Kenyans applying for national passports beginning next year may not be issued with the old version, but a different one as the country commences a project to adopt the just introduced East Africa travel permit.
Holders of the old passport will also be required to get the digitized passports as the phase out period commences in January 2017.
The new EAC e-passport, is expected to ease movement across the five-nation bloc, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi that have already come into a deal to enhance commerce across the region.
The digitized East Africa passport unveiled on Wednesday, will be different from the current East African passports that are only acceptable in the region as it will also be recognised internationally.
“The EAC Heads of State launched the new international East African e-passport and directed that commencement of issuance of the EA e-passport takes effect from January 1, 2017; and implement the phase out programme for the current East African and national passports from January 1, 2017 to December 31, 2018,” read the statement issued during the launch of the EAC e-passport.
Regional heads have been directed to communicate with the international community on the new passport and also create awareness in their own countries.
The e-passports are foresighted to have additional security features to protect holders against identity theft and data skimming.
“The e-passsport will be embedded with a contact-less electronic chip which will secure identification of the holder, provide protection against theft, eliminate data skimming and provide regional identity of EAC member state citizens.” the immigration department stated.
The newly unveiled travel document still holds the same bio data as the old generation passport.
Speaking to Kenyans.co.ke, the immigration department confirmed that the full infrastructure for the new document was still in progress, adding that the old generation passports will still be in use before the two-year phase out period drew to an end.
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