Kenyan immigration department will phase out old generation passports in September this year.
Interior and National Coordination Cabinet Secretary Dr Fred Matiang’i said though the state rolled out electronic passports two years ago 1.5 million Kenyans were still holding old generation passports.
Speaking when he launched the Central Rift e-passports registration Centre in Nakuru the Cabinet Secretary observed that 1 million Kenyans had transitioned from the old document to the electronic one.
The e-passport will have an electronic chip holdiNewng the same information as the old version, alongside a biometric identifier, digital photograph of the holder and security features to prevent unauthorized use and forgery.
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 e-visa system.
To facilitate uptake of e-passports by Kenyans the government has also set up new registration centers in Eldoret, Embu and Kisii to complement the already established units in Nairobi, Kisumu and Mombasa.
The event in Nakuru coincided with the launch of an e-passports registration center in Pretoria at the Kenya’s mission in South Africa.
Dr Matiang’i who was accompanied by County governor Lee Kinyanjui, Nakuru Town West MPs Samuel Arama and his Nakuru Town East counterpart David Gikaria announced that similar e- passport registration centres had been set up in Washington DC, Los Angeles, London, Paris and United Arab Emirates.
The Cabinet Secretary put on notice foreigners who were undertaking jobs in the country without work permits or engaging in menial jobs that can be done by locals.
He warned Kenyans against resorting to violence and lawlessness when dealing with foreigners engaging in jobs available for locals. Dr Matiang’i appealed to Kenyans to report such cases to law enforcement officers.
The cabinet secretary stressed that the government would adhere to strict guidelines while issuing work permits to foreigners adding that the country had a large pool of skilled laborers who could do specialized jobs.
The new document bears the words ‘East African Community’ as well as ‘Kenya’ in line with the drive for regional integration.
The A series, B series, C series and diplomatic passports will cost Sh4,550, Sh6,050, Sh7,550 and Sh7,550, respectively and payments will be made via mobile phone or credit cards.
The requirements include;
The roll out is expected to cost the government Sh500 million and is being facilitated by a technology installed by the Pakistani Government.
The new machines will now print 2,000 new passports daily up from the 800 and it will take new applicants eight days to get the documents and three days for those renewing.
The CS says Kenya has fully complied with standards and guidelines set by International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and EAC Chief of immigration on travel document design, processing and issuance.
He said the new document is highly secure and difficult to forge as it is enhanced with automated fingerprint verification system that guards against multiple passport issuances to the same person minimizing identity theft, data skimming and forgery.
Matiang’i said the e-passport will assist Kenyans in easing travel, especially through use of automated border clearances or e-gates, automated issuance of the boarding passes and faster travel arrangements with airlines and immigration checks worldwide.
He notes that the deployment of the e-passport system will definitely strengthen the integrity and restore international confidence and rating of Kenyan passports.