Passivation of AlGaN/GaN HEMT by SiN has been shown by several authors to improve device performance. In this paper we demonstrate a new method of passivating the top AlGaN layer, that leads to a drastic improvement of the device characteristics. On top of the AlGaN/GaN HEMT layer structures, a thin SiN layer is grown at high temperature in-situ, i.e. in the MOCVD reactor prior to unloading the HEMT epiwafers. The quality of the SiN is shown to be very high. As the AlGaN surface is protected against any air contamination, ohmic contacts deposited directly on the SiN layer exhibit better properties than on uncapped AlGaN layers. Transistor performance increases impressively: the source-drain dc current, for a positive gate voltage of 2 V, increases from 0.5 A/mm to 1.2 A/mm for similar AlGaN/GaN HEMT structures by depositing SiN in-situ. RF characteristics also show some improvement. The positive impact of in-situ SiN layer has different origins, some being intrinsically linked: surface protection against oxide formation, better ohmic contact formation, passivation of the surface states, reduction of AlGaN relaxation. All this leads to an increase of the 2DEG carrier concentration.