New Vision (Kampala)

Uganda: Ministry of Internal Affairs

Kampala — Reference is made to the DAILY MONITOR reports of 8th /3/08 and 9TH/3/08 in which the Directorate of Citizenship and Immigration was alleged to be in chaos and engaging improper

citizenship verification methods including body checks, recital of poems, demands for cattle horn descriptions etc, The reports further allege that the passport laws are unnecessarily tough and the verification methods are discriminatory against the Banyarwanda.

Internal administration

Regarding matters of internal administration, it is not true that the Directorate is in chaos or that divisions exist between the Ministers Vs the Permanent Secretary administration, or PS Vs the Board or Immigration administration.

The public is invited to note that the entire Ministry administration is working in close cooperation with the National Citizenship and Immigration Board and Top Immigration administration to

ensure a total positive transformation of the institution following its restructuring and elevation to a Directorate status.

The structures of the new Directorate are being progressively consolidated and strengthened.

As part of the ongoing restructuring process, a new Director has been appointed and the National Citizenship and Immigration Board established. So far, good progress has been made though more remains to be done.

Citizenship verification

It is not true as alleged that the Directorate employs inhuman, improper and discriminatory verification methods, in the process of issuing passports.

The Directorate takes this opportunity to inform the public of the legal requirement imposed by Regulation 8 of the passport regulations requiring every applicant for a Uganda passport to

appear in person at the time of lodging passports applications except under reasonable circumstances e.g. in the case of terminal illness. In such circumstances evidence must be furnished

to the passport issuing authorities. When an applicant appears, citizenship verification is conducted by way of interview of the applicant based on declarations made on forms A & B completed by the applicant.

Where the interview raises doubt in respect of the applicant's antecedents, the declarations on forms "A" & "B" are verified with the help of local authorities mentioned in the application or others as each case may warrant.

These verification methods are within the provisions of existing law.

The requirement to appear in person is a response to public and international outcry that Uganda passports were being issued to foreign nationals engaged in criminal, terrorist and drug trafficking  activities.

Regulation 8 is therefore timely in this regard.

The new processes have since enabled the Directorate to ensure that:

 Passports are issued to deserving applicants

 Foreign nationals do not access Uganda travel documents

 Elimination of queries and backlog since the process offers an opportunity for advising the applicant from the onset on how to complete the application and provide any missing documents.

 Those who are not citizens of Uganda and are desirous of acquiring our citizenship are advised on how to formally seek Uganda Citizenship and those who don't qualify for passports or Ugandan citizenship are duly advised on where and how to seek recourse.

 Redeeming integrity of the Uganda passport before our local populace and international community

Furthermore the office setup at the receiving / interviewing section does not permit the alleged body checks.

The receiving section is located in a long room hosting several immigration officers. The section is open to the public and has no private room as alleged. Members of the public sit across the

officer's desks and are able to see all activities in the room.

Nevertheless, the public is encouraged to report to the following authorities any misconduct on the part of immigration staff; the office of the Ministers, the office of the Permanent Secretary, the

Board, and the office of the Director.

In order to ease service delivery, the Directorate is managing upcountry passport centers and regional offices at the following locations; Masaka, Jinja, Mbarara, Tororo, Fort portal, Hoima

Masindi, Lira, Gulu, Arua, Mitiyana and Mubende.

Our continuing priority is to focus on immigration presence at the district level so that applicants are within reach of service delivery.

There is need to appreciate the effort of the Immigration Directorate as we move towards the acquisition of national identity cards. There is nothing improper about the methods used by

the organization because every country does everything possible to prevent the issuance of passports to persons who don't qualify.

In fact the current procedures have enabled government redeem public and international confidence in the integrity of the Uganda Passport.

Discrimination against the Banyarwanda It is not true that the Directorate discriminates against any Ugandan on basis of colour, tribe or body shape. The procedures for passport application and citizenship verification cut across the board and are applicable to all applicants.

The Banyarwanda are a recognized community in the 3rd Schedule of the Constitution made pursuant to Article 10a thereof.

However the tribe also constitutes a cross border community shared by Rwanda and Uganda,. It is therefore incumbent on the passport authorities to ensure that they issue Uganda passports

only to those who qualify under the laws of the country.

It is therefore not true that the Banyarwanda as a community of Uganda are being discriminated against.

The public should further note that the Directorate also offers advisory services on immigration matters and indeed many persons who don't qualify for Uganda passports have been advised

to seek passports from their countries of origin and/or Embassies in Kampala. As rightly pointed out by the Monitor Article of 8th/03/08, those applicants who have acted on immigration

advice have been granted passports by their countries.

It is further noted that the Daily Monitor Article of 8th/03/08 on this subject matter insinuated that the Honorable Prime Minister's directives on a passport matter were disobeyed. This

is not true; the directive was promptly responded to and the appropriate decision communicated to him accordingly.

The Directorate of Immigration takes this opportunity to remind the general public of the following procedure for application for Uganda Passports:

PROCEDURE FOR PASSPORT APPLICATION

STEP 1

An intending applicant should obtain passport application forms "A' and "B" from the passport application receiving office at the Directorate of Citizenship and immigration located at the Ministry

of Internal Affairs headquarters on plot 75, jinja road - Kampala or at the nearest upcountry station as hereafter listed.

The forms are issued free of charge and may be down loaded from the Immigration Website on www.immigration.co.ug

The application should be duly completed by the applicant and recommended under section 5 of form "A" by a recommender who shall be a Ugandan citizen of integrity, with personal knowledge

of the applicant,

PASSPORT APPLICATION SUPPORT DOCUMENTS:

1. Covering letter from:

 Employer in the case of employed applicants;

 School/institution in the case of students;

 Parents in case of minors;

 Ministry of Gender and Social Affairs + court orders in the case of adopted/fostered children;

 Uganda missions abroad, in the case of applicants resident abroad;

2. Identification documents e.g. identity cards, Birth certificates etc

3. Four (4) colored passport size photographs taken against white background.

4. Form "A" requiring bio - data details e.g. date of birth, sex, name, etc. and Form "B" requiring details of parentage and citizenship verification.

5. Proof of profession in the case of professionals.

STEP 2

Duly completed forms should be submitted in person by the applicant to the any passport center as mentioned above within reach of the applicant

Where the applicant is a minor, he/she should appear in the company of a parent or guardian.

STEP 3

Applicant should obtain a file number and Bank Payment Advice Forms (BPAF) within one week from the date of lodging the application.

STEP 4

The cost of a Uganda Passport is Uganda shillings 52,000/=

only including bank charges. All payments must be strictly made to the bank and URA bank returns should be deposited at the Immigration Cash Office.

STEP 5

Applicants should collect their passports in person after five (5) working days from the date of payment.

The Directorate has established a Customer Care Center at the Immigration Headquarters to cater for all customer information needs, complaints and/or concerns.

Any inquiries regarding immigration matters should therefore be directed to the said customer care center on telephone contact 0414-595945

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