The Department of Immigration has begun the phasing out of old passports due to the introduction of the new East African e-passport.
This is a joint initiative by the East African Community to synchronize passports across the region that will be more secure and would capture the passport holder’s bio data.
Immigration Department Director Gordon Kihalangwa said on Thursday that the department would start issuing the new East African e-passport on September 1.
In his statement, he said holders of the current passports will be allowed to use it until 31st August 2019, in exactly two years time when they will thereby be rendered invalid.
He added that the change applies to holders of Kenyan, east African and diplomatic passports. Such passport holders will be required to swap their passports.
How To Get The New East African E-Passport
Applicants are expected to personally present themselves to immigration offices for the taking of biometrics; photo, fingerprints, signature, etc.
A 32-page e-passport booklet will cost KSh 4,550 with the 64-page booklet costing KSh 6,050. The processing period for an e-passport will be 10 working days.
Kenyans abroad can get the e-passport through any Kenyan Embassy.
Features Of The New East African E-Passport
The e-passport has three distinct features: A new logo at the bottom, a new blue color scheme and its “East African Community” label.
The blue color was an agreement by EAC member states representing Lake Victoria and symbolizing the unity of the EAC member states.
The new e-passport is embedded with a computer chip that holds a holder’s biometric information, making the passport tamper-proof while enhancing faster clearance at points of entry and exits. It could also provide some travelers benefits such as the use of automated border clearance.
The embedded computer chip on the passports also contains a traveler’s itinerary that will be updated at every border point they pass, through the International Civil Aviation Organisation online portal.
Note that the e-passport will not have the same number as your current passport. Valid visa’s will, however, still be valid after you acquire the new e-passport.