On September 1, the Immigration Department rolled out the new ePassport for Kenya. After the next 2 years Kenyans will no longer walk around with the normal booklet-like passport but instead everybody should be carrying an ePassport.
The implementation of the ePassport was an initiative by the East African Community. The initiative was meant to synchronize passports across the region to ease movement of people, to have better records of people and to cut down on people moving to other countries illegally. The initiative was set to be rolled out simultaneously across member states. Kenya has become the second country to roll out the ePassport program after Burundi.
The Immigration Department, however, has not done a lot in enlightening Kenyans about the ePassport and the advantages that come with it. In fact, some Kenyans think it is one way of the government to get money and revenue from Kenyans. This is not the case. Here are some of the things you should know about the ePassport:
According to the Immigration Department, applicants for the ePassport must present themselves physically to the immigration offices. This is necessary for the taking of the biometrics such as passport photos, fingerprints and the signature. The Immigration Department has also laid out procedures on how to replace it with current passports. For instance, those with current passports will be required to replace them within two years. All new passport applications from the day of ePassport rollout are ePassports.
How much does it cost?
Is the new ePassport more expensive to acquire as compared to the current one? No. The fees for the ePassport has been maintained at Ksh. 4,550 for a 32-page passport, and Ksh. 6,050 shillings for the 48 page one.
How long does it take?
The processing period for the new ePassport takes 10 working days.
What are some of the distinct features of ePassport?
The ePassport is an initiative of the East African Community. It has three distinct features:
New logo at the bottom
New blue color schemeThe ‘East African Community’ label
The ‘East African Community’ label
The blue color represents Lake Victoria, a symbol of unity of the East African Community member states.
What are some of the advantages of the ePassport?
The following are some of the advantages that come with the adoption of the new ePassport according to the Immigration Department:
- It will enhance faster clearance at the points of entry and exit.
- It is secure with no chances of passport reproduction and tampering.
- Provides travelers with automated border clearance
The new ePassport will have a new number and will not the same number as the current passport.
Valid Visa and living abroad
Those with valid visa on their current passport will still have a valid one on the ePassport and those living abroad can renew their passport at any Kenyan Embassy.
The logo that appears on the cover of the ePassport is an international symbol for an electronic passport. This means that the Kenyan ePassport has an integrated chip on which data about the passport is stored.
To apply for the ePassport head over to the eCitizen portal.