You don’t need passport to travel all over East Africa

Wednesday February 19 2014

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President Kenyatta on Wednesday exited Kenya and entered Uganda using his national identity card as a demonstration that East Africans do not require a passport or visa to travel to the regional states.

The Kenya Airways plane carrying President Kenyatta and his entourage left Jomo Kenyatta International Airport shortly before 5pm.

This was meant to promote the movement of people and goods within the East African Community states without a passport or visa.

Many Kenyans, Burundians, Rwandans, Tanzanians and Ugandans are unaware that they do not require visas to travel to each others’ countries.

Although East Africans can use national passports to travel in the region, those without can use their national IDs.

The East African Passport may be used for travel within the community only. It has a six-months multiple entry validity, which is one of the privileges it accords the holder.

Certificates of identity or inter-state passes are issued by local immigration authorities to citizens who cannot be readily issued with a passport in emergency situations to travel across East Africa in place of a passport.

The common market protocol provides for the use of a machine readable national Identity Card for travel within the East African region, but only for citizens of those partner states which have accepted among themselves the use of such.

East African Community, Commerce and Tourism Cabinet Secretary Phylis Kandie said the introduction of a single visa for East Africans will help ease movement of goods and services across borders.