Kenya has once again extended the deadline for using the old passport to March 1, 2021, which is exactly one year one week from yesterday. The main reason given for the extension is that some 1.8 million old passport holders are yet to apply for the e-passports that are meant to replace the old ones. ” Due to this, the government extends the deadline for voiding the current dark blue machine-readable passport by 12 months,” Matiangi said in a statement. “We note with concern that 1.8 million Kenyans, mostly in the diaspora are yet to replace their old passports with the East African community biometric e-passport,” he said.
Initially, the old passports were to be phased out by August 2019, but an extension to March 2020 was issued by President Uhuru in July 2019. This extension seems not to have inspired Kenyans to rush for the new passports, so a further 12 months extension has been found necessary.
Given that most of those affected are Kenyans in Europe, a reminder has been sent to them to get their e-passports from Berlin, Paris and London. The few who haven’t gotten their e-passports but are living in the US can get them from Washington DC, while those in South Africa can apply for theirs in Johannesburg.
“Considering this is the second extension, the 1.8 million Kenyans still holding the dark blue passport are urged to take full advantage of this period to acquire the EAC-format electronic passports at the earliest opportunity possible,” the statement read.
The question in many people’s minds right now is whether the government has communicated with all Embassies to accept the old passports for visa applications. Typically, Embassies require passports that are valid for at least six months before they can issue a visa. Given that the old passports were to expire on March 1, 2020, it is expected that most of the Embassies were already not issuing visas with the old passports.