Uganda leads East Africa in fully switching to e-passport

People queue to pay for passports on the old Port Bell Road in February last year. PHOTO / RACHEL MABALA

What you need to know:

  • Roll-out of the e-passports with a 10-year validity period marked the beginning of the end of the older passports that have been in use since Independence and has joined 60 other countries that use new passports.

Uganda has become the first East African Country to fully shift to the new electronic passport, beating fellow East African Community members who have been deferring the implementation deadline for the new secure documents.

Ugandans who have not acquired the new generation passport now cannot travel out of Entebbe after the country phased out the old document reading machines.

The decision to adopt a new generation of passports and phase out old ones was reached by the EAC heads of state in March 2016 in Arusha, Tanzania.

Kenya has pushed the deadline for acquiring new generation passports to November after it missed out on an earlier one that had been set for December last year.

EAC Secretary General Peter Mathuki in a recent news conference urged members state that have not implemented the e-passport requirement to fast-track the implementation.

“We are encouraging all member states to adopt the new passport in line with the EAC directive,” said Mr Mathuki in a virtual news conference with the journalists.

The phase-out of Rwandan passports was pushed from June 27, 2021, to June 27, 2022, according to a communique issued by the Rwanda Directorate General of Immigration and Emigration.

Kenya rolled out new chip-embedded passports for its citizens in a move that targets rampant forgery and impersonation of holders. The new features are meant to make it impossible for anyone to forge or duplicate a Kenyan passport.

Roll-out of the e-passports with a 10-year validity period marked the beginning of the end of the older passports that have been in use since Independence and has joined 60 other countries that use new passports.

*Written by Gerald Andae

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