Tanzania becomes third East African country to launch its E-passport

Tanzania has released a new electronic passport to control illegal migration, ensure national security, and effective revenue collection.

President John Magufuli stated that the e-passport would bring lasting solution to a number of challenges associated with immigration services in the country.

‘‘I am pleased with the changes. This is a job well done by the Immigration Department. You have my support,” the president re-affirmed.

With the digitization of the passport, it would no longer be easy to falsify as it will remain genuine, stand the test of time and it would contain much more information than the previous ones noted Tanzania Commissioner General of the Immigration Department, Dr. Anna Makakala.

In line with the East African Community (EAC) international travel document agreement, the e- passport would replace the existing national documents scheduled to phase out by January 2020.

As part of an ongoing integration agenda, the EAC which is made up of six-member countries, Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Burundi and South Sudan are all to phase out their national passports to embrace new electronic ones before January 2020.

The E-passport which is embedded with a machine-readable computer chip, 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.

The digital passports are expected to provide travellers with benefits such as using automated border clearance, automated issuance of boarding passes, and faster travel arrangements with all airports across the world where e-passport reader equipment is in use.

Among the 6-EAC-member countries, Tanzania is the 3rd to roll out the e-passports after Burundi and Kenya, which launched the documents in September last year, 17 years after discussions to develop the Community document began.

Implementation of the smart travel document in Tanzania was done in collaboration with the government of Ireland and the service provider the US based, HID Company at a cost of $57.82 million.

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