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Kenya to roll out e-Passports in September

Kenya to roll out ePassports in September

The immigration department in Kenya has announced plans to roll out East African e-Passports from 1 September.

Kenya joins over 50 nations worldwide in issuing a new generation travel document with security features such as biometric details, machine readable through an electronic chip.

A message from the Immigration department said: "This is to notify the General Public that the Department of Immigration will start issuing the e-Passport with effect from 1st September 2017. Holders of valid current passports will be allowed to use them for the next 2 years i.e to 31st August 2019 after which they will be rendered invalid. Please note that the department will no longer be issuing the current Ordinary, Diplomatic and East African passports."

The move is compliant with a regional agreement to harmonise passports across Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.

In April this year the East African Community agreed to have e-Passports in the three countries operational by January 2018.

"(The) EA e-Passport is expected to boost free movement of people across the region and it will be in line with implementation of the Common Market protocol which guaranteed the right to move between countries in East Africa," the EAC Secretariat said.

"The EAC e–Passport will have Diplomatic, Service and Ordinary categories and is different from the current machine readable passport being issued by the Partner States. It will be valid for up to 10 years while the Diplomatic passport and service passport will be valid according to specific term of the service of the holder," it added.

According to the Immigration department, new passport applicants can register on the eCitizen portal but will need to visit the department in order to have their biometric details recorded.

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