Last Updated: Friday, 26 August 2016, 07:47 GMT

Uganda: Identity documents carried by Ugandan citizens; whether or not birth certificates are routinely issued

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Ottawa
Publication Date 16 February 2007
Citation / Document Symbol UGA102198.E
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Uganda: Identity documents carried by Ugandan citizens; whether or not birth certificates are routinely issued, 16 February 2007, UGA102198.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/469cd6b417.html [accessed 26 August 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

During a 9 January 2007 telephone interview, an official at the Ugandan High Commission in Ottawa indicated that documents routinely carried and used for identification purposes by Ugandan citizens include an identity card from the person's place of work if he or she is working; a driving permit if the person is driving; and "graduated tax tickets." The Official noted that graduated tax tickets bear the name of the holder and the location in which he or she lives and pays the graduated tax (Uganda 9 Jan. 2007). A March 2006 report by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) and the Refugee Law Project (RLP), "an autonomous project within the Faculty of Law of Makerere University in Uganda, with the aim of protecting and promoting refugees' rights" (RLP n.d.), indicates that Uganda recently abolished the graduated tax (IDMC/RLP Mar. 2006, 19). According to the report, graduated tax, which was a major source of revenue for local governments in Uganda, was imposed on all men and employed women in the country (ibid.). No further information on graduated tax or graduated tax tickets could be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

As for birth certificates, the Official at the Ugandan High Commission in Ottawa said they they are not routinely carried or used for identification purposes by Ugandan citizens (Uganda 9 Jan. 2007). Families generally keep birth certificates "for years" until the documents are requested by a university or school for enrolment purposes (ibid.). Birth certificates are routinely issued to children born in hospitals (ibid.). A person can replace a lost birth certificate by contacting the hospital at which he or she was born, which will provide the documentation required by the Registrar of Births and Deaths to issue a new birth certificate (ibid.). The Registrar of Births and Deaths does not issue birth certificates if there is no hospital record (ibid.). However, the United States (US) Department of State Reciprocity Schedule indicates that for births that are not registered, "Ugandan citizens can obtain certificates from sub-county chiefs by swearing an oath before these officials" (US 26 Mar. 2003).

Like birth certificates, passports are also not routinely carried by Ugandan citizens although they are used for travel (Uganda 9 Jan. 2007). Documents required to obtain a passport include a birth certificate; a letter from the local chief saying that the applicant has no criminal background and is a resident of a certain area; and a completed application form signed by the local chief and three administrative officers (ibid.). If a person does not have a birth certificate, the local chief can certify his or her identity (ibid.).

The Official at the Ugandan High Commission in Ottawa and 2006 news sources indicate that Uganda does not have a national identity card (ibid.; The East African 7 Nov. 2006; The New Times 22 Oct. 2006). One news source in 2006 reports that, although the government of Uganda had planned to develop national identity cards, it suspended the "multi-million dollar" project (New Vision 3 Feb. 2006; ibid. 6 Sept. 2006). Information on when or whether the project would proceed could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.

References

The East African [Nairobi]. 7 November 2006. Joachim Buwembo. "AAGM: Support Danish Art, Sell Your Soul for a Piglet and a Sheep." (Factiva)

Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) / Refugee Law Project (RLP). March 2006. Lucy Hovil and Moss C. Okello. "Only Peace Can Restore the Confidence of the Displaced." Update on the Implementation of the Recommendations Made by the UN Secretary-General's Representative on Internally Displaced Persons Following His Visit to Uganda. (Refugee Law Project Web site) [Accessed 10 Jan. 2007]

The New Times [Kigali]. 22 October 2006. Omar D. Kalinge-Nnyago. "East African Federation: On Fast Track or Fatal Track?" (AllAfrica/Factiva)

New Vision [Kampala]. 6 September 2006. "Increase Scope of National ID Card." (AllAfrica/Factiva)
_____ . 3 February 2006. "Why Multiple Cards?" (AllAfrica/Factiva)

Refugee Law Project (RLP). N.d. "About the Refugee Law Project." [Accessed 10 Jan. 2007]

Uganda. 9 January 2007. High Commission for the Republic of Uganda, Ottawa. Telephone interview with an official.

United States (US). 26 March 2003. Department of State. "Reciprocity Schedule: Uganda." [Accessed 9 Jan. 2007]

Additional Sources Consulted

Internet sites, including: AllAfrica, British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), European Country of Origin Information Network (ecoi.net), Factiva, Keesing Reference Systems, Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN), High Commission for the Republic of Uganda in Canada.

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at http://www.irb-cisr.gc.ca/en/. Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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