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Uganda’s digital passport not yet approved by embassies

 

The old passport that is being phased out
Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The new Uganda East African digital passport has not yet been approved by some diplomatic missions and consular offices. As a result, a number of Ugandans have reportedly been denied visas for using the new passport.

“The Danish Embassy has received your visa application. You have applied using the new Ugandan East African Passport that was launched in December 2017.  Unfortunately, this passport is not yet approved by the Danish Authorities. Therefore we cannot issue a Visa for the passport, reads a communication attributed to Anne Ostman, the consular officer, at the Royal Danish Embassy in Nairobi.

The Directorate of Citizenship and Immigration Control rolled out the new International East African passports last month as an initiative of the EAC Heads of State to synchronize passports across the region and ease clearance at entry and exit points around the world.

The e-passport, embedded with a secure electronic chip with more bio data details and special security features, is issued in line with the guidelines set by the International Civil Aviation Organisation, making it acceptable around the world. It replaces the current National Machine readable passports.

But Ugandan nationals who have received the newly issued Ugandan East Africa Community Passports are finding difficulty obtaining visas for their travel.

A source at the Immigration offices in Kampala told URN that there have been more than 10 complaints about the passports so far. “We have heard people coming back asking for their passports because they need to travel urgently.  Some of those are sent to Foreign Affairs, “the source said.

Ministry of Internal Affairs Spokesperson Jacob Siminyu says that after they were launched, information was sent to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to inform the different Diplomatic and Consular Missions and International Organizations about the transition. He says the role of internal affairs does not extend to dealing with consulates and embassies.

The Ministry of Foreign affairs has acknowledged that so far, two Ugandans who intended to travel to Copenhagen have failed to secure visas on the ground that the new passports had not been approved by the various Countries.

According to the Ministry, samples of the new passport were sent to the Danish embassy in January 2019 and the process of entering the new Ugandan East African Community passport in their system is still ongoing.

“The Ministry wishes, therefore, to appeal to the public to be patient as the immigration authorities of the foreign Governments update their systems,” The statement reads.

All passport holders have a deadline of January 15, 2021, to have renewed their passport and received the Ugandan East African Community passport.

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