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COW TO INTRODUCE INTRSTATE TRAVEL PASSES



Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda will from Tuesday July 15 start using interstate passes for travel under the Coalition of the Willing (CoW) measures meant to expedite integration.
The certificates of identity will phase out the use of coupons as travel documents for movement within the EAC and will be issued by local immigration authorities.

Interstate passes were previously issued to citizens for emergency travel for which a passport could not be issued, with the coupons acting as visas because national identity cards have no provision for immigration stamps.
Early this year, the three governments launched the use of national identity cards, student and voter cards as travel documents.
During their sixth Northern Corridor Integration Projects Summit held in Kigali recently, the three heads of state, Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya and Paul Kagame of Rwanda directed that in order to ensure the efficient use of national IDs as travel documents between the three partners, the heads of immigration should ensure implementation of the procedure manual on the use of ID or Voters’/Student Cards. Uganda and Kenya were directed to customize the Personal Identification Secure Comparison and Evaluation System to read the IDs by September 1. Only Rwanda uses the machine readable and electronic national identity cards.
In the EAC, only Rwanda and Kenya issue national identity cards. Uganda and Tanzania are in the process of issuing their national identity cards as an EAC requirement.
The three countries have agreed to use machine readable and electronic ID as travel documents for nationals who wish to travel across the three countries.
The Common Market Protocol provides for the use of machine – readable national IDs for travel within the EASC, but only for citizens of partner states that have accepted their use.
East African citizens will not need a passport or visa to travel to the three member states.