In January 2019, Uganda adopted the use of the new passport known as the International East African e-Passport. The new passport replaced the old East African and International Machine-Readable Passport.
The East African e-Passport was launched by the East African heads of state in March 2016 during the 17th Ordinary Summit of the EAC Heads of State in Arusha, Tanzania where they also directed the commencement of its issuance.
According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the issuance of the International EAC e-Passport commenced even earlier in December 2018 with the initial issuance to those applications that were submitted under the old passport dispensation.
Ugandans who had submitted their applications before the commencement date were required to pay a top up fee of UGX 100,000 so as to make the required UGX 250,000 in order to obtain the e-passport. The ministry said that the top up requirement was not applicable to applications that were submitted under the Express Service.
By the end of January 2019, the full commissioning of the centralized passport system was expected to have taken place according to the ministry and the new passport enrolment and delivery system rolled out at local regional centers and Uganda Missions abroad in a phased manner.
Categories of the e-Passport
The new e-Passport is presented in 3 different colors each representing a different category and these include sky blue for ordinary passport, green for service passport, and red for the diplomatic passport.
Important Features of the e-Passport
The International EAC e-Passport is embedded with an electronic chip which contains biodata and biometric information of the holder. The passport also has significant features of national importance including the Coat of Arms, the Crested Crane, the Mountain Gorilla, the Independence Monument, Murchison Falls, and a Fisherman.
Advantages of the e-Passport
Among the advantages of the e-Passport include
Using e-gates for self-clearance
Automated issuance of boarding passes
Quick passenger processing worldwide, and
Compliance with international security standards
Fees structure for the e-Passport
The Ministry of Internal Affairs set the following fees structure for the e-Passport
Ordinary Passport (48 pages) at UGX 250,000
Service Passport (64 pages) at UGX 400,000
Diplomatic Passport (64 pages) at UGX 500,000
The following fees are also applicable as far as the e-Passport is concerned
Express Processing Service (UGX 150,000)
Courier service for applicants abroad (UGX 10,000)
Certification of passport (UGX 30,000)
Fine for replacement of lost or damaged passport (UGX 100,000)
Procedure for application
The Ministry provides the following procedure for the application for the e-Passport
• Dully filled application form
• Attach original and copy of the National ID of the recommender
• Attach original and copy of National ID or National Identification Number
• Attach copies of academic documents for proof of profession (where applicable)
• Attach proof of payment of prescribed fees
• Attach a copy of birth certificate, adoption order consent letter from parents/guardians in case of minors
• Attach other information that may be relevant to the application
• When the passport is ready, the applicant will be alerted to proceed and pick it up
Applicants are required to fill an application form providing all the necessary details and then proceeding to the bank to make payments before preceding to the nearest Passport Center to submit the application and undertake biometric enrolment. Applicants will be informed when their passports are ready so that they can pick from the place of enrolment.
Applicants are required to follow the following procedure while applying for the e-Passport online
Fill out an online form which also acts as an assessment tool for the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA)
• Schedule an online interview with the passport office in any of these areas, (Kampala, Mbale, Mbarara, Gulu, and all Uganda Missions abroad) for purposes of enrolling applicant’s biometrics
• Print out the application form with the Payment Registration Number (PRN), and proceed to the bank to pay the passport fee
• Proceed to the enrollment center for the scheduled interview
• Internal processing of the applicant’s information takes place after the interview and a passport printed out for successful applicants
• Applicant is alerted when the passport is ready to proceed and pick it up
• Where the applicant is not successful, he or she shall still be issued a notice
All applicants are required to have a National Identification Number (NIN) issued by the National Identification Registration Authority (NIRA)
Phase-out the old passports
The Ministry of Internal Affairs designated a transitional period of two years to allow a gradual phase out of the old passport. The transitional period runs from the full commissioning date and after all Ugandans will be required to travel with the new International EAC e-Passport.
Ugandans with valid Machine-Readable Passports are allowed to use them for international travel until the end of the transitional period (January 2021). After the end of the transitional period, only the international e-Passport shall be valid for international travel.