DP Pushes Deadline For Acquiring e-passports To 2020
The Government has pushed back plans to phase out old passports in favor of new travel documents.
Speaking in an event when he hosted Kenyans living in Italy, the Deputy President William Ruto said that the deadline which was set at August 31, 2019, had been pushed to 2020.
The DP said that the deadline was not achievable since, from the over 2.5 million Kenyans, only 400,000 passport holders had made it in replacing their travel documents.
“The deadline is soon approaching, and only a small fraction has managed to upgrade their passports to the new e-passport. The backlog at the immigration will not allow us to achieve this,” said Mr. Ruto.
Kenyans living in the diaspora expressed their grievances on the same as they faced challenges in changing the critical travel document.
Only a few countries in diaspora are set to receive the new passports application. They are Dubai in UAE, Pretoria in South Africa, Washington DC in the USA, London in the UK, Paris is France, and Berlin Germany.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs on November 20, 2018, send a letter asking for the Kenyan consulates and missions living abroad to be ready for the new passport applications kickoff on January 14 this year.
A heated debate arose since it meant that they were required to travel to acquire the documents hence postponing the plan.They argued that most of them are there for studies thus tight budgets and programmes, others had tight job schedules whereas others said they had cross-border travel documents problems. They termed it impractical to leave their current engagements to travel to renew their passports.
The Immigration Department asked Kenyans to apply for the e-passport in August last year. The passport is also set to operate as East African Community passport, from September 1, 2017.
New passport and renewals process will be fostered as the new document will have the owner’s details in an electronic chip.
The Director of Immigration, Gordon Kihalangwa during the launch assured Kenyans that they had done an upgrade of their equipment’s to process at least 2000 passports a day from the previous 800. The department, however, has a massive backlog of 18, 000 both recent and old applications.
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