The Directorate of Immigration Services is a Directorate under the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government. It is charged with the responsibility of issuance of Passports and other Travel Documents, Regulation of Entry and Exit from the country, Foreign Nationals Management and Registration of Kenyan Citizenship. Let us explore the Three Types of Passports in Kenya
The Kenyan passport is issued to Kenyan citizens in accordance with the Constitution of Kenya, 2010 and as provided for in the Kenya Citizens and Immigration Act that commenced on 30 August 2011. In addition issuance process is regulated by Legal Notice No. 64 (the Kenya Citizenship and Immigration Regulations, 2012). If eligible, an individual can apply for a New Passport, Renewal Passport and Replacement Passport. Passports are issued by the Department of Immigration. The department is under the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government. Kenyan passports are usually used as a form of ID as well and would be rated as second to the Kenyan national ID card. Before Kenya got independence from Britain, British passports were used.
East African Community Passports are issued and replaced by the competent authorities in East African partner States or the Diplomatic Mission abroad.
This passport is valid for 10 years from the date of issue unless otherwise stated. If at any time a passport contains no further space for visas or in the case of significant changes in the facial appearance owing to age, medical condition, or any other reason a new passport must e obtained.
The possession of a passport does not exempt the holder from compliance with any immigration regulations or formalities in force in the foreign countries or from the necessity of obtaining a visa or permit where required(noted on page 32, 33,34 in English, Swahili and French respectively).
Here are the Types of Passports in Kenya
There are three types of passports issued in Kenya:
Kenyan Diplomatic Passport (maroon cover)
Issuable to Kenyan diplomats accredited overseas and their eligible dependents and to citizens who reside in the foreign country.
Kenyan Ordinary Passport (light blue cover)
Issuable to Kenyan citizens while traveling abroad, valid for 10 years
East African passport (light blue cover)
Issuable to Kenyans for travel within the East African Community, valid for six months and usable for multiple entry into: Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi
General Details about The Kenyan passport in you Must Know
Kenyan Bio-metric passport
As of September 2017, Kenya commenced issuing the new East African format ePassport. Directorate of Immigration and Registration of Persons, Gordon Kihalangwa, said on a live Twitter chat that tracking individuals’ movements will become easier with the ePassport. This is inline with digitization of Kenya. The new e-systems will improve efficiency and rid out loop holes and enhance security this one of Kenya’s goal in vision 2030. The new bio-metric passport contains the holders bio-data such as finger prints, digitally stored photo and signature among others.
Features of the Kenyan Bio-metric passport
Electronic chip holding the same information as the old model passport
Digital photograph of the passport holder
Security features to prevent unauthorized use and forgery
Details of the ePassport will be registered with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
The new color adopted on the Kenyan ordinary passport, light blue, are the official colors of the East African community. The new ePassport is available as of 1 September 2017. The old ordinary passport was phased out by 31 August 2019 (extended to 1 March 2021) and rendered unusable and cease to being recognized as travel documents. Holders of existing old format passports were strongly advised to apply for the new ePassport before this date. All new passport applications are processed via the Kenya Government E-citizen portal https://immigration.ecitizen.go.ke/index.php?id=4.
Kenyan Passport Validity
According to the department of immigration under ministry of interior and National coordination, and read together with the Kenyan constitution, Kenyan passports are valid for ten years after date of issuance. Children and persons under eighteen years are required to have their own government issued passport separate from the parent. Minors application is done on the parents e-citizen account and clearly one selects “minor application”. Fees are the same as for adults and validity is also ten years.
Citizens of the East African Community Partner states who are abroad should at the earliest opportunity register their names and addresses to the nearest Republic of Kenya Mission abroad or where there is no Republic of Kenya Mission, with the nearest East African Community Partner State Mission or where there is no such Mission, with representative of a friendly country. Changes of address or departure from country should be notified. Failure to do so may in a period of emergency result in difficulty or delay in according them assistance or protection (written on pages: 32 in English, 33 in Swahili, 34 in French).
The passport remains the property of the government of Kenya and maybe withdrawn at any time. It is a valuable document and should not be altered in any way or allowed to pass in to possession of unauthorized persons. If lost or destroyed, the facts and circumstances should be reported immediately to Passport office, or the nearest East African Community Partner state Mission abroad or other representatives and to the local police (noted in page 31 in English, Swahili and French).
Kenyan Passport Languages
Kenya has two official languages, English and Swahili, and in all government and legal documents both languages are used. In the Kenyan passport, French is also used.
Kenyan Passport Appearance
Kenyan passports have the Kenyan coat of arms emblazoned in gold in the center of the front cover. The words “EAST AFRICAN COMMUNITY” are inscribed at the top followed by “REPUBLIC OF KENYA” is inscribed in gold text above the coat of arms, while “PASSPORT” is inscribed in gold text below it. The back cover is left blank.
The passport note occupies the second page of the passport, and the emergency contact information is on the last page. The identity information page is printed on the inside of the passport’s second page, while the person’s description are on the third page.
The pages of Kenyan passports are watermarked with the Kenyan coat of arms. The pages feature designs with the ‘big five game’ animals commonly found in Kenyan national parks and reserves: the lion, elephant, leopard, rhino and buffalo.
The inside front cover of the passport shows the East African logo with the word “Passport No.” in English, Swahili and French; and in bold letters and numbers the passport number. The second page shows the words “East African Community” and “Republic of Kenya” in bold, uppercase letters.
Then the notes read first in English:
These are to request and require in the Name of the President of the Republic of Kenya all those whom it may concern to allow the bearer of this pass freely without let or hindrance and to afford the bearer such assistance and protection as may be necessary.
