The Ugandan Embassy in Ottawa, Canada, has launched a state-of-the-art e-passport system aimed at enhancing service delivery to Ugandan citizens and the diaspora. The new system promises to make passport issuance more efficient and convenient for Ugandans living in Canada and nearby regions.
Minister of the Presidency, Milly Babirye Babalanda, had the honor of launching the “go live” event for the e-passport system in Ottawa. In her social media post, she emphasized the government’s commitment to delivering effective and efficient services through institutions like the Directorate of Citizenship and Immigration Control (DCIC).
The launch event at the High Commission in Ottawa was attended by several dignitaries, including state minister Gen Minister David Muhoozi, Lt Gen Joseph Musanyufu, and Maj. Gen Apollo Kasiita Gowa, the Director for Citizenship and Immigration Control (DCIC). The host Ambassador, Joy Ruth Acheng, expressed her delight, stating that Ugandans in Canada would no longer need to return to Uganda to obtain passports.
Key Highlights of the E-Passport system:
- Convenience for Ugandans abroad: The new e-passport system will eliminate the need for Ugandans living in Canada and neighboring countries to travel back to Uganda for passport processing, saving time and resources.
- Successful phase one rollout: The handover of the e-passport system to the mission in Ottawa signifies the successful conclusion of phase one of the e-passport diaspora rollout.
- Addressing diaspora challenges: Minister Babalanda and her team visited Uganda’s mission in Washington DC to address the key challenges faced by Ugandans in the diaspora, particularly in the USA. One of the primary issues raised was the inconvenience and cost of traveling long distances to the Embassy for passport processing.
- Enhanced security and features: Last year, the Ministry of Internal Affairs upgraded the previous paper-based e-passports to Polycarbonate e-passports. These new passports come equipped with enhanced security features and durability in compliance with EAC and ICAO standards. They also contain an electromagnetic chip for added security.
- Unchanged passport costs: The cost of passports remains consistent, with an ordinary passport priced at sh250,000 and an express passport processing fee at sh150,000, totaling shs400,000. Official and diplomatic passports for specific categories of government officials cost sh400,000 and sh500,000, respectively.
- Faster processing times: Ordinary passports typically take between seven and 14 working days to be ready, while express passports are processed in just three to five working days, providing a more efficient service to applicants.
With enhanced security features and faster processing times, this initiative is expected to benefit the Ugandan community in Canada and beyond.