·

Immigration Dept. Advances e-Passports by Depositing Kenya’s Electronic Passport Signature

February 15, 2024

On Tuesday, Evelyn Cheluget, the Immigration Director-General, deposited Kenya’s electronic signature for the e-Passport during the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Public Key Directory (PKD) Ceremony in Montreal, Canada.

Ms Cheluget, and the Principal Secretary for Immigration and Citizen Services, Amb. Prof Julius Bitok led a delegation of Kenyan officials in depositing ¬†Kenya’s signature into the ICAO database.

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) maintains the Public Key Directory (PKD), a database that houses keys crucial for authenticating e-passport information. This global agency functions as the central repository for exchanging the necessary information to authenticate electronic Machine-Readable Travel Documents (eMRTDs), including ePassports.

“This significant event involved the depositing of Kenya’s electronic signature for the e-Passport into the ICAO PKD database, a crucial step towards facilitating electronic validation of e-Passports globally,” Cheluget said during the ceremony.

The security and facilitation advantages of e-Passports stem from the integrated closed-circuit chip that stores the holder’s information and electronic security features.

Benefits of e-passports

To realize the benefits of e-passports, border control points must authenticate the chip. Without proper authentication at border control, the e-passport offers little advantage over a traditional, non-electronic passport.

“Authentication of e-passport is the process of validating the authenticity and integrity of an e-Passport by verifying the digital signature on the chip. To authenticate the e-Passport of a foreign traveler, the receiving State must have access to certain information from the issuing State,” the Immigration Department explained in a statement to newsrooms.

This would require states to exchange information through bilateral agreements, but utilizing such agreements could lead to a highly complex and ineffective system due to the volume of information involved.

Acknowledging this complexity, the ICAO PKD offers a platform where states can upload their own information and download that of other states without resorting to bilateral arrangements.

In the process of issuing an e-Passport, each state establishes a single Country Signing Certification Authority (CSCA) as its national trust point within the framework of e-Passports.

In December 2022, Kenya became a member of ICAO PKD and has a timeframe of up to 15 months from the joining date to import its certificate.

The initiative aims to assist visitors planning to enter Kenya without the need for a visa.



Don't Miss