The Department of National Registration Bureau was established in 1978 to implement and enforce the Registration of Persons Act (Cap 107), Laws of Kenya. The Act provides for compulsory identification, registration and issuance of identity cards to all persons who are citizens of Kenya and who have attained the age of eighteen years and above.
National Identity Cards play an important role in the security, social economic and political development of the country through identification of Kenya citizens, facilitating voting process and promoting economic activities.
The department has evolved over the years from manual processes to a semi-automated registration system that issues secure national identity cards to all eligible citizens.
Categories of Applications
There are four categories of applications for identity cards, namely:
- Not Previously Registered (initial registration). No fees is paid to access this service
- Duplicates-resulting from lost, defaced or mutilated cards. We have re-instated charging of a service fee of Kshs.100 with effect from 16th March 2018; and
- Change of particulars resulting from change of name(s) and residence which attracts a fee of Kshs.300 and 1000(Depending on the request).
Positive identification of all persons seeking first registration is one of the key pillars of the identification process in Kenya. A lot of care is taken to ensure that only eligible citizens are registered and issued with identity cards.
All persons seeking initial registration are required to prove their citizenship, age and be positively identified by local National Government Administration officers(Assistant chiefs, Chiefs and Assistant County Commissioners) before they are registered.
Applicants in border and cosmopolitan areas are vetted by identification committees comprising local elders, Immigration officers (where present), Registration officers and local security personnel.
Other functions of the Department include:
The department maintains an electronic database of registered Refugees and Foreign nationals. It also processes Refugees’ and Foreign Nationals’ identity cards on behalf of Immigration and Refugees and civil servants’ identity cards and government staff identification badges.
Programmes Being Under Taken By The Department
2nd generation identity card system
Issuance of the semi-automated 2nd generation identity card was introduced in 1995 and is still going on. The system was aimed at addressing problems of duplication of identity card numbers, fraudulent issuance and acquisition of identity cards and cumbersome manual process that were associated with the issuance of identity cards up to 1995.
Provision Services in Huduma Centres
The department offers application for duplicate identity cards services at all Huduma Centers. In 2016, live data capture and on-line transmission equipment was introduced at the Huduma centres which have led to rendering of quicker services.
The department’s services at Huduma centres have been very popular with members of the public.
Digitization of Registration services
The department has installed live capture systems in 43 Huduma centres throughout the country. It will also install 67 more live data- capture equipment by June this year. This will drastically reduce the time taken to issue identity cards and improve on the quality of applications being submitted from field stations.Capturing of biometric data of Refugees in the repatriation programme
The department was requested by National Multi-agency Refugees’ Repatriation Team to capture biometric data of refugees who are in the process of being repatriated. It has so far captured and archived details of 175,000 such persons.
Implementation of a new identity cards system.
The department requires to urgently introduce an electronic identity card system in tandem with best international practices in issuing documents of personal identification and regional trends . The proposed system will entail automation of the registration and identification process through installation of live capture equipment in field offices; setting up a personalization and production facility; a centralized database at the headquarters and automated biometric identification system which will be supported by more robust and appropriate operating systems.
The main objective of introducing the new ID card system is to respond to emerging problems such as forgery, fraud, slow, manual and labour intensive processes in the issuance of the 2nd generation identity cards. The proposed system will also enhance security and increase efficiency in registration and card issuance process by allowing for data transmission in real time. It will further lead to the issuance of a more secure multipurpose smart ID card.
The government requires to urgently procure a 3rd Generation identity card system.The procurement process has unsuccessfully been initiated on three different occasions. All the processes were however nullified by the Public Procurement Oversight Authority on the basis of appeals instituted by unsuccessful bidders. These nullifications are responsible for the inordinate delay in implementing the new identity card system.
Main Achievements In The Department
The following is a summary of some of the department’s key achievements:
Identification, Registration, processing and issuance of National Identity cards eligible persons throughout the country. The Department has issued 6 million valid 2nd generation identity cards to eligible Kenyans so far. We receive and process an average of two million(2 million) applications per year. The department has a network of more than 600 field registration centres throughout the country .It has also partnered with the department of Immigration to open registration centres in U.K, U.S.A, U.A.E , Botswana and South Africa to serve Kenyans leaving in the diaspora;
The department successfully registered and issued 3.5 million identity cards to eligible persons as part of the preparations for the 2017 general elections.
Establishment of a unique Automated Fingerprint identification System (AFIS) and upgrading of identity card processing and production sub systems. This has raised the capacity of the production center to 60,000 identity cards per day;
Successful Migration of 4 million records to the Integrated Population Registration System; and
Digitization of original manual registration records kept at the basement of Jogo House. This has led prompt retrieval of records and provision of timely services to security agencies and in the department.