Saturday, 22 March 2014

Kenyans in the US to be issued with IDs: Embassy

Kenya’s acting Ambassador to the US, Ms Jean Kamau has announced that the Kenyan Embassy in Washington DC will begin issuing IDs to Kenyan citizens residing in the US and Mexico from mid April. PHOTO | BMJ Muriithi | NMG
 Kenya’s acting Ambassador to the US, Ms Jean Kamau has announced that the Kenyan Embassy in Washington DC will begin issuing IDs to Kenyan citizens residing in the US and Mexico from mid April.


The Kenyan Embassy in the United States has announced it will begin issuing National Identity cards to Kenyan nationals living in the US and Mexico from next month.
Besides being able to acquire 2nd generation IDs, Kenyans living in the Western hemisphere nations will also have their lost IDs replaced at the Embassy while first time applicants and those wishing to change their particulars will be able to do so without having to travel to Kenya.
Speaking to the Nation from her office in Washington DC, acting Kenya’s Ambassador to the US, Ms Jean Kamau, said the government is determined to make sure that every Kenyan who qualifies for the important document gets one.
“We are very excited about this roll out which begins on Monday April 14. In due course, this program will be replicated in other countries across the world,” she said.
Ms Kamau appealed to Kenyan parents of American born children to take advantage of the roll-out.
“We would like these children to feel appreciated as Kenyans. They too deserve these documents,” she said.
The new development comes barely a week after the Sunday Nation reported that a section of Kenyans residing in the United States were dissatisfied with the Jubilee government’s performance record – mainly on the handling of Diaspora Affairs.
In recent times Kenyans in the Diaspora have been finding it increasingly difficult to transact various official businesses due to lack of valid requisite documents.
“A new generation ID is part of the requirements when applying for a Personal Identification Number (PIN) which is mandatory for registration of property in Kenya. Most Kenyans who came here over a decade ago don’t have the IDs and as a consequence couldn’t transact many businesses. This is welcome news,” said Timothy Ndegwa, a resident of Atlanta, Georgia.
But some Kenyans are already taking issue with the requirement to appear in person at the embassy in Washington DC in order to acquire or renew their documents.
Jovita Kassangi, a Kenyan who lives in the city of Thibodoux, Lousiana questioned the rationale of asking Kenyans to travel to the US capital.
“It wouldn’t make any sense for me to travel for 17 hours to get an ID,” she said via twitter.
It is also not very clear whether Kenyans living in Mexico would be required to travel to Washington DC to access the service.
Our attempts to reach the envoy for clarification were unsuccessful as we were advised to leave a message on her cell phone Friday evening.
However, in an interview late last year, Ms Kamau had said the embassy was contemplating a road tour to take the ID issuance service to different cities in the US.
“It would be a good idea to target cities with high concentration of Kenyans,” she told the Nation in December.
A message posted on the embassy’s website says that processing of an ID will take approximately 6 to 8 weeks from the date of application.
Requirements for application and other details can be found on the Embassy's website.