Uganda Is Set To Add Iris Biometrics into National IDs for Increased Security and Verification

Uganda is set to add Iris biometrics into national IDs for increased security and verification. This is coming as the government prepares for a mass enrollment exercise to effectively register or renew close to 30 million expiring identity cards of Ugandans.

Uganda to Add Iris Biometrics into National IDs

The national IDs as you should know would also serve as a travel document within the East African region. You should also know that these new IDs in question will be valid for ten years, and the enrollment exercise on the other hand is also expected to kick off on June 1, 2024, and will reportedly run until January 2025.

Uganda to Add Iris Biometrics into National IDs

In June 2023, law enforcement in Kampala apprehended a Kenyan woman on suspicion of forging and illegally obtaining a Ugandan national ID. This incident follows a previous report from 2018, where the Kampala Metropolitan Police detained ten individuals for alleged national ID forgery.

In response to such incidents, the introduction of iris biometric technology aims to enhance security and authentication measures. Additionally, the new national ID cards feature a detectable security element visible under UltraViolet (UV) light, making forgery and duplication more challenging.

Enrollment or Renewal for the New IDs is Available to Ugandans

Enrollment or renewal for the new IDs is available to Ugandans over 16 years who lack an ID or have not yet applied for one. Those with IDs expiring in 2024 or 2025 are eligible for renewal, while those with IDs expiring after 2025 are not required to renew.

The National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA) issued the initial batch of current IDs in 2014 and 2015, each with a 10-year expiration date. The new cards also carry a 10-year expiration period.

How to Facilitate Enrollment

To facilitate enrollment, NIRA is establishing mobile enrollment sites, and individuals with internet access can apply online before completing the process at a mobile site. Enrollment and renewal are free, with an option for express service at Shs50,000 ($12.9) for a 48-hour card delivery. However, concerns arise over potential delays due to NIRA’s incomplete readiness, including the absence of funds for staff recruitment and system procurement.

What the State Minister for Internal Affairs Thinks About This Development

State Minister for Internal Affairs Gen. David Muhoozi acknowledged the budget shortfall for staff recruitment but stated that training is ongoing in India for the new National Security Information System, with system procurement in progress. Despite questions regarding the 10-year renewal duration, the Minister cited security feature degradation over time and changes in individuals’ physical attributes as reasons for the renewal period.



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