Rwanda on Friday, January 29, became the 75th country to join the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Public Key Directory (PKD), a move that is expected to drive faster the implementation of the country’s electronic passport project. It is now more than a year and a half since the country began issuing e-passports also known as East Africa e-passport. The new document, among others, contains an electronic chip bearing a biometric (biological data) identifier, which allows fast and effective verification of the holder. Following the adoption of electronic passports, former ones were given a two-year grace period, meaning that they will no longer be in use effective June 28, 2021. Today 29th January 2021, Rwandan high commissioner in Canada and country representative to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), Prosper HIGIRO presented Rwanda digital certificate of e-Passport, in an official ceremony at the ICAO Headquarters in Montreal. pic.twitter.com/bOtuYFpLL0 — Immigration | Rwanda (@Rwandamigration) January 29, 2021 According to the Directorate of Immigration and Emigration, joining ICAO PKD is of great significance. “Successful joining of ICAO PKD is a key milestone in the process of issuing and validating e-passport across the globe, and is indeed a mark of the final stage of e-passport project implementation,” the institution said in a statement. Defending the move, the institution said that the ICAO PKD will ensure quick and smooth clearance of holders of Rwandan e-passports across the globe. “The security and facilitation benefits of Rwandan e-passports can only be realized if the data that is written to the integrated circuit chip can be read and trusted,” the Directorate highlighted. “For the border control of a receiving state to authenticate the e-passport of foreign visitor they must have certain information from the issuing state. The ICAO PKD provides an efficient means for a state to upload their own information and download that of other states,” it added. According to the Directorate, by playing the role of central broker of this information, ICAO PKD ensures that information adheres to the technical standards required, maintains interoperability, and paves way for timely exchange of data between given countries. Currently, e-passports are applied for via the government service delivery portal Irembo, and receive their document in less than four days, after submitting all necessary details. The fee levied upon applicants is dependent on the category. The categories include ordinary passport for minors valid for two years (Rwf25,000), ordinary 5-year passport with 50 pages (Rwf75,000), ordinary 10-year passport with 66 pages (Rwf100,000), service passport with 5-year validity (Rwf15,000) and diplomatic passport (Rwf50,000).