31 January 2018

Tanzania Rolls Out Electronic Passports

Photo: East African Legislative Assembly
Member states and and East African Legislative Assembly flags.

Tanzania has rolled out the new electronic East African Community passports to replace the existing national documents, set to be phased out by January 2020.

The launch on Wednesday was witnessed by President John Magufuli who said the e-passport would bring lasting solution to a number of challenges associated with immigration services in the country.

The e-passport is embedded with a machine readable computer chip which contains the holder's biometric information on a tamper-proof page, and has been touted as a major step in curbing fraud and easing clearance at international airports where e-readers are installed.

Tanzania becomes the second EAC member country to roll out the e-passports after Kenya which launched the documents in September last year, 17 years after discussions to develop the Community document began.

The 35th EAC Council of Ministers meeting in last April directed member states to start issuing the regional e-passport by January 2018.

The new technology to print the e-passport in Tanzania was installed by US-based HID company with support from the government of Ireland and cost about $58 million.

"The implementation started in September 2017, with a view to have the first phase accomplished in January 2018," said the Commissioner General of Immigration (CGI) Dr Anna Makalala.

The new travel document will cost Tsh150,000 ($67.5) and will be valid for 10 years.

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