The Ministry of Internal Affairs has suspended the issuance of passports for two days to enable a major system upgrade.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, 18 January 2023, the ministry said the suspension will take place on Thursday and Friday, after which the issuance of the passport books will resume on Monday next week.
This upgrade will affect all passport services; applications, scheduling appointments, enrolment (interviews), printing and collection.
“All our offices in Kampala at the Ministry Headquarters, Kyambogo, Mbarara, Mbale, Gulu; and diaspora offices in Washington, London, Ottawa, Copenhagen, Pretoria and Abu Dhabi will be shut down,” the ministry announced.
“Passport applicants will not be able to access our online services at http://passports.go.ug or schedule appointments for these two days. Enrolment and collection of passports will also not be possible,” it added.
Upon completion of the upgrade and maintenance works, applicants who had already scheduled appointments on Thursday, 19th January and Friday, 20th January 2023 will be served alongside those already scheduled on Monday,23rd and Tuesday, 24th January 2023.
“Once the upgrade of the system is complete, the Ministry promises a much more efficient system with improved services to the users. Those meant to collect passports on those particular days will also be able to pick them after. We apologise for the inconveniences caused,” they added.
This is not the first time the ministry is conducting an upgrade on passport issuance.
In May 2022, the passport office halved production of passports so as to enable a system upgrade that was aimed at curbing forgery.
Mr Simon Mundeyi, the ministry spokesperson, said the upgrade would “include an Automatic Finger Integrated System (AFIS),” that he said will stop passport duplication.
This left a number of Ugandans stranded, with many who were applying for express passports that ordinarily come out after at most four days, having to wait for more than a month to get their documents.
However, the full issuance of passports resumed a month a later.
In an attempt to cut off the middlemen and endemic corruption, the government phased out the manual processing of the passports and adopted a digital system. Authorities at Immigration Directorate hoped to ease crowds, distressing long queues, and unscrupulous brokers.
But this has not been the case, with many people still suffering frustration to get the books.
Under normal situation, passport processing takes between two to six weeks, however, for express window, you can receive your passport within three to four days. But this process is not normally followed.