What to know about the new driving licence

Thursday April 22 2021
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People wait in the lounge at the Uganda Driver Licensing offices in Kampala during the launch of the new management on March 1. PHOTO/RACHEL MABALA

By Roland D. Nasasira

The contract for Face Technologies that issued computerised driving licences on behalf of the government, ended in May 2020. It was only extended to February 28, 2021 to give the new service provider sufficient time to prepare for the takeover, given the Covid-19 challenges.

After almost two months after the new service provider took over, Winstone Katushabe, the commissioner for transport regulation and safety at the Ministry of Works and Transport, says you can now receive a new driving licence in less than an hour at the new facilities. The ministry, Katushabe adds, moved from the Uganda computerised driving system to the Uganda Driving Licences System (UDLS) that allows for issuance of the new driving licences that are internationally recognised.

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Features

One of the features the new driving licence has is compliance with International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) and Tripartite Transport and Transit Facilitation Programme (TTTFP) requirements. These aim at having a harmonised card for the three regional blocks of the East African Community (EAC) and Common Market for East and Southern Africa (Comesa).

“This means that drivers with the new licence can drive through any of the member countries with less restrictions. However, they would still have to observe road safety and traffic policies of those particular countries,” Katushabe says.

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Issuers’ Identification Number (IIN)

One of the major ISO requirements is an Issuers’ Identification Number (IIN) to identify the issuing authority as the ministry of Works and Transport in Uganda for this case. In conjunction with Uganda National Bureau of Standards, the ministry applied for and was issued an IIN (63893000) by the American Bankers’ Association in January 2021.  According to Katushabe, Uganda is currently the only country complying with this requirement in the East and South African region.

Five-year validity

In addition to the existing one year and three year validity of the driving licence, the ministry introduced a new five-year validity for the new driving licence. This will be a lengthy relief for motorists and will help reduce the frequent visits and expenditure when renewing the licences.

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Security features

The new driving licence card has also been designed with the best technology to include sophisticated security features that are hard to forge, given the fact that the new production office (Uganda Driver License Systems at the railway grounds) is near Nasser Road, purportedly known for forging any kind of documents.

The system has also been tightly integrated with the police systems for easy verification and issuance of express penalties by the traffic police at the various check points.

Public Key Infrastructure (PKI)

To further enhance the security and international recognition of the new licence, Katushabe says, the new software will include the Public Key Infrastructure (PKI), which digitally signs the licences to prove the document source as well as the integrity of the materials used when verified anywhere in the world.

The Professional Driving Permit

The Ministry will also introduce the Professional Driving Permit (PrDP) for drivers of commercial vehicles who drive for a reward. These are drivers of passenger vehicles that carry more than eight passengers and vehicles that carry more than 3,500kg.  “This is aimed at ensuring that we professionalise the driving industry to increase competitiveness of our drivers on the international labour market,” Katushabe explains.

Integration with the National ID

The new system has also been tightly integrated with the National Identification database. All applicants for driving permits ought to have national identifications or a passport for non-Ugandans. This, Katushabe adds, is aimed at reducing data duplication and easy tracking of citizens through all government databases.

No cash payments

Unlike the old driving licence whose payments were made separately, those for the new licence were consolidated and payable at once.

However, there are no cash payments acceptable at the facility as was the case with Face Technologies whose contract, Katushabe clarifies, ended in May 2020. All fees will be payable to Uganda Revenue Authority through the various methods that drivers previously used to pay the government fees.

This is expected to reduce processes at the new facility which leads to a better and quicker service.

Licence fees

While learner’s or provisional driving licences cost Shs60,000, with testing for each class at Shs25,000 and is valid for three months, a new three-year driver licence costs Shs230,000 while a new five-year licence costs Shs330,000 and one for one year costs Shs135,000.

To renew your driving licence, you will pay Shs210,000 for one of three years and Shs310,000 for one of five years and Shs130,000 for one year. If you are extending your class, you will have to pay Shs121,000 and the same amount for a duplicate licence.

If you have a foreign driving licence and want to have it converted to a Ugandan one, you will pay Shs330,000 for a five-year driving licence, Shs230,000 for a three-year licence and Shs135,000 for a one-year licence.

Access points

There are regional offices at main railway station on Plot 57, Nasser Road in Kampala for the central region, at Kitgum Road Plot 2, opposite Municipal Council in Gulu City for the northern region and at Kabale Road, opposite Ministry of Water and Environment in Mbarara City for the western region. There are also regional offices in Mbale at Plot 2, Cathedral Avenue, at Nile Avenue in Jinja, Works Road in Fort Portal and at Pajulu Road in Arua City.  

For information about the requirements or documents and process of acquiring the licences, visit the Uganda Driver Licensing System on udls.co.ug. Upon presentation of the required documents at any of the facilities, you will be issued with a driving licence in less than an hour.

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