East African Community passports to be upgraded


The issue of new passports for citizens of the East African Community has been temporarily suspended to allow new state-of-the-art features to be incorporated in the next edition. Presently, the passports are not machine readable nor carry biometric data in inserted computer chips, and in order to make them more widely acceptable, these new additions must first be sorted out.

The passports were popular in Uganda and Kenya, where travelers only needed to have their passports stamped once in every six months if moving across the national borders to one of the EAC member states, but allegations have also emerged that immigration officials at land borders and airports just ignored these rules and kept stamping them anyway like national passports. Burundi and Rwanda had, after joining the EAC last year, not yet implemented the issue of these travel documents.

The EAC passports were also not commonly accepted beyond the region, having many regular travelers carry both national and EAC passports, a situation the secretariat of the East African Community in Arusha also promised to address in time for the start of issuing the next generation EAC passports. Meanwhile, citizens of the five member states will use their own national passports for travel across the region.