Kenyans with old passports allowed entry after deadline


Kenyans with old passports allowed entry after deadline. PHOTO | POOL

Kenyans abroad travelling back using the old generation passports will be allowed entry after the deadline for phasing out the outdated document expires on December 31, 2022.

Immigration director-general Alexander Muteshi said those travelling into the country past the deadline will gain access to Kenya, ending confusion among travellers and airlines.

Travellers who have come into the country with the old generation passports will, however, be denied exit if they do not have the new generation passport.

“Coming, one can come with the old passport to Kenya but leaving you can’t travel out of the country with the old passport. We are facilitating replacement,” Mr Muteshi told the Business Daily on Thursday.

Kenya has been phasing out the old-generation passports as part of a binding commitment to migrate to the new East African e-passport.

As of December 15, about 1.6 million Kenyans had acquired the new East African Community (EAC) biometric e-passport.

Airlines were required to bar Kenyans who fail to get new passports from travelling as the old ones will become invalid in the next nine days.

The directive also ends confusion in the aviation space as airlines can now book travellers coming into the country with old passports.

Plans to phase out the old-generation passport by end of the year had created uncertainty among Kenyans who are currently travelling back home but were not sure their passports will be accepted at the points of entry.

“It was wrong for the government to lock out Kenyans staying abroad from coming back home if they don’t have the new generation passport more so during the festive season. The new directive offers us a major relief,” said Henry Wasike, a Kenyan based in Berlin, Germany.

Kenya rolled out new chip-embedded passports for its citizens to tame rampant forgery and impersonation of holders.

The new features are meant to make it impossible for anyone to forge or duplicate a Kenyan passport.

Roll-out of the e-passports with a 10-year validity period marked the beginning of the end of the ‘analogue’ passports that have been in use since Independence and have joined 60 other countries that use new passports.

The decision to phase out the old-generation passport was first made public in April 2015 and the electronic passport was to be launched in December 2016 but has been extended several times over the years.

The shifting deadlines have caused confusion with some foreign consulates announcing they would cease to accept the analogue Kenyan passport, only for the government to give an extension.

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