Effective January next year, the government, through the Directorate General of Immigration and Emigration, will commence to issue a new temporary travel document, the Machine Readable Laissez Passer (MRLP).
The new document will contain security features and other relevant requirements in accordance with the standards and quality of International Civil Aviation Authority (ICAO).
According to an official from the Directorate of Immigration, the document that is akin to a national passport, replaces the ones in use for secure movement of people and proper record keeping.
The MRLP will be in the form of a booklet containing 32 pages instead of the current four-page folder with a validity of two years rather than one year.
“Our aim is to improve the quality of services to the people. The new document will be scanned at the borders unlike the current one that is in the form of a paper,” said Ange Sebutege, the Communications Officer at the directorate.
The document enables travel within regional countries, including all member states of the East African Community, and other countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Southern Sudan.
He said that it would help travellers to spend lesser time at borders as it would only require to be scanned unlike the previous one.
He disclosed that the new document would cost Rfw10,000 for adults and Rfw 5,000 for children under 16 years. The previous document cost Rfw3,000.
A Rwandan entrepreneur, Edwin Kamanzi, welcomed the new provisional travel document adding that it would especially facilitate the business community travelling to other regional countries.
“People have been suffering, especially by going to the immigration to renew their laissez passer annually. But if the new one will last two years, we shall benefit,” Kamanzi said.
The new travel document will be introduced to complement the existing ones such as passport, collective laissez-passer that is issued to people travelling as a group mainly for social activities, emergency travel documents issued to both Rwandans and foreigners in emergency situations, and the border pass issued to border communities in order to facilitate cross-border activities.
Other travel documents issued by the Directorate of Immigration is the Economic Community for the Great Lakes Region (CEPGL) travel document issued to Rwandans and foreigners residing in Rwanda while travelling within member states and the refugee travel document issued to refugees.
CEPGL consists of Rwanda, DRC and Burundi.