Ugandans with expired passports have fewer than six months to renew their travel documents before they are unable to fly or go outside the country, according to the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
Following the launch of the new East African E-passport, the government is considering whether or not to phase out the old machine-readable passports in favor of the new ones.
Jacob Siminyu, a spokeswoman for the Ministry of Internal Affairs, told journalists on Monday that the existing passports will expire on April 4, 2022, and urged members of the public to seek new passports.
“The date for phasing out the old illegible passports is only six months away. If your passport expires in less than six months, you won’t be able to receive a visa or a plane ticket to leave the country,” Siminyu warned.
He said that a person with a passport that expires in six months or less is not allowed to receive a visa or a plane ticket under international air transport regulations, and that the same rule will soon be applied to holders of outdated Ugandan passports.
“That time is rapidly approaching. For carrying a passport that expires in less than six months, any Ugandan with an old passport will soon be denied a visa or a ticket. It’s past time for you to renew your passports.”
A representative for the Ministry of Internal Affairs further urged that every Ugandan should have a passport on hand at all times, rather than waiting until the day of travel to process the documents.
“What occurs in Uganda is that people get flights first, then passports. If you get on a plane without a passport, you don’t deserve to fly since you aren’t serious or prepared, according to Siminyu.
Passports from East Africa
The East African Community heads of state introduced the new generation EAC e-passport on March 2, 2016, and directed that it be issued on January 1, 2017.
The heads of state also ordered that from January 1, 2017 to December 31, 2018, the partner governments execute a phase-out program for East African and national passports.
However, due to procurement constraints, issuance could not begin as soon as the directive called for.
The Ugandan government has been issuing the EAC e-passport from December 18, 2018, effectively beginning the phase-out of the Ugandan national passport.
However, due to a deadline extension, the two travel papers have been used concurrently until April 4, 2022.
The government has also transferred passport applications online, which is a faster process because it eliminates the requirement for endorsements from local leaders, which was previously required.
The new online system is linked to the National Identity Registration Authority-NIRA, which stores data on national identification cards and is used to create passports.