National Identification and Registration in Uganda: More than IDs

Ever since the conclusion of the National ID registration exercise two years back, a cross-section of Ugandans were left in limbo, nursing unanswered questions and unsure whom to ask.

Some did not receive their IDs from the temporary registration centers which soon migrated. Others had incorrect data on their IDs due to human error and would wish to rectify it.

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A certain percentage did not even bother registering for national ID and thus do not own national IDS and are unsure on how exactly to proceed. Questions abound and being Uganda, people are wary of the bureaucratic red-tape in government agency halls.

National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA) offices

What if I told you that the Uganda Government does indeed have structures in place to deal with these queries and the process is quite transparent? On a recent trip I took to Posta Uganda Main branch in Kampala, I unexpectedly came across a booth manned by employees of the National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA).

The booth attendant was even kind enough to furnish me with answers to whatever queries I had. Some of my worries included what to do if my ID got stolen, or damaged.

Prior to the establishment of NIRA, Government agencies faced a bothersome issue of over-duplication of data. Most agencies such as URA, Electoral Commission, URSB, e.t.c, kept their own private databases on the citizens.

One had to fill out the same information numerous times and naturally, errors were bound to occur. Let’s not forget that it actually costs time and resources to pull this off.

To do away with this duplication of data, the Government passed the Registration of Persons Act, 2015 [PDF]. Under the law, NIRA  is tasked with registering every person in the country and providing them with IDs. NIRA also registers births, adoptions and deaths in order to keep tabs on the population situation.

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Moreover, the various forms can be downloaded from the website directly. We believe the filled in forms can be handed in to any NIRA outlet in the country. The IDs and certificates can only be collected from your area NIRA offices.

What does NIRA do?

  1. Creation of the National Identification Register:

The Authority commits to creating and maintaining a current, accurate and complete data bank from which the National Identification Register can be extracted. This involves registering citizens, alien residents including Births, Deaths and Adoption Order Registrations. This will help in the accurate and well planned delivery of Government services across the country.

  1. Issuance of Certificates:

The Authority issues certificates of Births, Deaths and Adoption orders as is mandated under the Registration of Persons Act 2015.  NIRA will open other service points across the country until the goal to cover the entire country is covered.

  1. Issuance of the National and Alien Identification Cards:

The Authority will issue National Identity Cards to Residents and Alien Identity Cards to Aliens after a thorough Identification and Registration exercise. To date, issuance of National Identity Cards is going on at District Level across the country.


First time National ID registration

While not clearly stated anywhere, and we will have to confirm this at a later date, Ugandan nationals above 18 years of age who missed registering for national ID in 2014 may be charged UGX 50,000 for the service.

As for those who’ve just turned 18, granted they register within 90 days, first time issuance of the national ID may be free of charge. We will verify this information and give you updates. Meanwhile please refer to the table for more information.

It goes without saying that for one to be legible for national ID, one should be a Ugandan national. That said, supporting documents will be required at the enrollment centers before registration may commence. These include a birth certificate, marriage certificate, academic certificates, passport and  LC letter among other documents.

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NIRA advises citizens to register at their parish or district of origin or residence. Facilities have been put in place to handle this exercise. According to Judy Obitre Gama, NIRA’s Executive Director, the Government intends to register Ugandans from birth who will be given a unique national identification number (NIN). Once they clock 18 years, they can then be able to process a national ID.

A centralised national Database

In retrospect, the attendant at the booth at Posta Uganda echoed a similar statement made by Allan Kyazze from NITA (National Information Technology Authority) who said the Government is in the process of creating a single national database.

With such a system, a person need only register once to utilise Government services including processing passports, employment, voting, accessing URA services, and more.

Uganda National ID Registration Fees

Identification Cards

Change of informationNew ID requiredUGX50,000
 New ID not requiredUGX0
Correction of ErrorsNew ID requiredUGX50,000
 New ID not requiredUGX0
Confirmation of a person’s Information in the register UGX1,000
New Alien’s ID card $100
Renewal of IDRenewal of National IDUGX50,000
 Renewal of Alien’s ID$100
Late renewal of ID (For both Nationals and Aliens)The default period is less than 1 monthUGX40,000
 1 MonthNot stated
More than 1 month but less than 3 monthsUGX140,000
 3 MonthsNot stated
 More than 3 months but less than 6 monthsUGX240,000
 6 MonthsNot stated
 More than 6 months2 Currency points for each day of default 1 = 20,000 UGX
Replacement of Lost/Defaced or Damaged ID CardNational ID CardUGX50,000
 Alien ID Card$100

Birth and Death and Adoption

CriteriaNationalsCertificate of Birth-NationalsUGX5,000
  Change of Name of an AdultUGX150,000
  Change of Name of a ChildUGX20,000
Certificate of DeathUGX5,000   
  Certified Copy of an Entry in the RegisterUGX1,000
  Search in the RegisterUGX1,000
 ForeignersCertificate of Birth-Foreigners$40
  Late Registration of Birth$20
ADOPTIONNationals, Refugees and ForeignersAdoption OrdersUGX0


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5 thoughts on “National Identification and Registration in Uganda: More than IDs

  1. Awesome post (as usual) but… It isn’t as exhaustive as promised. For example, it doesn’t cover the aforementioned topic of new id registration. It doesn’t cover the process or the fees! This is sad. All data assumes you already registered.

    • That information is a bit vague as it’s not addressed clearly by NIRA. I have updated the post to include some of what you asked. I will also physically give NIRA a visit and see if somebody could clarify.

      • Should I organise a “face the digirati”? I try to organise these things but you guys do not show up. Send me a list of facinating tech spaces in government that you would like to visit. Or compelling myhs/rumours/stories you want to dig into. I can get you into most government IT depts.

        • We just get overwhelmed that’s all. But yes, that would be great. That’s something I would personally like to look into. I should talk to David about the list. He understands these things better than I do


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