Government extends deadline for migration to e-Passport
By Sarah Okuoro

The Government has extended the deadline for migration to the second-generation e-passport by 12 months.

Holders of old passports have been given until March 1, 2021 to make the switch.

 “1.8 million Kenyans, mostly in the diaspora, are yet to replace their old passports with the East African Community biometric e-passport,” said Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i.

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.

“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 travelling,” said CS Fred Matiang’i.

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.

Matiang’i says plans are underway to achieve same-day issuance of passports by July 1, 2020.

“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,” said CS Matiang’i.

The government had previously announced that the old passports would be invalid beginning last September causing a scramble and last-minute rush for the new e-passports ahead of the deadline.

The process to acquire the new passports had turned into a nightmare for many Kenyans who were forced to spend long hours on the endless queues at Nyayo House in Nairobi.