•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.
Kenyans who have not replaced their old passports with the new e-passport one have until November 30 to do so.
Director General of Immigration services Alexander Muteshi said the move follows a decision by the East Africa Community Council of minister’s meeting held on November 22 and 29, 2021.
The council set the deadline for phasing out the old generation passport for all EAC member states 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.
The government has been extending the deadline to travel on the new e-passport since 2019.
Some Kenyans have been travelling on dark blue documents. This was after it emerged almost 1.8 million Kenyans, mostly those in the diaspora were holding dark blue passports.
The migration to the new-generation e-passport is in accordance with ICAO specifications.
To rationalize the issuance of this travel document, the government set up and operationalized four passport control centres in Nakuru, Kisii, Eldoret and Embu, and six others in the diaspora; three in Europe (Berlin, Paris and London), one in the US (Washington DC), another in Johannesburg, South Africa, and one more in Dubai.
Plans are also underway to achieve same-day issuance of passports.
Muteshi told the 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 to avoid the last-minute rush, unnecessary jam-ups at the centres, and travelling inconveniencies.
The government had previously announced that the old passports would be invalid beginning in 2020 causing a scramble and last-minute rush for the new e-passports ahead of the deadline.
The process to acquire new passports had turned into a nightmare for many Kenyans who were forced to spend long hours in endless queues at Nyayo House in Nairobi.
In August 2017, Kenya began issuing single electronic East African Community (EAC) passports, replacing the readable East African and ordinary passports 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 the use of automated border clearances or e-gates, 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 — Integrated Population Registration System — for personal information of individuals.