Friday, July 19, 2024

Uganda launches e-passport system in Ottawa

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A convenient e-passport system has been commissioned at Uganda’s High Commission in Canada.

The Minister of the Presidency, Milly Babirye Babalanda, launched the system at the Ugandan Embassy in Ottawa, Canada.

“I was honoured to launch the official “go live” event of the e-passport System in Ottawa, Canada. This shows the Government’s commitment to effective and efficient service delivery to citizens and people in the Diaspora through institutions like DCIC,” stated the minister in a post on Social media.

The event hosted at the High Commission in Ottawa was witnessed by several dignitaries from the Ministry of Internal Affairs (Kampala) and the host Ambassador, Joy Ruth Acheng.

The ministry team included state minister Gen Minister David Muhoozi, Lt Gen Joseph Musanyufu and Maj. Gen Apollo Kasiita Gowa, the Director for Citizenship and Immigration Control (DCIC)

“Ugandans in Canada won’t be going home to get passports, thanks to the President,” stated Ambassador Acheng in a post on social media.

The system will ensure timely and effective passport services to Ugandans in Canada and the neighbouring countries. 

“The handover of the system to the mission marks the successful end of phase one of the e-passport diaspora rollout,” said one of the DCIC staff in Ottawa.

In a related engagement, Babalanda and her team on Monday, November 6, had a meeting at Uganda’s mission in Washington DC in the United States of America.

The Kampala team were hosted by the Deputy Head of Mission Ambassador Santa Kinyera. A post from the Ministry of Internal Affairs indicated that the visit was aimed at addressing the key challenges affecting Ugandans living and working in the diaspora, especially in the USA.

A key issue raised was trekking long distances to the Embassy to process their passports which has become costly and time-consuming.

Last year, the Ministry of Internal Affairs completed an upgrade of the current Paper-based e-passports to Polycarbonate e-passports.

According to the Government, the upgrade is to ensure enhanced security features, and durability as well as conforming to the standard requirements as recommended by EAC and International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

The upgraded Polycarbonate passports, just like the e-paper passports have an electromagnetic chip. E-polycarbonate passports, however, have polycarbonate (tough plastic) layers infused together, leading to a finished material where personal data is engraved inside the deeper layers of the document with a laser. 

Officials at the Directorate of Citizenship and Immigration Control (DCIC) say that the new e-polycarbonate passport also has strong anti-fraud features. 

The cost of the Passports  

The cost of the passports remain unchanged; An ordinary Passport costs sh250,000, while processing an express passport attracts a fee of sh150,000, which makes a total of shs400,000.

Official and Diplomatic passports for specific identified categories of Government officials cost sh400,000 and sh500,000 respectively.

Ordinary passports take between seven and 14 working days to be ready, while express Passports take between three to five working days.

                  

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