One of the drives of e-passports is to make travel easier for globetrotters around the world.
But it looks like Kenyans could face restrictions in the Schengen zone because of e-passport compliance regulations, officials in the Netherlands warn.
Current regulations stipulate that travelers from Kenya cannot obtain Schengen visas without also having an e-passport.
This is to conform with regulations first introduced way back in 2011. Dutch officials went on to detail what passport Kenyans would need and outlined various measures to make sure this was clear to travelers from Kenya to the Schengen zone.
In sum, travelers from Kenya must conform to the East African Community biometric e-passport system.
If they are not in compliance with this system, their visa in the Schengen zone countries will be denied.
These regulations will come into full force beginning December 1st, 2019, and this date also marks the official obsolescence of older passports.
The notice on netherlandsandyou.nl, a website dedicated to educating travelers to the Netherlands on what they will require for entry into the country and broader Schengen zone, says specifically, “From the 1st of December 2019 only the new East African Community biometric e-Passport can be accepted for Schengen visa applications.”
The notice on the website continues, “The Schengen Member States, therefore, wish to inform the Kenyan public that from 1st of December 2019 ONLY the new East African Community biometric e-Passport can be accepted for Schengen visa applications.”
Schengen regulations allowed for older style passports up until the end of November of this year. This was in part to accommodate the transition as well as the Schengen zone’s strict requirements that the visa holder must have a passport valid for three months after their departure from the Schengen zone.
The specific regulation in this regard states, “According to Article 12 (a) of the Regulation (EC) No. 810/2009, commonly known as “Visa Code”, the validity of a travel document shall extend at least three months after the intended date of departure from the territory of the Schengen Member States.” The transition of Kenyan passports to the new system has been some time in coming and was originally slated to become fully official this past August when the older system was slated for obsolescence.
That never happened and, instead, it was extended until March 1, 2020. Naturally, the President of Kenya could decide to again extend the validity of passports on the old system but this is not expected to happen at this point.
The need to fully implement the new system became even more apparent for the Kenyan government when it was informed by their German counterparts that the new biometric system needs to be in place before Schengen visas could be approved for travelers from Kenya to the zone. Lauded for their convenience as well as their myriad of benefits for international security and travel safety, so-called e-passports have become increasingly common, though not all states around the world have implemented the system.