5 February 2018

Tanzania: State Calms Anxiety Tied to New Passport System

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

CONVENTIONAL passport holders still have enough time to acquire their new East African e-passport before the phasing out of the documents in January, 2020.

The clarification has been made by the Immigration Department Spokesperson, Superintendent of Police (SP) Ally Mtanda. He was speaking to the 'Daily News' in an exclusive interview, against the backdrop of widespread concerns amongst members of the public, following the launch, by President John Magufuli

"The applicant will need to go to the Immigration website on the passport services, fill in forms and will be provided with a control number, after paying an initial 20,000/- fee. Thereafter, after getting print-outs, one would pop into immigration offices for subsequent procedures." recently, of a new passport.

SP Mtanda asked holders of the old passports not to panic but await official notifications on when the process of replacing them would begin. "We are currently dealing with new applicants and those who submitted applications before the launching of the new passports occurred... as for those whose passports are still valid, they should continue using them," SP Mtanda said.

He further explained that the services are offered at the immigration headquarters and branch offices in Zanzibar, pointing out that they would be extended to the regions in due course. SP Mtanda further explained that the e-passport was part of a broader'e-based' service, one of whose features was e-visa, which foreigners would enable foreigners acquire residents permits electronically. He added that activities at the country's borders would also be monitored and managed electronically once the system became fully operational.

"New applicants will be required to pay 150,000/- and one of the conditions for acquiring the passport would be proof of Tanzanian citizenship, via the National Identity Card, as a safeguard against fraud," he said. Mr Mtanda said the department had already introduced e-passport online application forms, to smoothen the process for Tanzanians resident abroad. "

The applicant will need to go to the Immigration website on the passport services, fill in forms and will be provided with a control number, after paying an initial 20,000/- fee. Thereafter, after getting print-outs, one would pop into immigration offices for subsequent procedures." The official furthermore explained that, thereafter, the applicant would pay 130,000/- and have one's fingerprints taken.

He noted issuance of new passports was in compliance with a directive by East African Community Heads of State. Tanzania becomes the third country in the region to issue the new documents after Burundi. The spokesperson said beefing up security and sealing loopholes for crooks to obtain passports easily would be among the major advantages of the new documents.

The e-Passport will have a chip that holds the same information that is printed on the document's data page, the holder's name, date of birth, and other biographic information. It will also contain a bio-metric identifier and have a digital photograph of the holder and security features to prevent unauthorised reading or "scanning" of data stored.

Among other important factors, he said, would be inclusion of more pages, to make it easier for nationals who lose their passports while abroad to get immediate assistance from Tanzanian embassies or consulates there.

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