Kenya: U.S. Embassy Suspends E-Passport Requirement for Visa Applicants

Kenyans queue to apply for passports at Department of Immigration at Nyayo House, Nairobi, on May 21, 2018.

The US Embassy in Kenya has put on hold a requirement that would have compelled all new visa applicants to acquire the new e-passport.

The US embassy made the announcement on their Twitter handle on Wednesday saying that Visa applicants may now apply for a US visa with a non-digital Kenyan passport and that they would place a US visa in a non-digital passport until further notice.

Holders of current US visas have been advised not to take any action.

UPDATE: Visa applicants may apply for a US visa with a non-digital Kenyan passport. We will place a US visa in a non-digital passport until further notice. Holders of current US visas do not need to take any action.

-- U.S. Embassy Nairobi (@USEmbassyKenya) May 1, 2019

The announcement comes barely 24 hours after the embassy issued a notice informing all new visa applicants that they would only be granted the travel permit on the new e-passport.

The US embassy had made the announcement on Twitter handle stating that travellers with a valid US visa may travel with their current visa in the old passport but must also have the new e-passport to be allowed entry.

VISA APPLICANTS

The embassy had further stated that new visa applicants must first possess the new passport before being issued with the visa.

"Travelers with a valid US visa may travel with their current visa in the old passport but must also have a new e-passport for entry. It is not necessary to apply for a new visa," the embassy had said.

Clarification: US visas & non-digital Kenyan passports: U.S. visa applicants may make an appointment using old Kenyan passport but must have new e-passport before the visa can be issued. Passports must be valid for 6 months upon entry & non-digital passports expire Aug 31, 2019.

-- U.S. Embassy Nairobi (@USEmbassyKenya) April 30, 2019

STRINGENT REQUIREMENT

"US visa applicants may make an appointment using old Kenyan passport but must have new e-passport before the visa can be issued. Passports must be valid for 6 months upon entry & non-digital passports expire Aug 31, 2019," the embassy had further said.

These developments have all come with the deadline for acquiring the new e-passport fast approaching.

The Immigration Department has however been under scrutiny from Kenyans over the perceived stringent requirements set out to applicants of the new e-passports.

PASSPORT APPLICATION

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

Holders of the old generation passports must acquire the e-passport before August 31, 2019. All the old generation passports will be deemed invalid thereafter.

Applicants are required to start the application process for their passport on the eCitizen platform.

Thereafter they will be required to visit an immigration office in Nairobi, Mombasa, and Kisumu for collection of fingerprints, digital photo and signature and also to drop required documents.

Additional reporting by Amina Wako

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