Kigali to upgrade to e-passport from next year

Monday April 10 2017
kigali airport

The Kigali International Airport. Rwanda plans to issue the electronic passports from January next year. PHOTO|FILE

Rwanda is set to revamp its passport to include additional security features and symbols promoting the country's tourism sector as well as its culture. The move is in line with an East African Community directive for countries to upgrade to a regional e-passport.

The new passport will have an electronic chip, biometric features and hidden security pictures.

"The current passport features the national emblem and flag. The new document will retain these old features and add others approved by Cabinet such as the Mountain Gorilla and the Kigali Convention Centre," said the director-general of the Directorate of Immigration and Emigration Anaclet Kalibata.

He added: "It will also feature traditional Intore dancers and traditional art known as imigongo."

The 35th EAC Council of Ministers which convened on Tuesday April 4, directed partner states to begin issuing the EA e-passport from January 31, 2018.

Initially, countries were supposed to roll it out from January 2017 but they have lagged behind. Burundi had said it would issue the EA e-Passport from April 2017. Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda said they would do so not later than April this year, while Tanzania said it would issue the document from January 1, 2018.


According to Mr Kalibata, Rwanda now hopes to issue the electronic passports from January next year.

The international travel document will have diplomatic, service and ordinary categories and will be valid for up to 10 years.

Among the reasons the EAC is launching the electronic passports are to step up the war against terrorism and keep abreast with technological advancements globally.