Prior to the serious passport backlog of 2017-2022, all you needed to do to apply for a passport was visit your nearest district administration centre. Most centres would allow you to apply for a passport even though they didn’t produce them. They would forward applications to Harare. That changed during the passport crisis with only a few centres being allowed to process the so-called “emergency” passport for US$315. Things got worse with the e-passport which is set to replace the old passports.

It is only available if one applies from Harare. Those from other provinces who want the passport will have to make the journey to the Makombe building in Harare where the ordinary e-passport is going for a whopping US$100 plus a US$20 application fee. The passport then comes out in one week which means if you have no place to stay in Harare for the duration of this period you will have to make the journey back to Harare again.

This has already led to complaints and the government seems to be working to rectify that issue. According to the Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage plans are afoot to decentralise the passport processing process to other provinces.

The Bulawayo Registrar-General’s Office is already being equipped with systems capable of processing e-passport applications.

As you are aware we have a partner we have contracted to issue the e-passport, we want to expedite the process so that everyone is not left behind.

MInister Kazembe

Still many issues to solve

If you think it’s hard to apply for a passport whilst living outside Harare spare some thought for those in the Diaspora. Again they have no way to apply for the passport with most embassies not yet taking applications for these. Those wishing to make applications are being advised to actually make their own arrangements with relatives back home. This is again not ideal. No doubt the government will also rectify this issue soon enough.