After all the running around trying to keep up with the deadline on 31st August, the Kenyan president has decided to extend the validity of the current navy blue analog Kenyan passport.
In a press release, titled “ePassport travel deadline extended”, signed by President Kenyatta and shared on Thursday, the president directed the extension of the deadline from 31st August to 1st March 2020.
The assumption is that the president was referring to extending travel on the analog passport, however, the document shared with the media mentions “extend the deadline for travel on the new ePassport”. Which does not make sense because use of the ePassport HAS NO DEADLINE.
A further statement in the release clarifies this matter – “Kenyans can therefore travel on their current (old blue) passports until 1st March 2020“.
Unfortunately, this continued miscommunication on this topic is what has caused many Kenyans sleepless nights and a lot of confusion.
The press release further directed the cabinet secretaries for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Amb. Monica Juma and the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government, Dr. Fred Matiang’i, to work with the foreign missions to continue issuing visas on the current navy blue Kenyan passport.
This is in response to announcements from foreign missions in Kenya, including the German Embassy, requiring Kenyan visa applicants to have an ePassport to get a Schengen visa. (READ: German Embassy: No Visa for Kenyans Without ePassport)
The phase out plan for the analog navy blue passport began with the launch of the ePassport on 1st September 2017. With the ePassport sited as a solution to the rampant forgery and impersonation of holders. (READ: The New Kenyan E-Passport and What it Means to Kenyans in Germany)
However, it is not until this month just a few weeks before the looming deadline, did the Kenyan Embassy in Berlin become the first embassy abroad issuing the ePassports. (READ: ePassport Issuance at the Kenyan Embassy in Berlin Begins)