Rwanda extends passport phase out

Wednesday May 26 2021

The new Rwanda electronic passports. Rwanda has extended the deadline for phasing out old passports. PHOTO | MIGRATION RWANDA

By Ange Iliza

Rwanda on Tuesday extended the deadline for phasing out old passports by one year.

The country is phasing out the old passports, and replacing them with the biometric East African e-passports. 

The phase-out of Rwandan passports has been pushed from June 27, 2021 to June 27, 2022, according to a communique issued by the Rwanda Directorate General of Immigration and Emigration.

Around 100,000 passports were going to expire in the next one month. 

The announcement comes as many Rwandans abroad have been unable to travel back home to acquire new passports due to Covid-19 travel restrictions. 

The Machine Readable Passports will be replaced by the new East African e-Passports that have been in use since June 2019. Users of the old passports were given a two-year grace period to replace them with the East African e-passports.  


The move to phase out Rwandan passports was in line with the country's commitment to promote regional integration with EAC partner states from June 2019. The decision to adopt a new generation of passports and phase out old ones was reached by the EAC heads of state in March 2016 in Arusha, Tanzania. 

The e-passport grants its holders access to more countries without stringent visa requirements. They also feature enhanced security features that minimise risks of forgery and identity theft.

The East African e-Passport can be applied for via the government's online portal, Irembo, or through respective Rwandan embassies by citizens in the diaspora.