Kenyans have been told to start swapping their old passports for an electronic one beginning Friday after the government launched the printing of e-passport on Thursday, ending the 17-year wait.
The Immigration Department said the new e-passport will have a micro-chip that will contain the bio-data of the holders as well as enhanced security features that will allow faster clearances at the border points.
“We want to be more serious in how we handle our identification process. Those who cannot maintain integrity in our Immigration Department will have to go,” warned acting Interior Cabinet Secretary (CS) Fred Matiangi during the e-passport launch.
East African Community Cabinet Secretary Phyllis Kandie commended the new move by the Immigration Department, saying that e-passports will help transform and improve the ease of doing business in the East Africa region.
Holders of current 'analogue' passports will be given a two years grace period up to the August 31st, 2019 after which they will become invalid.
Applicants are required to apply for a replacement and submit the old ones to Huduma Centres countrywide in order to get the new travel documents.
Also attending the launch were Information and Communications Technology and Energy CSs Joe Mucheru and Charles Keter.