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E-Passport: Tanzanians in a rush to obtain travel document

New Tanzanian e-passport
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The number of Tanzanians applying for e-passports has drastically increased, as the deadline for use of old passports is this month. From 300 to 400 applications per day, the number has increased to an average of 1,200 applications per day.

The Commissioner-General of the Immigration Department, Dr Anna Makakala, has commented that Tanzanians, both within the country and those abroad, are responding positively in applying for E- passports.

Dr Makalala also explained that the old passports are no longer eligible for visa applications. She further explained that Tanzanians can only use the old passports to travel back to Tanzania during the remaining period.

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The application of the e-passport requires all applicant to be in possession of their national identity cards issued by the National Identification Authority (NIDA).

Dr Makakala also noted that the Department has since August, last year installed equipment for issuance of electronic passports at all Tanzania’s embassies abroad.

The new Tanzanian e-passport has won accolades globally for its security features, meaning that their holders can travel hassle free unlike previously with the shelved travel documents.

The issuance of the e-passport is part of a wider strategy by the regional bloc to boost integration among member states.

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Available data shows that nearly 50 African countries have issued e-passports to their citizens including Ghana, Gabon, Egypt, Morocco and Mauritius, among others.

About the E-passport

The 35th EAC Council of Ministers which convened on April 4, 2017, directed partner states to begin issuing EA e-passport from January 31, 2018, after which the EAC heads of state equally approved the decision.

The difference between the previous passport and the current e-passport is that the latter has a chip that stores the holder’s biometric information.

The new e-passport costs Tsh150,000. Also, in order to avoid the previous mistakes whereby passports were issued to non-citizens, the government decided that every applicant should start the process afresh and one must be in possession of national ID.

The passports are grouped in three categories namely diplomatic, service and ordinary passports and is valid for 10 years.

Among the reasons for the introduction of e-passports was to step up the war against terrorism and keep abreast with technological advancements globally.

The new document has more pages than the previous ones and with improved security features, thus it will be easier for Tanzanians who lose their passports while abroad to get immediate assistance from Tanzanian embassies.