Transition from the Old Generation Passports to the New Generation E-Passports in Kenya
Introduction of the e-Passports
The decision to migrate from the old passport to the new e-passport was first made public in April 2015 and the launch was scheduled to be in December 2016. This was pursuant to an agreement between the East African Community (EAC) member states through a directive of the Heads of States’ Summit.
The aim of the e-passport was to boost free movement of people across the EAC region and be in line with the implementation of the Common Market Protocol which guarantees free movement between EAC member states.
Article 9 of the protocol stipulates, “A citizen of a Partner State who wishes to travel to another Partner State shall use a valid common standard travel document.” Further, “the Partner States which have agreed to use machine-readable and electronic national identity cards as travel documents may do so.”
The e-Passports were to replace the Ordinary and Diplomatic passports and are embedded with tamper-proof chips which store the holder’s biodata that is; the name, photo, fingerprints, date of issue and expiry of the passport, national identity card information and information on the holder’s travel itinerary. An attempt to change the information on it will be automatically detected by the customs officers.
However, the rollout of the e-Passport has been met with a few challenges on the cost of installing the new technology to print the e-Passport.
The Cabinet Secretary for Interior and Cordination of National Government, Fred Matiang’i stated that by June 2019, about 1 million Kenyans had transitioned to the e-Passport but 1.5 million Kenyans were yet to transition and were still using the old passports. President Uhuru Kenyatta had earlier directed that Kenyans in diaspora will also be issued with the e-Passport in their countries of residence. He directed that a team should be formed which will be tasked with moving from country to country to register and issue the e-Passports to Kenyans in the diaspora.
The rollout of the e-Passports has been slow and adding to the confusion in foreign missions has seen several extensions of the deadline for transitioning from the old to the new passports. CS Matiang’i issued a press statement in the 4th of February,2021 extending the deadline by a further 10 months until 31st December,2021. Therefore, starting the 1st of January 2022 the old dark blue passport is rendered null and void and no Kenyan will be able to travel internationally without a valid EAC biometric e-Passport.
Applying for the new e-Passport
All passport applications will be done online through the e-Citizen platform.
The applicants are required to complete Form 19 online and pay the requisite passport fees for the type of passport they are applying. The fees are as below;
|Ordinary “A” Series||4,550|
|Ordinary “B” Series||6,050|
|Ordinary “C” Series||7,550|
After payment, the applicant should download and print the application form and three copies of the receipt. The applicant should then personally submit the application form to the Immigration offices in Nairobi, Mombasa or Kisumu.
Requirements during submission of the application
- Applicants MUST appear in person for Biometric Enrolment
- An eCitizen pre-filled passport application form and three invoices
- Original birth certificate and one photocopy
- Original National ID Card and one photocopy.
- Three current passport size photos
- One photocopy of recommender’s ID card
- Old passport for replacement plus photocopies of its last three pages
- Photocopies of parents’ National ID cards (if available) or Death Certificates (if deceased)
- For a lost Passport, a sworn affidavit, a police abstract and an explanation letter are required
- For a mutilated Passport, an explanation letter is required to explain the circumstances of the mutilation
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