The clock is ticking for Kenyans to replace their old passports with the East African Community biometric e-passport.
On Thursday, Immigration Director General reminded Kenyans that they have until end of November to replace their old passports.
“Pursuant to the decision by EAC Council of Minister’s held in Arusha from November 22 to 29, 2021, the deadline for phasing out of the old generation passport for EAC Member States is November 2022,” DG Alexander Muteshi said.
In January, the government extended the deadline to November 30, 2022, which allowed Kenyans to continue using the dark blue documents.
This was the fourth time that the deadline for the new passports had been extended after immediate former President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2019 ordered the extension to March 2020.
Kenya started issuing the new East African format e-Passport in September 2017 in line with digitization of services.
Last year, outgoing Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i said that the December 31, 2021 deadline will be the last such extension barring any unforeseen circumstances urging Kenyans to take advantage and acquire the biometric passports at the earliest possible opportunity.
“For the avoidance of doubt, starting January 1, 2022, the old dark blue passport will be null and void. No Kenyan will be able to travel abroad without a valid East Africa Community biometric e-passport,” he said then.
In a bid to ensure swift service delivery, the State set up more control centres to facilitate faster issuance of the travel document done within a day of application ahead of the deadline.
Locally, the new centres were set up in Nakuru, Kisii, Eldoret and Embu while in Europe, the centres were established in Berlin, Paris and London. Others abroad are in Washington DC, Dubai and Johannesburg.
The new-generation e-passports feature a microchip containing data about the holder, which also matches the information in the passport booklet.
The e-passport allows information stored on the chip to be verified with the information visually displayed on the booklet.
Due to its secure nature, the e-passport curbs reproduction and tampering. It also enhances imposter detection.