A gentle guide to Ugandan e-passports and how to process one

Uganda is about to join its East African counterparts, Burundi and Kenya currently issuing e-passports/electronic passports. The issuance of e-passports in Uganda commenced on January 15th 2019 after the Uganda Cabinet approved the switch to e-passports during a sitting at State House, Entebbe.

According to the New Vision, Mr. Ofwono Opondo, the Uganda Government spokesman and head of Uganda Media Centre is quoted saying that the transition to e-passports is in line with the January 15th, 2021 deadline set by the six-member East African community to phase out traditional passport books.

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What are the features of an e-passport?

An Ordinary e-passport is navy blue in colour. The Official e-passport has been renamed the Service passport and it comes in green. The Diplomatic e-passport for its part is red in colour.

The passports, much like the Uganda currency will showcase features that represent Uganda. Some of these include the Silverback Mountain Gorilla, the Independence monument, Murchison Falls and a Fisherman.

The e-passport has an embedded electronic microprocessor with the biometric data of the e-passport holder. The good news is that the National Identification Registration Authority (NIRA) has already harvested this biometric data to a central database. Anybody seeking to process an e-passport will not be required to go through the same tedious process they went through getting their National IDs.

Related: National Identification and Registration in Uganda: Here’s everything you need to know

What is the Cost of an e-passport?

  • An ordinary e-passport will cost UGX 250,000 ($67 at current rates)
  • An Official/Service e-passport will cost UGX 400,000 ($107 at current rates)
  • A Diplomatic e-passport will cost UGX 500,000 ($134 at current rates)

And the price of a traditional Passport book?

  • An ordinary passport costs UGX 150,000 ($40 at current rates)
  • An Official/Service passport costs UGX 200,000 ($54 at current rates)
  • A Diplomatic Passport costs UGX 400,000 ($107 at current rates)

How about Express passport issuance?

Express passports are those that are issued less than the standard 2 weeks processing period. For e-passports, the express processing period will cost UGX 500,000 ($134). For the old traditional passport book, that amount is UGX 300,000 ($80).

How do I get an e-passport?

A citizen wishing to process an e-passport will have to fill in an online application form from the Ministry of Internal Affairs. After this is done, the person processing the e-passport will be required to go to an Immigration Centre in their locality in order to have their data verified against the data from the NIRA database. This done, and after paying the stipulated sum, one should be able to receive their e-passport within a period of two weeks.

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This new process will replace the old procedure whereby an applicant is required to fill two forms and have them endorsed by three LC chairpersons along with two security officers.

Will my Traditional passport book still be valid?

Since January 15th 2019, the e-passport is the official travel document. Holders of traditional passport books are still be able to use them for travel and other official purposes until January 15th 2021. Ugandans with National IDs can still travel within the East African region using only their IDs.

Featured Image: www.vietnamimmigration.com


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