No civil servant will be able to travel abroad unless they acquire digital passport, the government has said.
Announcing the development, the head of public service Joseph Kinyua said that a passport should be valid for at least six months at the time of travel. This is unlike the current machine-readable passports, which expire in four months time.
“Considering that the machine-readable passport will cease to be a valid travel document with effect from September 1, 2019, any machine readable passports is already outside the six months validity period,” read a circular by Kinyua in part.
In October last year, the government directed that all Public servants would be required to have an E-passport by February 28 of 2019.
“To avoid inconveniences that may be occasioned on account of the limited validity period of the machine-readable passports and in observance of the above-mentioned circular, travel clearance should not be issued to officers who do not hold the e-passport,” added the circular dated April 15.
The move may see cabinet secretaries, governors, principal secretaries, accountants and all members of independent commissions reschedule their planned travel.
In December last year, the government postponed the deadline date of out facing the old passports and bringing in the e-passport to 2020.
This decision was a result of the low number of citizens who had changed their passports to the new passports with electronic features.
Deputy President William Ruto announced the new date while speaking to Kenyans in diaspora in Italy.
DP Ruto said that only 400,000 out of the 2.5 million passport holders in Kenya had changed their passports to the new one.
In the initial plan by the immigration, only London, Paris, Dubai, Pretoria, Berlin and Washington DC would offer facilities to change the passports to the newer version.
This means that Kenyans living in other regions and countries would have to travel to one of these cities or come back to Kenya to acquire the new passports.
This decision drew a hot debate with citizens sharing with the DP that the decision would not be feasible for all.
They argued that some of them are students who are on a tight budget. They also mentioned accommodation, Visa and transport as some of the challenges they would face.