“There has been lack of resources to install the machines at foreign missions and that is why we have centralised the application for e-passports” Jacob Siminyu said.
KAMPALA - The internal affairs ministry will roll out the new passport application system at Uganda's foreign missions in November this year.
The ministry will start with seven missions, namely, London (UK), Pretoria (RSA), Beijing (China), Washington DC (US), New Delhi (India), Paris (France) and Abu Dhabi (UAE).
"There has been lack of resources to install the machines at foreign missions and that is why we have centralised the application for e-passports at the headquarters in Kampala.
But we will soon roll out the new passport application system to the embassies," Jacob Siminyu, the spokesperson of the Directorate of Citizenship and Immigration Control, told New Vision in an exclusive interview.
Meanwhile, the Directorate of Citizenship and Immigration Control has created a special desk in the passport office to fast-track applications from the diaspora.
Simiyu said any Ugandan living abroad who wants to have their passport renewed without waiting for the backlog at the embassies, should send their passport through a courier with a letter from the embassy confirming that the applicant is living in that country.
He was responding to complaints by a group of Ugandans living abroad regarding delayed renewal of passports.
Patrick Mugoya, the foreign affairs permanent secretary, said his office had advised the internal affairs ministry to priotise the handling of the backlog caused by the recent booklet stock-outs.
"We are aware of the recent backlog, but it is being sorted out by the Directorate of Citizenship and Immigration Control.
Initially, the missions were able to issue passports. However, the embassies have no machines to process the new type," Mugoya explained.
At the moment, Ugandans in the diaspora that have expired passports are advised to go through that normal process to have their documents renewed.
In a document released by a group of Ugandans in the diaspora, they expressed fear of losing jobs because of failure to renew their work permits due to lack of valid passports.
It was reported that some students risk being discontinued from some education institutions for lack of student visas and valid passports.
The new procedure Siminyu said Ugandans living abroad whose passports have expired are advised to download and fill passport application Form G from Directorate of Citizenship and Immigration Control the Directorate of Citizenship and Immigration Control website.
They should attach two passport-size photos, a copy of the old passport (biodata page and page 45) and submit their applications through the nearest Ugandan mission abroad.
The Ugandan mission then attaches a letter confirming that the applicant is a Ugandan living in that country.
The embassy will send the application to Kampala for processing of the new e-passport through the foreign affairs ministry and new passport is sent back through the same channel.
The e-passport costs sh250,000 for the ordinary passport, whose processing takes two weeks.
Applicants who do need their passports urgently are required to pay an additional fee of sh150,000 for express processing.