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Kenya to adopt E-Passports in September— Gordon Kihalangwa

Thursday August 17 2017

A Kenyan passport. PHOTO | EMMA NZIOKA | NATION

A Kenyan passport. PHOTO | EMMA NZIOKA | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

FRED MUKINDA
By FRED MUKINDA
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Kenyan passport holders will from September be required to replace them as the government begins rolling out electronic ones.

The current passports will however remain in use for two years, after which they will be rendered obsolete.

SECURITY

Those applying for passports from next month will be issued with the new-generation e-passports, which feature a microchip containing data about the holder that also matches the information in the booklet.

“The e-passport allows information stored on the chip to be verified with the information visually displayed on the passport,” the Department of Immigration said Thursday.

“The e-passport is highly secure; hence avoids reproduction and tampering. The e-passport enhances imposter detection.”

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COST
Director of Immigration Gordon Kihalangwa took curious Kenyans through the process of acquiring the new passport.

Using his interactive Twitter account, he said the passports would be issued at the same cost as the old ones.

“Applicants will be required to appear in person at our offices for photograph capture and finger prints,” Maj-Gen (Rtd) Kihalangwa said.

“There will be no more printing of application forms or invoices.”

VISAS
He added that the A Series, B series, C series and diplomatic passports will cost Sh4,550, Sh6,050, Sh7,550 and Sh7,550, respectively.

Payment can be made via mobile phone or credit cards, he added.

“It facilitates faster clearance of travellers at immigration checks. It will allow the government to offer world-class consular services to Kenyans,” the department said, adding that the current ordinary East African passport will also be phased out.

After replacement, passports with visas will remain valid.

TECHNOLOGY
The government has been gradually switching to e-systems to improve efficiency and reduce security loopholes.

Since 2015, foreigners visiting Kenya have been required to apply for visas online — unlike in the past, when only manual applications were applicable.

The online system, known as e-visa, is expected to significantly streamline the processing and issuing of visas to foreigners visiting the country.

E-CITIZEN
Earlier, the government rolled out e-citizen, a one-stop portal for information and services to help Kenyans complete transactions conveniently.

The government has also introduced a new computer system — Integrated Population Registration System — to link government agencies that hold personal information of individuals, in a bid to enhance efficiency and security.