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Outrage, confusion over tough e-passport renewal rules

The Immigration Department has come under fire online after Kenyans protested the stringent  requirements set out to applicant of the new e-passport.

In its latest #AskImmigration Twitter session, the department sought to create awareness on the e-passport whose August 31, 2019 acquisition deadline is fast approaching.

Holders of the old generation passports must acquire the e-passport before the deadline. All the old generation passports will be deemed invalid thereafter.

The requirements for applying for the e-passport include a birth certificate and copies of parents’ Identification Cards.


The department, in its Twitter session, was however unable to respond to Kenyans on Twitter (KOT) inquiries on what would be required from holders of old passport who will be seeking to upgrade to the e-passport.

A user Moreen Okuta wrote; “If I have the old generation passport why go through the hussle to get an e passport like I am getting one for the first time? You need to make people’s lives easier!”

And in an interview with Nairobi News, Immigration Director General Alexander Muteshi clarified that holders of the old generation passports will be required to follow the passport renewal process which is different from the one for new applicants.

“For those who already have the old passport, their application will be a renewal and not a new application and so they will be required to fill out the form online, make payments then bring the form, receipt or invoice copies, a copy of the recommender’s ID and the old passport,” he explained.

Denis Waswa had protested online; “The Immigration Department has a lot of redundancy to say the least! Surely, why would you need a recommender when you are a citizen of sound mind and in possession of legit ID card and an old passport? Come on!”


On the need for a recommender who must be either a lawyer, doctor, banker, religious leader or civil servant, Mr Muteshi said this is a necessary requirement for every renewal.

“The e-passport will be valid for 10 years and a lot can change in ten years and so the recommender update is necessary for every renewal. As for why those recommenders, we cannot ask you to go a person whose credibility is not known,” he said.

The Immigration Director General said the deadline for acquiring e-passports remains August 31, 2019, but a possible extension is being considered due to an expected last minute rush.

“The long queues at Nyayo House are because the deadline is fast approaching and so to hasten the process we have deployed officers to man the queues and ensure they move fast. In two months we will have an online portal where applicants can track their passport application and get to know when its ready for collection as opposed to coming to queue to find out the status of their application,” he said.