State pushes deadline for acquiring e-passports to 2020

The Government has pushed back plans to phase out old passports in favour of new travel documents.

Deputy President William Ruto announced that the new deadline for acquiring new electronic passports had been pushed to 2020.

He said the initial deadline of August 31, 2019, was not feasible since only 400,000 passport holders out of over 2.5 million Kenyans had managed to replace their travel documents.

“The deadline is soon approaching and only a small fraction has managed to upgrade their passports to the new e-passport. The backlog at the immigration will not allow us to achieve this,” said Mr Ruto.

The deputy president was speaking when he hosted Kenyans living in Italy on Sunday. They had complained about the difficulties in seeking to replace their travel documents.

Kenyans in the diaspora can apply for new passport in London in UK, Paris in France, Washington DC in USA, Pretoria in South Africa, Dubai in UAE and Berlin in Germany.

A letter from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs dated November, 20, 2018, asked Kenyan missions and consulates abroad to prepare ahead of commencement of applications for new passports on January 14 next year.

This means Kenyans living outside the said countries have to travel to acquire the documents, an issue that drew heated debate in the meeting.

Kenyans in the diaspora argued that it would be impractical to leave their current engagements to travel to renew their passports.

The shift to e-passport was announced in August last year.

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