The Immigration Department on Thursday put the deadline for the phasing out of the old generation passports to November this year.

The Interior Ministry in a statement dated September 22 said the deadline the date had been reached after following a council meeting of the East African Community (EAC) member states.

“Pursuant to the decision by EAC Council of Minister’s held in Arusha from November 22 to 29, 2021, the deadline for phasing out of the old generation passport for EAC Member States is November 2022,” said Immigrations Director General Alexander Muteshi.

The government had previously set a deadline of December 31, 2021, for the phasing out of the old generation passport, according to the Directorate of Immigration Services.

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In January, the government extended the deadline to the end of November 2022, which allowed Kenyans to continue travelling on the dark blue documents.

This was the fourth time that the deadline for the new passports had been extended after retired President Uhuru Kenyatta ordered the extension to March 2020.

The issuance of the e-passport was to start by January 1, 2017, to phase out the current machine-readable East African and national passports from January 1, 2017, to December 31, 2018.

The 35th EAC Council of Ministers directed member states to start issuance of the e-passport by January 31, 2018.

Kenya commenced issuing the new East African format e-Passport in September 2017 in line with the digitization of services.

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Last year, outgoing Interior CS Fred Matiang’i said that the December 31, 2021 deadline will be the last such extension barring any unforeseen circumstances urging Kenyans to take advantage and acquire biometric passports at the earliest possible opportunity.

“For the avoidance of doubt, starting January 1, 2022, the old dark blue passport will be null and void. No Kenyan will be able to travel abroad without a valid East Africa Community biometric e-passport,” he said then.

In a bid to ensure swift service delivery, the State set up more control centres to facilitate faster issuance of the travel document within a day of application ahead of the deadline.

Locally, the new centres were set up in Nakuru, Kisii, Eldoret and Embu while in Europe, the centres were established in Berlin, Paris and London.

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Others abroad are in Washington DC, Dubai and Johannesburg.

The new-generation e-passports feature a microchip containing data about the holder, which also matches the information in the passport booklet.

The e-passport allows information stored on the chip to be verified with the information visually displayed on the booklet.

Due to its secure nature, the e-passport curbs reproduction and tampering. It also enhances imposter detection.

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