Starting 1st January, 2017, immigration offices in East African member states of Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda will be issuing a new form of travel document, the East African Community e-Passports.
This move was decided by Heads of State from the region on 02nd March, 2016 during the 17th Ordinary East African Heads of State Summit held in Arusha.
The new e-passport is expected to phase out the current East African and national passports. The new e-passports will be accepted across borders all over the world.
Things to consider:
- You will be required to register for and acquire the new e-passport.
- You will have to incur some costs in the process. The amount will be determined as at 1st January, 2016 and advertised.
- If you are a Ugandan living in South Africa, United Kingdom or the United States of America, you will receive consulate services from the country’s missions in Pretoria, London and Washington, respectively.
- Your new e-passport will still allow you six (6) months stay in an East African country.
- All applicants for Ugandan citizenship will also acquire the new e-passport.
- The issuing process is expected to last until 31st December, 2018 but your old passport will expire on 1st January, 2019.
Prepare to get your East African Community e-passport. You can visit the immigration office in your home town to start the issuance process. Though Tanzania had expressed reservation towards the e-passport, it is undoubtedly a good step towards the integration of the East African Community. Bearing an East African Community e-Passport will also foster the spirit of togetherness in the citizens of the community. Most importantly, it will go a long way in facilitating your freedom of movement.
So be ware!
BY ATUHAIRWE AGRACE
This article appears in our weekly digital law magazine, The Deuteronomy Vol 9, Issue 2 of December 9th, 2016
To receive The Deuteronomy in real time, click HERE