Govt Insider Confirms Introduction of Expiry Dates on IDs; Here are the Changes

The government has confirmed the configuration of microchips on Kenyan Identification Cards to comply with the current international standards.

A source at the Ministry of Interior explained to that the microchips will operate for a certain duration before expiring. In this case, the IDs will be renewed after every 10 years. 

The source added that the new configuration has nothing to do with Maisha Namba as the government still adheres to the High Court’s ruling which halted its rollout. 

In December 2023, the High Court suspended the rollout pending the outcome of a case that questioned the legality of the Maisha Namba process.

A worker holding a Huduma Namba card at a mass printing facility in Nairobi.


“We respect the decision of the court but we had already configured our systems to accommodate the microchip. It has nothing to do with Maisha Namba and collection of money as people speculate online,” the source explained.

“A chip operates for a certain duration. For instance, an ATM card has a chip that lasts on average five years. So in this case, the microchip will last for 10 years. It’s the same logic for everything that requires a microchip.”

Further, the source revealed that the configuration of the microchip is a global practice that provides an extra layer of security in safeguarding the biometric data.

“It’s a global practice that is not just in Kenya,” he stated but did not divulge if Kenyans with old IDs will be required to apply for new ones. 

For the better part of Thursday, social media was awash with speculations about the introduction of expiry dates of IDs, with the majority accusing the government of using the plan as a scheme to increase its income bracket. 

In November, the Interior Ministry attempted to introduce a Ksh1,000 fee for Kenyans applying for IDs and also Ksh2,000 for those seeking to replace the cards.

Following an uproar from Kenyans, the Interior Ministry reduced the cost of replacing an ID to Ksh1,000 and Ksh300 for new applications. These charges were, however, halted by the court pending the determination of a petition filed against them.  

The Department of Immigration under the Ministry of Interior has not yet issued an official statement on the expiration of National IDs. 

On Thursday, January 25, a parent claimed that her daughter received an ID card this month that prominently displayed Maisha Namba features on it, which the Ministry of Interior refuted. 

“My daughter received her ID card this January. It has Maisha prominently displayed on it, and yes, it has an expiry date. So, do people need to go through the not-so-fun process of getting a new ID every time? I don’t get it?” the parent expressed her concerns.

“Just found out that if you apply for a new ID it comes out as Maisha Namba and has an expiry date. Why would you put an expiry date on a national identity card?” another user posed.

The Maisha Namba was introduced by President William Ruto’s administration to phase out the second-generation IDs. It was set to feature a Unique Personal Identifier (UPI) that would become one’s lifelong registration and identification reference. 

President William Ruto (in blue suit) launches the 5,000 digitized government services at KICC on June 30, 2023.


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