The Ministry of Internal Affair has decentralized passport enrolment services to regional centres to ease service delivery.
While addressing the media in Kampala on Monday morning, the Ministry of Internal Affairs Permanent Secretary Dr. Benon M. Mutambi said that on the 29th March 2021, Mbarara Regional Immigration Office operationalized the Passport enrolment system and its operations are being ramped up to ease the pressure at the Ministry headquarters. Mbale and Gulu will be operational by the end of May and June 2021 respectively.
Dr. Mutambi added that the Ministry is set to operationalize Kampala Regional Office which will be a Passport Collection Centre to ease the congestion problem currently being experienced at the Ministry Headquarters. The Ministry Headquarters will be preserved for only those seeking to be enrolled for issuance of Passports.
This follows an increase in the number of people seeking immigration services especially those looking to obtain passports. The increase in numbers has been blamed on the joblessness caused by the COVID-19 Pandemic which has forced companies to lay off staff, who have in turn turned to looking for jobs abroad.
The PS noted that the Ministry has re-instated full-scale operations by implementing a two (2) shift system at the Ministry Headquarters for the Passport section which runs from 07:00 Hrs to 19.00 Hrs each day of the week to deal with the increased numbers.
The Passport application portals and scheduler system has also been configured to avail the time slots on any given day of the week as mentioned above.
“We have increased our daily enrolment rates to match the 2100 applications received daily, and the entire production line leading to Passport issuance has been doubled to enable production and issuance of at least 2000 Passports daily; We also commit to our clients a service standard of 2 days for express applicants and not more than 4 days for normal applicants to receive their Passports from the date of enrolment” Dr. Mutambi added.
He revealed that together with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Gender, Labor and Social Development, they have met the Executive Committee of the External Labor Recruiting Agencies, to understand their operations and agreed on modalities to serve Ugandans better.
“In effect, the pandemic created a hangover for our services which led to an increase in demand for our Passport services. Due to job losses, many Ugandans are opting to take up employment services abroad and this has brought pressure on the service from 1000 Passports to 2100 Passports daily. Labor export resumed in December 2020 and to-date, the number of domestic workers cleared has been increasing” he added.
Procurement is also in progress to increase equipment infrastructure capacity that will match the projected demand rates especially as we near the new deadline of 4th April 2022 for the old Machine-Readable Passport that we communicated to the International Civil Aviation Organization, Dr. Mutambi said.
Deadline for using the old Machine-Readable Passports is 4th April 2022 and all people have been encouraged to replace their old Passports with the new international Electronic Passport. Applications are made strictly online at www.passports.go.ug.