Home > Editor's Pick > “Kenya to phase out old generation passports within three months” Dr. Matiang’i

“Kenya to phase out old generation passports within three months” Dr. Matiang’i

The  Kenya  immigration department  will phase out old generation passports in September this year.

The  Interior  and National Coordination Cabinet  Secretary (CS), 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  on  Wednesday when he launched the Central Rift e-passports registration Centre in Nakuru, the CS observed that 1 million Kenyans had transitioned from the  old document to the electronic one.

The  e-passport will have an electronic chip holding the same information as the old version, alongside a biometric identifier, digital photograph of the holder and security features to prevent unauthorised use and forgery. The  move  is  part  of  the government’s switching shift to e-services to improve efficiency and reduce security loopholes.

The  newly launched central rift registration centre is equipped with one machine with a capacity of processing 100 e-passports per day. Dr. Matiang’i announced that two more machines will be installed to increase the capacity to 300 documents per day.

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 centres 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 centre in Pretoria at the Kenya’s mission in South Africa.

Dr. Matiang’i who was accompanied by County governor, Lee  Kinyanjui, Nakuru Town West MP, 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  CS  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.

“We arrested scores of foreigners at Macalder mines in Migori. The government is aware that most of those foreigners engaging in petty jobs are in the country illegally. Some have been reported to be doing odd jobs in Meru and we are on their tracks,” assured the Minister.

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  CS 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 labourers who could do specialised 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 Sh.4,550, Sh.6,050, and Sh.7,550, respectively and  payments will be made via mobile phone or credit cards.

The  roll out is expected to cost the government Sh.500 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.

“Kenya  has fully complied with standards and guidelines set by International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and EAC Chief of immigration on travel document design, processing and issuance,” said Matiang’i.

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 minimising 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.

“The  deployment of the e-passport system will definitely strengthen the integrity and restore international confidence and  rating of Kenyan passports,” he said.

By  Anne  Mwale

Leave a Reply