The Kenyan government has extended the deadline for the migration to the new blue ePassports again due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Interior CS, Fred Matiangi has extended the deadline by a further 10 months until December 31st 2021. The old deadline was March 1st 2021 and it was announced a year ago by the ministry.
“The government has been in the process of phasing out the old-generation passports as part of the binding commitment made to migrate to the new East African Community biometric e-passport,” he said. “”For the avoidance of doubt, starting 1st January 2022, the old dark blue passport will be null and void and no Kenyan will be able to travel internationally without a valid East African Community biometric e-passport,” they added.
The CS added that this was the final extension which gives Kenyans plenty of time to replace their old passports or get the new passports.
The rollout of the new ePassports in Kenya has been met with challenges. The new e-Passport was revealed in 2017 and it was scheduled to start rolling out on 1st September 2017. In 2019, they opened 10 new immigration centers in a bid to ease congestion on the issuance of the new passports. They also added six other centers in the diaspora which are Washington DC, Berlin, Paris, London, Dubai and Johannesburg.
However, two months later in July 2019, they extended the deadline of getting the new passports to March 2020. In 2020, the Ministry said that the issuance of passports and other identification documents will be done within a day starting July 1st 2020.