Rwanda begins issuing East Africa e-Passport

By Ivan R. Mugisha for The East African

Rwanda on Friday rolled out the East African Community (EAC) electronic passport in an effort to boost faster border clearance as well as part of a wider regional strategy to enhance integration.

Rwanda now joins other EAC states—Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania—that have already issued the electronic passport to their citizens.

The move follows a directive by EAC heads of state in March 2016 to adopt the new generation passports and phase out national documents.

“The launch of the new East Africa electronic passport fulfils the vision set by the EAC heads of state and is in compliance with specifications for the security, design and issuance of machine-readable travel documents by the International Civil Aviation Organization,” François-Régis Gatarayiha, the Director General of Emigration and Immigration told journalists.

The new e-passport replaces the existing national document set to be phased out by June 2021.

According to immigration officials, the e-passport is more secure as it features a microchip making it tamper-proof.

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