Rwanda has rolled out the issuance of electronic passports in line with a 2016 East African Community directive that seeks to phase out the region’s old generation travel documents.
The move follows similar directives by Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, with the new electronic passports bearing more identification aspects compared to the old generation ones.
The Director General of rwanda’s Immigration and Emigration, François-Régis Gatarayiha, said the electronic passports have incorporated better security features, ruling out chances of forgery and identity theft.
The document has an electronic microchip that captures the holder’s biometric data making illegal duplication impossible.
The issuance of the e-passports begun on Friday, with holders of the current passport given a two-year grace period to acquire the new document.
Gatarayiha said the application for the e-passports would be done online via the government’s service delivery portal.
Applicants are expected to receive their e-passports within four days after submitting their requests.
Rwandans will have five types of passports to choose from including; ordinary passport for minors valid for two years, ordinary 5-year passport with 50 pages, ordinary 10-year passport with 66 pages, service passport with 5-year validity and diplomatic passport.
While Rwandan’s have two years to obtain the new passport, Kenyan holders of the country’s old generation passport have until August to acquire the new ones.