards the introduction of a third generation, machine readable national identity card, which has enhanced more security measures.
The national identity cards crisis which saw millions of eligible youths go for months without the vital document has been resolved and processing commenced where an estimated 50,000 pieces are being processed per day.
This has necessitated the government to change the material used for the production of the National ID, from the traditional paper-based material to plastic form. This change has been necessitated by the unavailability in the world market of material for ID production, as a result of technological changes.
The cost of producing the paper card has been prohibitive, where producing one piece costs Kshs 1, 500 ($17. 24) as opposed to developed countries where the production cost is as low as Kshs 280 ($3.21). Ironically production of an automated teller machine (ATM card), which has more security features costs about Kshs 400 ($4.59).
The design of the national identity card has not been altered in the new – look issue, although the plastic card has more enhanced security features.
The introduction of the new look card has also not invalidated the current (paper based) one. The government, however, stresses that the plastic card should not be confused with the much anticipated third-generation identity Card variously referred to as smart card, which is still in the pipeline.
Kenya is planning to phase out the current second generation cards which Will be replaced with a new type with a microchip containing more details of the holder in a bid to make it hard for counterfeiters to forge. This new card will also make it easy to transmit data in real time as it will be machine readable.
Towards this end, the ministry of immigration has already procured two new machines in readiness for the production of the third generation cards.
The national identity card, a prerequisite in key formal transactions in private and public offices as a form of identification has been in very high demand.
In unprecedented move, the new Kenyan identity cards were launched in London, which was also inaugurated as a national identity cards issuing office in December 2011.
The launch of the new ID card happened at a time when the country was experiencing a backlog of two million IDs as the daily production was 25,000.
The government has already started addressing the national identity cards crisis by acquiring a new machine, which has a production capacity of 60,000 units per day.
It is expected that the department issued an estimated l2 million identity cards as the country went to the polls on March 4, 2013 when electoral authorities expected the number of voters to reach 22 million.
To hasten the process, the processing of national identity cards has been stepped up in all the 529 stations across the country where 4, 000 members of staff are involved in the process.
The department of Immigration has also opened new border points in a bid to hasten the issuance of passports formerly concentrated in Nairobi and a few selected towns leading to congestion and backlog of applications.
The new border points are Adapal, Mbita, Muhuru Bay, Sand River, Vanga point.
Other points recently opened are Ngomeni and Wajir airport.
The ministry plans to open additional border points at Mulwanda, Kolboi, Amuma, Dif. Elwak, Rhamu, Mela Mari and Banga port.
There are proposals to have extra points in Tondenyang, Kibish, Lokiriama, Sio Port, and Buteba. All the existing and new entry points are supposed to operate from 6.30am to 6.30pm.
At the same time, the ministry has decentralised issuance of passports by upgrading Nakuru and Embu offices.
The elevation of these offices has eased the burden of Kenyans in South Rift and Upper Eastern wishing to travel out of the country to secure travel documents without having to travel to Nairobi to access the documents.
The new offices will also offer other services, visas and citizenship applications. The stations have been kitted up with Kshs40 million worth of equipment donated by International Organisation (IOM) to help secure Kenya’s border points.
The equipment includes a passport reader, Passport Atlas, PD 350 forgery detection system, fingerprint readers, photocopier machines, printers, maps and magnifiers. This will improve migration services and secure border points from human trafficking and counter-terrorism activities.
The collaboration between Kenya and IOM includes establishment of a mobile border processing unit (MBPU), the first of its kind in the East Africa region. The MBPU comprises a mobile processing Unit and two patrol vehicles operating along the porous Kenya-Somalia border and at sites with no presence of immigration infrastructure or officers.
The unit will also be used as a mobile office for operating along main migratory routes and can effectively help detect, identify and intercept any kind of irregular immigration or transnational crime.
The department has undertaken other projects which include communication cen-
tres and equipment for the forgery detection unit at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and Moi International Airport in Mombasa.
These communication centres have been established at the Immigration headquarters in Nairobi, the regional Immigration office in Mombasa, at the border with Somalia at Kiunga and the border with Tanzania at Lunga Lunga.
It is estimated that the establishment of the communication centres will enhance effective communication and ﬂow of information between the points of entry and the headquarters.
Installation of radio communication equipment in the Immigration offices in Mombasa, Kiunga and Lunga Lunga is almost complete.
The equipment and well trained officers will facilitate effective communication between the various communication centres.
The ministry of immigration’s role was somehow expanded the department of Refugees (DRA) officially took over the Reception and Registration of all refugees and asylum seekers in country from UNHCR from March 1, 2011.
Consequently, all asylum seekers entering Kenya are now being received, screened and the designated areas of: Dadaab refugee camps, Kakuma refugee and Shauri Moyo offices for urban refugees or asylum seekers.
Shortly before Kenya launched an offensive against Insurgents in Somalia, Dadaab refugee camp bursting at the seams with its 400,000 refugees expanding daily as hunger stricken asylum seekers streamed into the country the strife torn Somalia. This is in a camp originally meant for only 90,000 refugees.
Control of entry to Kenya
The control of entry and residence of foreigners into this country dates back to the introduction of what was called the Immigration Restriction Ordinance of 1906.
Ordinance restricted the inﬂux of foreigners, especially Indians, coming to the then Kenya colony and Protectorate upon completion Kenya— Uganda Railway.
This Ordinance and others in 1940, 1944, 1948 and 1956 restrictions on persons who to travel to Kenya for permanent settlement.
The Immigration Ordinance of August 1, 1948 formed the basis of the present day Immigration Department, which was curved from the Police Department in 1950. The Immigration Ordinances were revised in 1962 and 1964, when the latter was renamed the Immigration Act.
The Immigration Act of 1964 was revised and a new Immigration Act of 1967, Cap. 172 Laws of Kenya, the current operational Act of the Department, carne into force on December 1, 1967.
At independence, the Department was placed in the Ministry of Home Affairs and was later transferred to the Office of the President (OP), then Ministry of Constitutional Affairs in the early eighties and later back to the Office of the President. In the year 2003, the department was moved to the Ministry of Home Affairs. In the year 2005, the Department reverted to OP and was placed in the new Ministry of Immigration and Registration of Persons.
One of the most signiﬁcant developments has been the scrapping of the immigration ministry in line with the new government (2013) which has reduced the number of ministries and condensed some departments managed with a framework of a leaner cabinet.