Kenyans living abroad will pay nearly double the amounts fellow citizens are charged for passports at following the gazettement of new variated fees for the travel documents.
Interior cabinet secretary Fred Matiang’i set the fees in a January 18 amendment to the Citizenship and Immigration Regulations.
Kenyans living in the United States have been hit hardest by the new regulations that require them to pay twice as much as is charged locally for a passport.
Previously, the regulations were silent on fees payable by those applying for passports from embassies abroad, only setting out one uniform fee structure.
Under the amended regulations, a citizen living in the United States will pay Sh11,198 ($110) for a 48-page passport and Sh14,252 ($140) for a 64-pager almost double the Sh6,000 and Sh7,500 charged in Kenya respectively.
Kenyans living in the United Kingdom will pay Sh8,532 (60 British Pounds) for a 48-page passport and Sh12,799 (90 British Pounds) for a 64-page passport.
Those applying from mainland Europe will Sh9,383 (75 Euro) for a 48-page passport while a 64-page passport will cost Sh11,260 (90 Euro).
The diaspora in Africa, Australia, and Asia will pay the lowest fees at Sh6,617 ($65) for a 48-page passport and Sh8,144 ($80) for a 64-page passport.
The diplomatic corps will pay Sh17,306 and Sh12,799 for passports issued in the United States and the United Kingdom, in comparison to the Sh7,500 charged locally.
It was not clear why the minister gazetted these fees as the Ministry of Interior had not responded to questions on the subject by close of business Friday.
Kenya has over the past one year been reforming its immigration and citizenship services, starting with the rollout of e-passports that are in line with international standards last September.
The new passports have an embedded chip that carries the bearer’s data and is more immune to forgery than the “analogue” passports.
The government has also centralised the printing of passports to Nairobi but has maintained application and document drop off points across the country.
A quick survey of Kenya’s embassies in the United States, France and the United Kingdom indicates that this centralisation also affects them. Citizens are also expected to apply for the travel passes online.
A phase-out period will last until next year after which every Kenyan is expected to hold an e-passport.
The immigration department earlier this month said that it had raised revenue collection by Sh3.5 billion following the automation of its services.