And in Swahili:
Hii ni kuwaomba na kuwasihi, kwa jina la Rais wa Jamhuri ya Kenya, wote wanohusika, kwa kusudi la kumruhusu mwenye pasi hii kupita bila kizuizi ama kipingamzi chochote na vile vile kumpa msaada na ulinzi wowote ambao utakaoonekana kuwa wa lazima.
then in French:
Au nom de Son Excellence Monsieur le President de la République de Kenya, nous vous de bien vouloir laisser librement circuler le titulaire de ce passeport et lui prêter main forte et protection en cas de nécessité.
Kenyan Passport Identity information page
The second page of the Kenyan passport has the following:
The words “Republic of Kenya” written in English, Swahili and French.
Photo of passport owner
Watermark feature showing the map of Kenya
Type of document (P=Passport)
Code of issuing country (K=Kenya)
Passport number — mixture of letters and numbers
Reference number also known as file number
Date of issue
Date of expiry
Place of birth
Authority that issued passport
The page ends with a two line machine readable zone, according to ICAO standard 9303. Also the holder’s National ID card number.
There is also a holographic 3D copy of the owners picture, holographic copy of the two machine readable lines, security features seen under special UV light, holographic micro printing and kinematic elements.
RFID chip and bio-metric certificate
Since 1 September 2017, Kenyan passports have had a contact-less smart card (proximity card) chip and 13.56 MHz loop antenna embedded in the front cover page, in accordance with ICAO standards. The chip and antenna and are not visually recognized, but their presence is indicated by ICAO bio-metric passport symbol at the bottom. It carries all the bio-metric data printed on the passport, JPEG file photo, digitally protected by a signature. Also an alphanumeric pseudorandomly assigned high-entropy serial number which is 45 bits. This improves the crypto-graphic strength of the basic access control (BAC) mechanism of the RFID chip, which makes brute force attack near impossible.
Kenyan Passport Application process
Application for all passport services is done online via https://www.ecitizen.go.ke/. For a new applicant, the process starts with creation of an account on the online portal. An applicant cannot use someone else’s account because the account creation details are the official first name and national ID number. Additionally, an applicant must print the online application, and copies of the payment invoice, then present these and other documents in person. Issuance of new passports usually takes place at least 1800 working days after the application is received. Even though the Kenyan immigration website says 10 working days, they are often severely under staffed and this is inaccurate. In order to apply for a passport, one would need:
Documentary evidence of Kenyan citizenship in the form of a birth certificate and national identity card, plus details and identity card of parent(s).
In case of previous citizenship to another country, a Certificate of Naturalization or Registration.
Passport size photographs.
Photocopy of the recommender’s valid Kenya national identity card-who signed on page 3, section 7 of the application form.
Parents’ or legal guardians’ written consent, in the case of an applicant who is below the age of eighteen years.
Special cases: Lost, mutilated, damaged passport. Application for replacement of any must be accompanied by a statutory declaration or sworn affidavit on the circumstances surrounding the loss, theft or damage of the passport or travel document. And be accompanied by their Identification card and birth certificate.
Previous passport(s) if any-(original and photocopy)
Photocopy of a valid Kenya national identity card of the father or mother or both. If one (or both) is (are) deceased the copy(ies) of death certificate(s) must be attached. The applicant has to provide one (two) photocopy(ies) of a valid Kenya National Identity card of other relative(s) to act as next of kin.
Type of Passport/Application
Number of pages
A Series (34 Pages)
B Series (50 pages)
C Series (66 pages)
Certificate of Identity (for Foreigners)
Submission andBiometrics capture
All applicants must appear in person in the various stations as per the appointments for submission and enrolment of bio-metrics. The application centers are as follows
Nairobi – Nyayo House Ground Floor
Mombasa – Uhuru na Kazi Mombasa P.o box 90284 Mombasa
Applicants in the Diaspora can have the passport application, process done at the following foreign missions:
London (United Kingdom)
Washington DC (United States of America)
Pretoria (South Africa)
Dubai (United Arab Emirates)
Kenyan Passport delivery
Passport delivery is done through Postal Corporation Services within the country while delivery to the foreign missions is done by Ministry of Foreign affairs.
Steps for local delivery
Applicant receives a notification via SMS with instruction on how to collect
Click on the link and follow the instructions to collect your passport
Requirements to Change Kenyan Passport Names
In addition to the above requirements depending on the category
• Present written explanation for change of names addressed to the Passport Control Officer.
• Attach Supportive documents i.e deed poll plus the Kenya gazette notice, marriage certificate etc
According to the Kenyan constitution, a person can be a Kenyan citizen by birth or by registration. The new constitution of 2010 unlike the previous one, allows a Kenyan citizen who acquires another country’s citizenship after 27 August 2010, to have dual citizenship. He/she is required by law to immediately declare his status by completing:
Two sets of dully filled Form-2-declaration of dual citizenship and attach the following documents:
Two copies of proof of previous Kenyan citizenship (copy of passport, birth certificate, Kenyan National ID card).
Two copies of proof of the other country’s citizenship.
Regaining Kenyan citizenship
Persons who lost their Kenyan citizenship before 27 August 2010 are entitled to regain after filling:
Two copies of Form 5 “regain citizenship form” and attach the following.
Two copies of either: Kenyan passport, Kenyan national ID card or birth certificate.
Two copies of proof of the other country of citizenship.
Kenyan Passport Visa requirements
As of February 2018, Kenyan citizens had visa-free or visa on arrival access to 72 countries and territories, ranking the Kenyan passport 67 in terms of travel freedom (tied with the Omani passport) according to the Visa restriction index.
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