Kenya is set to replace the current ‘analogue’ travel documents with the new electronic passport come September 1 in a move aimed at curbing forgery and easing clearance at international airports.
This means that holders of old generation passports will be locked out of the new system soon as they will only remain active for two years after which holders will be required to apply for the e-passports at a fee.
Immigrations Services Director, Dr Gordon Kihalangwa, said visas for other countries currently held by Kenyans remain active until expiry but that they will have to acquire digital ones at Sh4,550 for the ordinary 34-page passport, Sh6,050 for the 48-page passport while the 64page ordinary passport and diplomatic e-passports will each cost Sh7,550.
“The current passport does not have a chip that stores the passport holder’s information while the e-passport has one. The chip will hold the same information that is printed on the passport's data page,” he said.
He noted that the new e-passports conform to international passport security standards that require all of them to contain a tamper-proof electronic chip that holds a holder’s information and travel history.
The new smart passport will also phase out the East African passport as well as individual passports issued to EAC bloc member states of Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda to their citizens.
Dr Kihalangwa reckons the new document will eliminate incidents of forgery that had become rampant in the region.
“The processing duration remains the same, 10 working days and the requirements as well remain the same,” he said, adding that smart gates will be installed at Kenyan airports to facilitate faster clearance of travellers.
However, Kenyans who recently applied for new travel documents will get the ordinary passports they applied for.