Getting a Zimbabwean Passport and ID
There are a few things that are dreaded in the life of a Zimbo. These are getting an ID getting a passport and getting a drivers license. Anything that involves a trip to any government office is an interesting experience and often involves a lot a long day of queuing, pressure (people pushing and shoving in an uncontrolled manner) and just wahala(trouble) as the Nigerians would call it. Having gone through similar processes in several countries, I know that it is not only Zimbabwe where we have such inefficiency that is just really appalling. Most of the time, arriving early will save you a lot of hassle, being at the back of the queue is never a good idea, be cause the line always creates a bottleneck at the front as the ‘clever people’ always know how to jump the line.
As usual it always helps to have friends in high places. I personally think there is too much rot in Zimbabwe and people need to get paid to do their job. In all fairness, the processes have improved tremendously. I took both an Id and a passport over the Easter holidays. Needless to say that I went for a week with very little sleep and daily trips to the offices.
In Harare, you should arrive at Makombe building as early as possible. Some people sleep there, so you want to get there as early as possible. I used to Harare office for the passport, but you all start of in the same line then they separate you into your different lines just before you go inside.
Now the interesting thing is that you should not go to the gate by Makombe. The line is at the corner of Harare Street and Samorah Machel, there will be people there so you will not miss it. If you go to the gate, you will waste time while the lines grows, and the line grows very fast. When I arrived here, I was very worried because I was wondering how we were all going to walk from the corner of Samora to the Passport office. My answer came at 6am, when the riot squad in all its glory arrived,as if we were about to have a riot. But in all honesty, that walk from Samora to the office was as good as a hondo yechimurenga (the liberation struggle), because once someone said lets go, there was going to be some serious pressure, running and disorder as the clever people tried to get ahead.The policement stood and patrolled the line and we walked in a very civilised manner to the next stop, the gate.
Getting an Id
Initial registration for citizen
Original registration for citizen
• Father’s or guardian’s identity card.
• Passport if acquired.
• Synthetic ID is instant (within 15 minutes of application).
• Green copy ID waiting 3 days
I was changing my name, so the process was quite hectic. I didn’t have a few of these documents, so I had to go a few times, before I had the whole lot.
- Make sure you do not have any braids or weave in your hair. I had to take mine off and have a funky afro on my ID. You will need to remove these before they take the ID picture.
- Your ID
- Birth certificate- Original
- Your marriage certificate- Original
- Husbands ID- Original
- Changing name by marriage is free of charge.
- Other name changes come with a fee. Take some cash with you
- Photocopies of all the above
- Keep a black pen handy just incase you will need to write anything. These sell for good money at the offices.
Note that these requirements depend on the office that you visit and the person serving you. I took my first Id with plaits in my hair, but years later, they made me remove a weave. The process will normally take a few hours. Once you are in the line and have all the required documents, you are all set and the officials will take it from there.
Getting a passport
“The Registrar General wishes to inform citizens of Zimbabwe that renewal of passports can be done six months to a year prior to the expiry date as it is a requirement by most countries that a passport be valid for at least six months for various reasons.
Citizens in the above category are therefore, encouraged to visit their nearest provincial offices countrywide to make and submit applications for passports to avoid inconveniencing themselves.” Department of registry website
Getting a passport is a big deal, it is hectic to say the least. I had to go to the regional office, Mutare first to be told I needed to go to Harare. All in all it took me two days, but I did it withot any favours and without paying anyone. I wish people would just learn to wait in queues and resist the urge to pay someone, that would just reduce so much graft that is in our society. People couldn’t belief that I waited in the queues and got the passport that easily. If it hadn’t been for going to Mutare, it would have taken me a few hours to get the passport. On the morning I went to Harare, I was finished by eleven. It acutally took me less than an hour from the time I paid for the form and submitted. I should be set for the next ten years.
The queue is the same as the ID line, the process is the same, until they separate you to go to different offices. There is queue for local people applying for passports and there is another queue for those who are from outside. The reason is that they give the people from outside a form to fill in. They also submit their forms to a different office, I am not sure whether the processing times are different. The costs are the same though. As with the ID, the earlier you get there the better it is.
I understand that a maximum of 2000 passports are being processed everyday, so the process is quite efficient, event though it is cumbersome. The hardest part of this process is paying the forms. The forms are available on the website for download and can also be downloaded here. This will simplify the process a great deal. Once again, civil servants have been known to do what they want so I do not know if the downloaded forms actually work. It is worth a try all the same.
COST OF OBTAINING A PASSPORT
- Ordinary passport – US$50.
- Executive passport (1 day) – US$315.
- Urgent passport (3 working days) – US$250.
- Temporary Travel Document – US$35.
- Passport Application forms (P1 form) – US$3.
- Ordinary passport old type – US$50.
- Search fee – US$5.
- Temporary Travel Document Form – US$3.
Once you are placed into the appropriate lines, the officers will tak over and direct you as required.
- Old Passport
- Birth Certificate
- National ID
- Marriage Certificate (If changing name)
- Two color photographs (size 3.5 x 4.5cm). for new passports, photos are taken inside, but it is safer to go with your own just in case. Be careful about the photos taken outside as they fade with time and you might need to reapply for another passport when the photos fade.
- Citizenship certificate (for citizen by registration).
- Old passport/ Temporary Travel Document if any.
- For lost or stolen passport attach the police report.
- Photocopies of all the above
Those with Work-permits or Permanent Residence in foreign countries
If you are not resident in Zimbabwean have a work permit in your passport, you cannot apply for a passport in the regional offices, you will need to go the Harare. You will go to Room 308, where they will deal with all diaspora application. For these application, there is no real need to go to the line in the morning, you can get served at room 308 as long as you arrive while the cashiers office is open. I went in the morning, to be sure I finished in one day. You never know what can go wrong, so I have myself some allowance, just in-case I needed to pick something else.
If you are submitting an application form for someone outside of Zimbabwe who applied at the embassy, you will need to go to room 308.
• The father/mother or other legal guardian of children under 18 years must sign section 5 of the passport application form. Legal guardian’s “Documentary proof “ should be in a form of court order from the High Court or community in the case of divorced parents.
- The process is a lot more involving. It involves getting an affidavit at the police station and then getting the police to sign your passport forms.
- Take note that loss of a passport should be immediately reported to the nearest police and passport office.
Click the following links for passport information outside Zimbabwe
Dual Citizenship in Zimbabwe