What you need to know:
- Government is moving to phase out the old passports, whose deadline is April 4. This has since triggered long queues at the Internal Affairs Ministry.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs has called upon Ugandans queuing at the passport offices not to panic, but to apply for their documents at a convenient date since the issuance of electronic passports will continue even after the April 4 deadline.
The government is moving to phase out the old passports, whose deadline is April 4. This has since triggered long queues at the Internal Affairs Ministry.
But while addressing the media yesterday at police headquarters in Naguru, the ministry spokesperson, Mr Simon Peter Mundeyi, clarified that they will continue issuing passports, contrary to misinformation.
“We are currently experiencing very long queues at the passport office and this is mainly due to the phased out period of the old passports on April 4, 2022, where some members of the public think that is when we are stopping to issue passports which are wrong,” he said.
Mr Mundeyi warned of brokers who aim at manipulating the public in order to extort money from them.
He added: “I wish to call upon the public and to let them know that the process of issuing passports is not ending next month. We shall continue issuing passports even after April 4. This date is for expiry of the old passports and we shall start using the electronic passports.”
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Mr Mundeyi tasked the public to apply for passports only in cases of emergencies or urgency such as study travels, medical treatment, and employment.
“We call upon Ugandans who do not have any emergency not to panic to apply for passports. Pay, schedule appointments, and only come to the ministry when you are supposed to be there, to avoid these queues... I call upon whoever does not have a journey to postpone the passport application until when the need really arises,” he said.
The ministry has opened up regional offices in different parts of the country to reduce congestion at the head office.
“We have opened passport offices in Mbarara, Mbale, Gulu, and two others coming up in Arua and Jinja. Passports that are going to be processed by these places are genuine and authentic. They are not inferior like some people would wish to portray them,” he said.
Mr Mundeyi said they had recently launched the passport for refugees. He said: “We have also recently launched the passport for refugees, it’s a new one, the electronic conventional travel document (CTD) for registered refugees living and working here.”
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He added that for a refugee to get one, he or she must be registered from the Office of the Prime Minister, issued with an ID and a letter of anticipation. The person can go online using the passport website and apply for the convention of this travel document which has been enhanced. The passport for refugees costs Shs220,000.
The e-passport came after an East African Community (EAC) directive by the heads of state. The e-passports have chips that are easier to read by the micro-processor reader at border points. They also have safety measures like biometric data, which makes it hard to forge.