• Plans are also underway to achieve same-day issuance of passports.

• EAC directed its members to begin issuance of the new digital passport by January 31, 2018.

The government has said that Kenyans have until November to replace their old passports
Kenyan passport. The government has said that Kenyans have until November to replace their old passports
Image: The-Star

Kenyans have till November 30 to switch their old passports over to the new electronic version.

Alexander Muteshi, director general of immigration services, stated that the action was taken in response to a resolution made between the November 22 and 29, 2021, meeting of the East Africa Community Council of Ministers.

The council extended the deadline for all EAC members to phase out their old generation passports to November 2022.

“In line with this decision, the Directorate of Immigration Services wishes to inform the general public that Kenya is bound to migrate fully to the new East African Community biometric e-passport by 30th November 2022.”

“Kenyans are therefore hereby advised to acquire the new Biometric e-passport to avoid any inconveniences,” said Muteshi in a statement.

Since 2019, the government has been extending the deadline for using the new e-passport.

Some Kenyans have been traveling using documents that are dark blue. This came after it was discovered that about 1.8 million Kenyans, primarily those living abroad, held dark blue passports.

The transition to the new generation of e-passports follows ICAO guidelines.

The government established and operationalized six passport control centers, including four in Kenya (Nakuru, Kisii, Eldoret, and Embu) and four abroad (Washington, DC, Johannesburg, South Africa, and Dubai). This was done to streamline the issue of this travel document.

Additionally, efforts are being made to achieve passport issuing on the same day.

To avoid the last-minute rush, avoidable traffic jams at the centers, and travel inconveniences, Muteshi advised Kenyans who still had their dark blue passports to make the most of this time and get their EAC-format electronic passports as soon as feasible.

Prior to the deadline, there was a mad dash to get new e-passports because the government had previously announced that the outdated passports will become obsolete in 2020.

Many Kenyans found the process of getting new passports to be a nightmare as they were had to wait for hours in line at Nyayo House in Nairobi.

Kenya started issuing one electronic East African Community (EAC) passports in August 2017 in place of the member states' readable East African and regular passports.

By January 31, 2018, EAC instructed its members to start issuing the new digital passport.

An Automated Fingerprint Verification System has been added to the new e-passport database to reduce fraud, identity theft, forgeries, and passport skimming.

The e-passport, according to officials, will make it easier for Kenyans to travel, particularly through the use of automated border crossings, or e-gates, the automatic issue of boarding tickets, and quicker travel arrangements with airlines and international immigration checks.

Applicants will need to apply for a new passport and turn in their old ones in order to receive an e-passport. The move is a component of the government's transformation to e-services in order to boost productivity and close security gaps.

For instance, starting in 2015, all foreign visitors to Kenya had to use the e-visa system to submit an online visa application.

The government also launched the e-citizen, a one-stop information and service platform, to aid Kenyans in quickly and easily completing transactions online.

The Integrated Population Registration System, a new computer system for collecting personal data on people, connects all government institutions.

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