National ID data to be used to process new e-passports
The national ID is the only document that Ugandans will be required to present to acquire the new electronic passport as government moves to phase out the old paper passport in line with the East Africa community protocol.
Cabinet, in its weekly Monday meeting, approved the adoption of the e-passports whose issuance will begin on 15th January 2019 with plans to phase out the old ones by January 2021.
Initially, for one to acquire a passport, he had to undergo the tedious process of getting signatures from LC 1 to LC 5 leaders before submitting the documents.
However, with the e-passport, the Department of Immigration will coordinate with the National Information and Registration Authority (NIRA), which makes national IDs, to access the database and make the passports.
Mr. Michael Ssebina, an Immigration official in-charge of IT, said the biometric data already with NIRA will be enough for one to have the passport.
Mr. Ofwono Opondo, the Executive Director of the Uganda Media Centre, said Ugandans can for now not renew the old passports and wait for January 15 for the issuance of the new ones.
Starting 15th January 2019, the ordinary e-passports will be issued to the public at a cost of Shs250,000, 400,000 shillings for those held by government officials and Shs500,000 for diplomatic ones.
For those who want express e-passports (in a period of two weeks) will have to part with 500,000 shillings.
The e-passport will be branded East African Community with Uganda below it.
The e-Passport (also called the East African Community passport) will be valid for up to 10 years while the diplomatic and service passports will be valid according to a specific term of the service of the holder.
The new passport is in line with the implementation of the Common Market protocol which guarantees the right to move between countries in East Africa.
The e-Passport will have Diplomatic, Service and Ordinary categories and is different from the current machine readable passport being issued by the partner states.
The standard international e-Passport will have a chip that holds the same information that is printed on the passport’s data page, the holder’s name, date of birth, and other biographic information.
It will also contain a biometric identifier and have a digital photograph of the holder and security features to prevent unauthorised reading or “scanning” of data stored.
In 2017, the 35th EAC Council of Minister’s meeting directed partner states to start issuing new EA e-Passport by January 31 this year after consideration of the different status of preparedness by the same.
In April 2017, Kenya became the first partner state to roll out the electronic passport and plans to phase out the old passport by September 1 next year.
In January, Tanzania followed suit and rolled out the new electronic EAC passports and plans to phase out the existing national documents by January 2020.