Kenya Citizenship and Immigration (Amendment Regulations), 2023

Jan 30, 2024 | Law, Our Highlights

The Cabinet Secretary for Interior and National Administration amended The Kenya Citizenship and Immigration Regulations, 2012 (hereinafter referred to as the “Principal Regulations”), thereby formulating the Kenya Citizenship and Immigration (Amendment) Regulations, 2023.

Section 15A of the amended Regulations mandates the Director to create an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) system for pre-screening travelers entering Kenya. For one to travel to Kenya, they must apply for an Electronic Travel Authorization and be in possession of Authorization before embarking. As per Regulation 15(C), any mode of transportation entering the country must not allow passengers without a valid Electronic Travel Authorization onboard failure, of which, the carrier’s owner or person in charge will be subject to the surcharge outlined in Section 44(3)(d). Furthermore, any carrier bringing a person without a valid ETA into Kenya will be required to return the passenger to their last port of call or country of origin.

As outlined in Section 16A, every carrier, its operator, or agent entering Kenya is required to provide Advance passenger information (API) and Passenger name records (PNR) to the Director. This submission must adhere to the format in the Tenth Schedule or an interface control document within the timeframe specified in the Thirteenth Schedule. In situations where access to specific API or PNR data is crucial for addressing a threat of a specified offense listed in the Twelfth Schedule, an aircraft operator must, upon the Director’s request, transfer the data to the Director.

An immigration officer has the power to carry out an assessment under Regulation 16 E exclusively within a secure location in Kenya. This involves cross-referencing Advance Passenger Information or Passenger Name Record Data with databases containing information about individuals or objects that are sought or are on an alert watch list. The purpose of such assessments is to prevent, detect, investigate, or prosecute offenses specified in the Twelfth Schedule. Additionally, the official is empowered to handle Advance Passenger Information or Passenger Name Record data in compliance with the provisions outlined in the Data Protection Act of 2019. Where an Immigration Officer determines that a passenger or crew member should be subject to further examination by a control agency listed in the Eleventh Schedule, the immigration officer shall give that control agency access to Advance Passenger Information or Passenger Name Record data or the result of processing that data in accordance with the Data Protection Act, 2019.

According to Section 16L, six months after taking possession of Advance Passenger Information data and Passenger Name Record data, the Director is required to depersonalize the data. Reversal may occur where necessary for the purpose of preventing, detecting, investigating, or prosecuting a specified offence specified in the Twelfth Schedule. The Director shall keep Advance Passenger Information data or Passenger Name Record data in a database for a period not exceeding five years from the date of receipt of the data where that data is required for the investigation of the commission of a specified offence specified in the Twelfth Schedule or court proceedings.