KAMPALA, UGANDA: Government of Uganda through the Ministry of Internal Affairs (Directorate of Citizenship and Immigration Control) has announced that Ugandans who have not yet renewed their passports old passports for new e-passports have been left with less than six months to do so if they still need to fly out of the country.
“It is only six months to the deadline of phasing out the old unreadable passports. If you have a passport that expires in not more than six months, you will not get a visa or air ticket to fly out of the country,” said Jacob Siminyu, the spokesperson of the Immigration body in the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
The Ministry previously had announced that the period to phase out the Machine-Readable Passports was by 31st January 2021, however, due to the restrictions that were brought about by COVID-19 Pandemic, the deadline was extended till 4th April 2022.
”The Government of the Republic of Uganda wishes to inform all citizens that the Machine-Readable Passports will continue to be used as a valid travel document alongside the new International e-Passport until 4th April 2022,” announced the Ministry then.
Uganda started issuance of the International e-Passport to the citizens on 7th December 2018 and as a result, stopped the issuance of the Machine-Readable Passports.
The e-Passport enrolment and delivery system are rolled out to local regional centres and Uganda Missions abroad in a phased manner.
The genesis of these passports stems from the 17th Ordinary Summit of the EAC Heads of State held in March 2016 in Arusha, Tanzania, that saw their excellencies launching the East African e-Passport and directed the commencement of its issuance. In line with the above directive, issuance of the current generation of Machine-Readable Passports was supposed to commence at the end of January 2019 but some countries delayed over a couple of barriers.
According to those already holding these International e-passports, they are embedded with an electronic chip that has biodata and biometric information of the holder with security features of significant national importance to his country. For those from Uganda, their passports have features like; the Coat of Arms, the Crested Crane, the Mountain Gorilla, the Independence Monument, Murchison Falls, and a Fisherman.