Registration and Identity Management

The process of registration enables the early identification of individuals with specific needs and supports their referral to necessary protection and assistance programmes. The very fact of being registered can protect against refoulement (forced return), arbitrary arrest and detention. It helps keep families together and assists UNHCR in reuniting refugees, especially children, who have been separated from their families.

Since 2016, all registration and documentation in Kenya is managed by the Government of Kenya, represented by the Department of Refugee Services (DRS). Registration activities have been unified, harmonized in one data management system, combined with biometrics, and are being conducted by DRS personnel with technical support from UNHCR.

Various documents are issued by DRS to refugees and asylum-seekers, including refugee identity cards, asylum-seeker passes, proof of registration documents, and movement passes.

The Government of Kenya issued a Kenya Gazette Notice on 19 September 2023 indicating that all documentation issued under the Refugees Act, 2021 may be used to access government services. UNHCR is seeking clarification as to how the documentation issued to refugees and asylum-seekers may be used to access services offered by private companies, such as SIM cards and financial services.