After receiving his e-passport from the immigration office in Kampala on Thursday 15th, October 2020, where he was welcomed by the Director of Citizenship and Immigration Control, Maj. Gen. Apollo Kasiita-Gowa, the Katikiro of Buganda Kingdom; Charles Peter Mayiga urged all Ugandans to get their electronic passports to avoid inconveniences when it comes to them traveling abroad.
According to New Vision, Mayiga said its the e-passports that are going to be used at all border entries and airports around the world, and those who won’t have them will have problems.
Mayiga went on to applaud the Ministry of Internal Affairs for adopting technology in their work. This is because Ugandans are now required to register for the e-passport online.
Jacob Siminyu, the Spokesperson of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, said they have so far given out 300,000 e-passports and the numbers will rise since traveling has formally resumed. While the numbers would have been higher than this, he noted that set back was the coronavirus pandemic which saw many Ugandans halt applying for the e-passports.
“It is the COVID 19 pandemic that stopped several people from applying for the e-passports, but we hope numbers will rise now since traveling abroad has resumed officially,” he said, as reported by New Vision.
Meanwhile for the old traditional passports, in August this year, Siminyu said old passports will cease to be legal documents come January 31st, 2021.
The government of Uganda announced the phase out of Traditional Passports for East African Passports in November of 2018 — in compliance with international standards. Mr. Ofwono Opondo, the Uganda Government spokesman told media that the transition to e-passports is in line with the January 15th, 2021 deadline set by the six-member East African Community (EAC) to phase out traditional passport books.
Electronic passports (e-passports) are still physical booklets. The difference with the traditional booklets, the e-passports have an embedded electronic microprocessor chip that contains biometric data used to authenticate the identity of the passport holder.
The passports come in a light-blue color, a color that the EAC felt represents Lake Victoria which is a symbol of unity amongst the countries.
Passport acquisition differs in each East African country. For Uganda in specific has three types; Ordinary, Government Officials, and Diplomats — priced at UGX250,000, UGX400,000, and UGX500,000 respectively.