Kenyans will continue using their old passports after the government extended the deadline for migrating to the new e-passport to March next year.
While making the announcement, Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i (pictured) said the extension was to enable about 1.8 million Kenyans, mostly those in the diaspora, to acquire the new passports.
This is the second time the deadline for new passports is being extended. President Uhuru Kenyatta had last year extended the deadline to March this year.
“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,” said Dr Matiang'i.
The CS said the government was progressively phasing out the old generation passports as part of Kenya’s commitment to migrate to the e-passport in accordance with the International Civil Aviation Organisation 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,” he said.
To rationalise issuance of the new travel document, the government has set up and operationalised 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 US (Washington DC), another in Johannesburg, South Africa, and one more in Dubai.
Plans are also underway to achieve same-day issuance of passports by July 1, 2020.
The government had previously announced that the old passports would become invalid in September 2019, causing a last-minute rush for the new ones. The process to acquire new passports had turned into a nightmare for many Kenyans who were forced to spend long hours on endless queues at Nyayo House in Nairobi.
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