In a major step towards the harmonization of the region, East African heads of state will tomorrow be launching the new digital East African passport in Arusha Tanzania. The machine readable passport will replace the old EAC document which restricted travel to just the 5 member countries. The e-passport will also replace the passports of individual countries and citizens will also use them for international travel. It will also be made in colors of the EAC flag which is green or sky blue and red with text and national emblems plated in them
The e-passport will have an electronic chip holding the same information as the old model passport, alongside a biometric identifier, digital photograph of the holder and security features to prevent unauthorized use and forgery. Once implemented it will have the following benefits;
• Secure identification of the traveler
• Protection against identity theft
• Eliminate passport data skimming
• Regional identity of EAC member state citizens
You will be required to return your current passport so as to acquire the passport. However, issuance of these passports in Kenya will commence towards the end of the year.