NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 1 – The Immigrations Department will start issuing the new Kenyan East African electronic passports from Friday even as applications for the document hit 1,800, at the time of its launch.
The directive to rollout the issuance of the EAC e-passport was launched during the 17th EAC Ordinary Summit of the EAC Heads of State held in Arusha Tanzania on March 2 last year.
Kenya becomes the second EAC State to launch the e-passport after Burundi with all member states are required to do so by December 31 next year.
Immigrations Director General Godon Kihalangwa had stated that the rollout of the passports was to commence by midnight, with those who will have acquired the new travel documents expected to start using them from Friday.
The electronic passport will guard against impersonation with the introduction of a unique chip through which the holders will be identified.
The digital passports are expected to provide travellers with benefits such as use of 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.