Kenyan government extends deadline to travel on e-passport

The old generation Kenyan passport (left) and the new e-passport. PHOTO | COURTESY

The government has extended the deadline to travel on the new e-passport to March 1, 2021 for all Kenyans.

This means Kenyans can continue to travel on the dark blue documents. Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i said Monday 1.8 million Kenyans, mostly those in diaspora are holding to the dark blue passports.

“We note with concern that 1.8 million Kenyans, mostly in diaspora, are yet to replace their old passports with the East African Community biometric e-passport,” he said.

According to the cabinet secretary,the  government is progressively phasing out the old ordinary passports as part of Kenya’s commitment to migrate to the new-generation e-passport in accordance with ICAO specifications.

“Due to this, the government hereby extends the deadline for voiding the current dark blue machine-readable passport by 12 months. As such, its holders may continue using it until March 1, 2021 when it will no longer be valid for traveling,” said Matiang’i.

He said to rationalize the issuance of this travel document, the government has since 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 U.S. (Washington DC), another in Johannesburg, South Africa, and one more in Dubai.

He added that plans are underway to achieve same-day issuance of passports by July 1, 2020.

Matinag’i 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 last minute rush, unnecessary jam-ups at the centres, and travelling inconveniencies.

It is the second time the government makes the extension. President Kenyatta had last year extended the deadline to this March.

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