Uganda Upgrades from Paper to Polycarbonate Based Passports

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The Ministry of Internal Affairs, through the Directorate of Citizenship and immigration control has announced an upgrade of the East African Community E-Passport to Polycarbonate.

In a statement released by the Permanent Secretary, Internal Affairs, Lt Gen Joseph Musanyufu dated 29th March 2023, the upgraded polycarbonate passports is not a replacement, but simply an upgrade that will have enhanced security features, and requires no extra charge. 

“We have completed an upgrade to polycarbonate E-Passport. The aim of the upgrade is to ensure enhanced security features, durable as well as conforming to requirements as recommended by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and EAC,” part of the statement read.

He added that this would imply better quality, easy data verification at various airports by ICAO member states, better data protection and minimal chances of damage.

“Both will continue in operation. The paper based E-Passport will continue in use until expiry or when leaflets run out. The upgraded polycarbonate E-Passport just like paper-based E-Passport have an electromagnetic chip, but the polycarbonate passports have polycarbonate which are tough plastic layers infused together leading to a finished material where personal data is engraved inside the deeper layers of the document with laser,” statement further indicated.

The upgrade has for now been done on only ordinary E-Passports with official and diplomatic E-Passports still paper-based.

Musanyufu revealed that the cost for the polycarbonate passport has not changed with the ordinary E-Passports still going for Shs 250,000 while processing an express Passport attracts a fee of Shs. 150,000 to make it Shs400,000.

Official and diplomatic passports cost Shs 400,000 and Shs 500,000 respectively for specific identified categories of Government Officials.

“Ordinary passports take between 7-14 working days to be ready, while express Passports take 3-5 working days,” the statement added.

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