The Registrar’s Office has confirmed to iHarare News, Diasporans are eligible for the emergency passport application. Concerns over passport expiry for the Diasporas amid Zimbabwe’s passport processing failure has been a stressing situation.
Zimbabwe has millions of residents outside of Zimbabwe’s borders who were either born in the country or are descended from immigrants. These have remitted over $1.6 billion yearly which accounted for more than 10% of Zimbabwe’s gross domestic product. Tragedy had been to those whose passports were to expire, hence fear for being deported, losing jobs and businesses all in the name of “un-renewable” if not hard-to-get passports in Zimbabwe.
Officially, the government has not yet addressed this for the diasporans.
Earlier this year the Registrar General’s Office had announced a massive backlog in passport production owing to a critical shortage of foreign currency to acquire paper and ink, among other consumables. This translated to a shocking 60 passport a day production. Of late the Home Affairs Minister, Cain Mathema confirmed relief from the government that saw the process managed up to 800 a day.
The introduction of emergency passport processing by the RG office a month ago and the procedures around attaining one were not clear. As a result, tens of thousands of desperate Zimbabweans crowded the passport offices in the early mornings (03:00am) of the 12th of October hoping to secure the now priceless document. Most of these people were ultimately unsuccessful and had to endure a long thankless day at the offices. It turns out that most people went to the passport offices after being wrongly informed that their passports would be guaranteed if they topped up $318 before the 15th of October.
After a series of unsuccessful search for the process and reliable information the general population can get with regards to the emergency passport application, especially for the Diasporas, the passport office has confirmed the following;
Information from the passport office has confirmed that an ordinary passport costs ZW$53 Zimbabwe dollars, while ZW$318 is required for an emergency 24-hour document.
Steps that can be carried out by those to renew passports include an application for an ordinary passport from the relevant consulate office in Diasporas’ country of residence. Application papers can then be sent to a person who signed an agent or is brought in person for the application of an ordinary passport.
A receipt is given upon the successful submission of the application. This, together with an application letter confirming your status as a Diasporan, and/or confirmation of passport expiry, proof of employment and any other supporting document legitimizes you for the application of an emergency passport that can be gotten in 24hrs. However, after the submission of these, the RG office vets which amongst the application can get the passport processed. After this, the applicant or person given the power of attorney (person to apply on someone’s behalf) is given a call by the Registrar’s office to resume the process in the application for an emergency passport and a ZW$318 fee is required in this process. After this process, the applicant is amongst the very few to get this priceless paper!