• The new e-passport database is enhanced with an Automated Fingerprint Verification System to minimise fraud, identity theft, forgery and passport skimming.
• The move is part of the government's switching shift to e-services, to improve efficiency and reduce security loopholes.
Kenyans who have not replaced their old passports with the new e-passport have until November 30 to do so.
Director general of Immigration Services Alexander Muteshi on Thursday said the move follows a decision by the East Africa Community Council of Ministers meeting held from November 22 -29, 2021.
The council set the deadline of phasing out of the old generation passport for all EAC member states to be 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 November 30,” Muteshi said in a statement.
“Kenyans are therefore hereby advised to acquire the new biometric e-passport to avoid any inconveniences.”
The government has been extending the deadline to travel on the new e-passport since 2019.
Some Kenyans have been travelling on the dark blue documents.
This was after it emerged almost 1.8 million Kenyans, mostly those in diaspora, were holders of the dark blue passports.
The migration to the new-generation e-passport is in accordance with ICAO specifications.
To facilitate the issuance of this travel document, the government set up four passport control centres in Nakuru, Kisii, Eldoret and Embu.
Also, six others in the diaspora with three in Europe (Berlin, Paris and London), one in the U.S. (Washington DC), another in South Africa (Johannesburg) and one more in Dubai.
Plans are also underway to achieve same-day issuance of passports.
Muteshi told Kenyans still holding the dark blue passport to take full advantage of this period to acquire the EAC-format electronic passports at the earliest opportunity possible.
He said this will curb last minute rush, unnecessary jam-ups at the centres and travel inconveniences.
The government had previously announced that the old passports would be invalid beginning 2020, causing a scramble and last-minute rush for the new e-passports ahead of the deadline.
The process to acquire the new passports had turned into a nightmare for many Kenyans who were forced to spend long hours on the endless queues at Nyayo House, Nairobi.
In August 2017, Kenya began issuing single electronic East African Community passports, replacing the readable East African and ordinary passport issued by the member states.
EAC directed its members to begin issuance of the new digital passport by January 31, 2018.
The new e-passport database is enhanced with an Automated Fingerprint Verification System to minimise fraud, identity theft, forgery and passport skimming.
Officials argue the e-passport will assist Kenyans in easing travel, especially through use of automated border clearances or e-gates.
Also, automated issuance of boarding passes and faster travel arrangements with airlines and immigration checks worldwide.
To get the e-passport, applicants will be required to apply for a replacement passport and return their current ones.
The move is part of the government's switching shift to e-services to improve efficiency and reduce security loopholes.
For instance, since 2015, all foreigners visiting Kenya were required to apply for visas online through the e-visa system.
The government also rolled out the e-citizen, a one stop portal for information and service, to help Kenyans get fast transactions online conveniently.
All government agencies are interlinked through a new computer system, the Integrated Population Registration System for personal information of individuals.
(Edited by Bilha Makokha)