Kenyans who wish to travel out of the country in future now have till November 30, 2022, to obtain the new East African Community (EAC) biometric e-passport, the government has announced.
In a statement, Director General of Immigration Services (DIS) Alexander Muteshi stated that the old generation Kenyan passport will be phased out by November 30 this year.
Muteshi urged Kenyans to acquire the new biometric e-passport to avoid inconveniences.
"Pursuant to the decision by EAC Council of Minister's meeting held in Arusha from 22nd to 29th November 2021, the deadline for phasing out of the old generation passport for all EAC member states is 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 biometrics e-passport by 30th November 2022," the statement reads in parts.
The new deadline was changed from the previous December 31 set in 2021.
At the time, the DIS announced that the decision was made after consulting with the EAC Council of Ministers during a meeting held in Arusha, Tanzania.
This was a step aimed at the harmonization of the East African region.
“However, the 41st Ordinary Meeting of the EAC Council of Ministers held in Arusha from 22nd to 29th November 2021, extended the phasing out period of all EAC member Countries passport to November 2022,” Muteshi stated.
He additionally stated that the government was set to follow the new directives unless otherwise indicated.
The DIS began issuing the new digitized passports, which the government says is aimed at promoting efficiency and enhancing security, in September 2017.
The travel document contains the owner's biodata such as his/her fingerprints, a biometric identifier, a signature, a digitally stored photo of the holder and security features that eliminate passport data skimming, unauthorized reading or scanning of stored data.
The passport comes in colours such as red, green, and sky blue depending on the category.
To acquire the new passport, one will be required to book appointments through the e-citizen platform before going to the passport processing centres.
This is according to a notice by the Immigration Department.
For previous owners of the old generation passport, you will need to return the old generation passport before acquiring the current one.
Gov't opens passport centres
In 2020, outgoing Interior Cabinet Secretary (CS) Fred Matiang'i announced that 1.8 million Kenyans were yet to exchange their dark blue Kenyan passports for the light blue e-passport.
Noting that majority of Kenyans were yet to change their travel document, Matiangi announced that the government had opened six more passport control centres abroad - three in Europe (Berlin, Paris and London), one in the U.S. (Washington DC), another in Johannesburg, South Africa, and one more in Dubai.
“Considering this is the second extension, the 1.8 million Kenyans still holding the dark blue passport are urged to take full advantage of this period to acquire the EAC-format electronic passports at the earliest opportunity possible, to avoid last minute rush, unnecessary jam-ups at the centres, and travelling inconveniencies,” Matiang'i stated at the time.