By Edna Mwende
Good progress is being made in the issuance of the e-passports ahead of the August 31st deadline according to the Immigration Principal Secretary (PS).
Speaking to the National Assembly Committee on Administration and National Security, the Immigration PS Gordon Kihalangwa said an estimated 800,000 electronic passports have been issued to date.
“So far we have issued almost 800,000 and we expect a very good number will have been done by 31st August,” the PS is quoted as having said in a news report by Business Daily.
He went on to tell parliamentary committee according to the Business Daily report that the department of immigration is serving an average of 4,000 passports on a daily basis. He explained that Nyayo House centre caters for 2,000 applicants per day while Kisumu and Mombasa both serve 1000 applicants daily.
Mr. Kihalangwa added that plans are in progress to open four more centres that will help reduce the congestion in the current centres.
Business Daily reported that the new-generation e-passports feature a microchip containing someone’s data which also matches the information in the passport booklet. They also allow data on the chip to be verified with the information visually displayed on the booklet. The new age passports are expected to deter fraudsters from crimes such as passport reproduction and tampering and allow for better detection of such irregularities.
Kenyans in the diaspora are also expected to register for the new e-passports with the government having launched e-passport centers in Pretoria, London, Paris, Dubai, Washington and Beijing two weeks ago. This means that Kenyans do not have to travel back to the country to apply for the new passports.
Applicants are required to appear in person at immigration offices to allow for their biometrics, fingerprints and photographs, to be taken with application submission expected to be made online on the e-citizen portal.
The Business Daily similarly reported that the Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma said more centres will be opened in other countries not forgetting the directive made by President Uhuru Kenyatta that Kenyans living in foreign countries be issued with the new generation passports in their countries of residence.