Have you ever traveled to a country that had an express line for digital passport holders, while you stood on the other meandering queue where you had to produce your travel documents, look at the camera and ‘place your thumbs here’, ‘look at the camera’ and another long verification process before you were finally let in? Kenyans will now enjoy the privileges that come with the possession of an e-passport following the launch of the new generation passports in 2017. The digital passport which was launched in accordance with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) requirements contain a microchip with personal data and other security features that are aimed at making it hard for forge or duplicate or tamper with the passports.
Where to get the new Kenyan passport
The government launched the Kenyan passport replacement drive targeting over 1.5 million Kenyans who had the non-digital passports, as well as new applicants who are applying for their passports for the first time. Kenyans in the country have been able to replace their old passports at Nyayo House Headquarters. The government has also opened passport replacement centers in Nakuru, Kisumu, Mombasa, Kisii, and Embu. Kenyans in South Africa, North America, and Middle East are also able to get their new Kenyan passports without having to travel back to the country. If you are in China (Beijing), US (Washington), UK (London), Germany (Berlin), France (Paris), UAE (Dubai) or South Africa (Pretoria), you can get your e-passport from the respective embassy or consulate. By August 31st, over 800,000 new generation passports had been issued. It is expected that all passport holders in Kenya will be having the new e-passports by March 1st, 2020.
How the new Kenyan passport looks
There are a few differences between the old and the new Kenyan passport.
- Passport Colour. The new passport is sky-blue in colour instead of the former navy-blue.
- Passport cover. The new passport has the title ‘East African Community’ above the country ‘Republic of Kenya’ on the front cover, plus the e-passport sign at the bottom.
- Address. The new passport has the holder’s address
- It also contains the purpose of visit
- The new e-passport number has a different formal and does not start with ‘A’ like before.
- Finally, all your personal data is stored in a microchip, making it easier for Kenyans to use automated border clearances or e-gates, boarding pass and go through immigration checks.
New Kenyan passport requirements
In order to replace your old Kenyan passport, you need to arm yourself with the required documents scanned and ready for upload. This is because if you take longer to complete the application, your form will have errors such as missing or wrong e-passport logo.
In order to complete the application faster, you need the following :
- Access to the e-citizen portal
- Enough money in your M-Pesa account to pay for the passport fee
- National ID copy
- Recommender’s ID copy
- Old passport copy (last 4 pages)
- Birth certificate entry number
- Parents’ ID copies
- Marriage certificate copy
- KRA PIN number
- Details of 2 next of kins
New Kenyan passport application procedure
If you have the old passport, log onto your e-citizen account and select Department of Immigration services-e-passport. Fill in the application form as accurately and as fast as possible. Upload all the required documents and pay your passport application fee via M-Pesa. Download the already filled form, print and submit to the immigration offices alongside two copies of your payment receipt/invoice. Wait for an SMS from ecitizen to collect your passport. This may take a week to a month, but make sure you keep checking the ecitizen account for updates.
Read Also: How to be safe in Nairobi, Kenya
New Kenyan passport price
You will need to pay to replace your old Kenyan passport. The fee is dependent on the type of passport you are looking for. Here are the types of Kenyan passports and their respective fees:
- A series (32 pages) passport – 4550/=
- B series (50 pages) passport – 6050/=
- C Series (64 pages) passport – 7550/=
- Diplomatic passport – 7550/=
Errors you may find on your new passport replacement form
When replacing your old Kenyan passport, you need to be wary of the following errors:
- Missing e-passport logo. Your passport replacement form may have a question mark(?) or blue colour instead of the e-passport logo. This occurs if you take too long to fill the form.
- Wrong country. The name of country can be in full or appear as the first two letters of the country (KE). Ensure this is right
- Missing or wrong phone number. The phone number is in the form 254 xxx xxx xxx. This is where you will receive updates regarding your passport application, so make sure it is correct.
- Missing recommender’s signature. You will need to fill in the recommender’s details, take their ID copy and also get their signature in order to replace your passport. This does not have to be complicated; your recommender could be someone you met in the queue.
In addition, do not forget to sign on the day you physically submit your passport replacement form.
Tips to get the e-passport faster
1. Attach the required documents. These are; 2 or 3 copies of your payment receipt/invoice, original and copy of your ID, recommender’s ID copy, copies of the last 4 pages of your old passport, and a copy of your marriage certificate if you are taking up your husband’s name.
2. Carry the original and copy of your birth certificate if applying for the first time, and your parent’s ID copies.
3. Be at the issuing center early enough. If in Nairobi, be at Nyayo House by 4am. By 6.00am, the officers have admitted enough applicants for the day.
4. Track your application online to know when it is ready. Keep checking your e-citizen account for status updates. Your application will change from uploading to printing and finally Receiving.
5. Book an appointment to collect your passport online. Once the status of your passport application changes to ‘Receiving’, you can collect any day of your choice. Book an appointment so that you can find your passport ready.
6. Don’t forget to carry the necessary documents during collection. You need your ID card, old passport, payment receipt (the one issued after submitting your application form and contains your passport tracking number).
Countries you can travel to using the new generation Kenyan passport
A passport does not grant you any special privileges, but it can open up travel opportunities for you. If you are traveling within the country, you can use your ID card or birth certificate. However, you need a passport to go to other countries. Currently, the UAE passport is the world’s strongest passport as it can grant visa-free access to 116 countries. The Kenyan passport is not so far behind, as it can be used to travel to 36 countries without the need for a visa.
- Antigua and Barbuda
- Hong Kong
- Trinidad and Tobago
- Saint Kitts and Nevis
- Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Have you replaced your old Kenyan passport with an e-passport? How long did it take and how is the new passport working for you? Share your experience in the comments box below.