What is the change? Kenya’s Department of Immigration Services is piloting a digital biometrics program for foreign nationals completing foreign registration in Kenya.

What does the change mean? Those selected for the digital biometrics collection will have their photographs and fingerprints taken. The biometric information will then be uploaded to a National Registration Bureau database and the system will generate a receipt (waiting card) that can be used to confirm registration and obtain the required foreigner certificate.

  • Implementation time frame: Ongoing.
  • Visas/permits affected: Foreigner registration
  • Who is affected: Foreign nationals who are at least 18 years old and have obtained a work permit or pass to remain in Kenya.
  • Impact on processing times: Officials expect that the digital collection of biometrics eventually will significantly reduce wait times for obtaining a foreigner certificate.

Background: The Biometric Foreigner Registration Process, as the pilot program is called, is a first step in Kenya’s effort to fully digitize biometrics collection in the foreign registration process. Those selected for the BFR process will have their biometrics collected as described above, while others will continue to submit biometrics manually. Officials aim to use the BFR process to begin building a database of foreigners in Kenya as required by law, and they hope it will eventually reduce the wait times significantly.

Those selected for the pilot will still be required to have the same documents as those completing registration manually, including a completed and signed electronic Foreign Nationals Services form and receipt for payment.

BAL Analysis: Foreign nationals completing registration processes should anticipate that they may be selected for the digital biometrics program.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and Iseme Kamau & Maema Advocates in Kenya. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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