The Internal Affairs Ministry has announced an upgrade from paper-based biodata based electronic passports to polycarbonate ones.
The Director Citizenship and Immigration Control, Maj Gen Apollo Kasiita Gowa told journalists on Thursday that the polycarbonate e-passports will have enhanced security features.
“We have completed an upgrade to polycarbonate e-passports. The aim of the upgrade is to ensure enhanced security features, durability as well as conforming to requirements as recommended by the International Civil Aviation Organization(ICAO) and EAC,” Maj Gen Gowa said.
“This implies better quality, easy data verification at various airports by ICAO member states, better data protection and minimal chances of damage.”
The Citizenship and Immigration Control Director in the Ministry of Internal Affairs explained that both the paper-based and polycarbonate electronic passports will continue to be used but noted that the former will gradually be phased out.
“Both will continue in operation. The paper-based e-passports will continue in use until expiry or when leaflets run out. The upgraded polycarbonate e-passports just like paper-based e-passports 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.”
According to the Internal Affairs Ministry, the new features give the new polycarbonate passports an edge of data protection and anti-fraud features which make it desirable and easy for use at electronic gates for self-clearance at airports for automated issuance of boarding passes for passengers and full compliance with international security standards and requirement.
The ministry officials noted that the upgrade to polycarbonate has for now been done on only ordinary e-passports with official and diplomatic e-passports still paper-based.
According to officials, the cost for the polycarbonate passport has not changed with the ordinary electronic e-passport still going for shs250,000 and for those who wish to process express documents will add shs150,000 to make it shs400,000.
On the other side, an official passport costs shs400,000 and a diplomatic travel document costs shs500,000.