Kenya to start issuing electronic passports from September
Kenya plans to roll out e-passports to Kenyans from September 1, 2017. The Immigration department announced the postponement of the exercise from April to September. Immigration Services Director Maj Gen (rtd) Gordon Kihalangwa said the postponement was due to unforeseen circumstances. "Due to circumstances beyond our control, the launch will now happen as stated," said Mr Kihalangwa in a statement.
To get the e-passport, applicants will be required to apply for a replacement passport and return their current passports. Information from the department says the e-passport will have an electronic chip holding the same information as the old model passport, alongside a biometric identifier, digital photograph of the holder and security features to prevent unauthorised use and forgery. Details of the passport will be registered with the International Civil Aviation Organisation. The e-passport will cost the same as the current passport, according to the Immigration department. The document was initially set to be launched in December 2016 before it was pushed to April and then to September. "This is an East African initiative; the e-passports will be also launched in other East African countries simultaneously," said Kihalangwa. He said the department was confident that the September target would be met.
By Cyrus Ombati