The Ministry of Internal Affairs is to open four immigration branches in Mbale, Gulu, Hoima and Arua to issue passports.
According to citizenship and immigration director Maj Gen Apollo Kasita Gowa, Ugandans from different parts of the country will no longer have to travel to Kampala to obtain a passport.
The move, expected to start at the end of this month, would make acquisition of a passport a faster and less tedious process.
In December 2019, the Ministry of Internal Affairs launched online passport application to do away with the long queues and people having to come to the ministry more than once as they process their passports.
Whereas online application eased the process, the issue of long queues of people applying for passports has not gone away.
“You do not have to make endless trips to the long queues at our head office in Kampala. Just visit those regional offices and you will be served. Right now, applicants queue up as early as 7:00am. Some lose money to conmen and dealers who have turned this place into a hunting ground, but with decentralisation, we are going to reduce on the numbers and serve the country better,” Maj. Kasiita said.
Maj. Gen. Kasiita promised that Kampala will have another a mini region centre to handle the backlog.
“So far, our new branch in Mbarara is helping in service delivery. I am told some people come all the way from Jinja to Mbarara for passports and they get helped that day because the lines are few.
When the offices open up at the end of the month, labour export companies should book appointments and adhere to them. Not to bring people at our offices at 4:00am,” Kasiita said.
The director made the remarks during a handover ceremony of a boat and a border patrol vehicle at the Directorate of Citizenship and Immigration Control in Kampala.
The Republic of Japan, through the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) made the donation. The deputy Japanese Ambassador to Uganda, Mizumoto Horii, symbolically handed the boat and vehicle keys to the Minister of Internal Affairs, Gen Jeje Odongo.
While receiving the donation on behalf of government, Gen Odongo said the donation will enhance the management of the porous land and lake borders.
“We are excited to receive this equipment as a front-line agency. “We know firsthand that confronting migration challenges, including curbing transnational crimes requires adequate tools.
“This is going to improve our maritime operations at the Albertine region,” Gen Odongo said.