NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 31 – The government on Thursday began issuing electronic passports from, almost two years after the plan was mooted.
Acting Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi presided over the launch of the exercise, which will see those applying for the new documents issued with the new generation e-passports that feature a microchip with the holder’s data.
The current passports will however, remain in use for two years as the roll-out continues after which they will be rendered obsolete.
To get the e-passport, applicants will be required to apply for a replacement passport and return their current ones.
The digital passports are expected to provide travelers with benefits such as use automated border clearance, automated issuance of boarding passes, and faster travel arrangements with all airports across the world where e-passport reader equipment is in use.
The e-passports conform to international security standards that require all of them to contain a tamper-proof electronic chip that carries a holder’s information and travel history.
The smart passport will phase out the East African passport as well as individual passports issued to EAC bloc member states of Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda to their citizens.
The Immigration department will also install smart gates at Kenyan airports to facilitate faster clearance of travellers.