Approximately 1.6 Kenyans have acquired the new East African Community (EAC) biometric e-passport two weeks before the deadline for phasing out the old generation documents.
Immigration Director General Alexander Muteshi said airlines will from November bar Kenyans who fail to get new passports from travelling as the old ones will become invalid.
“1.6 million Kenyans have acquired the new generation e-passport to date and the deadline for phasing out the old-generation passport is 30th November 2022,” said Mr Muteshi adding that there are now fewer number of Kenyans who are yet to comply, without giving exact figures.
“However, renewal/replacement of the old generation Kenyan passport will continue normally in all our passport applications centres locally and in our missions abroad after the deadline.”
The Kenyan Government has shifted the deadline for the migration to the new travel document several times, causing confusion.
Some countries such as Spain and others in the European Union (EU) went ahead of the Kenyan deadline and stopped accepting the old passports from Kenyan travellers months ago, adding to the confusion that has been occasioned by several postponements. Kenyans frequently travel abroad to countries such as India, China, US and United Arab Emirates to seek medical treatment and business opportunities. There are also hundreds of thousands of Kenyans in Europe who are studying.
Kenyan traders spent a record Sh177.88 billion to buy goods from the UAE in the first six months of the year, more than double, or 131.90 percent jump over Sh77.39 billion in a similar period last year, according to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics.
Non-travel for Kenyan abroad due to the fact that they still have the old passport will, therefore, deny them business opportunities abroad.
The decision to adapt a new generation of passports and phase out the old ones was reached by the EAC Head of States in March 2016 in Arusha, Tanzania.