Zimbabwe Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Minister Cain Mathema says Zimbabweans living outside the country will soon be able to renew their travel documents from their bases.
Addressing a press conference in Harare on Monday, Minister Mathema said citizens living in other countries no longer have to travel back home for essential documents such as birth certificates, national identification cards and passports.
“On a more permanent basis, we have agreed with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade that the Ministry should regularise the movement of the diplomatic bag to allow people in the diaspora to apply and pay for passports at the embassies near them,” Mathema said.
He added that a special unit in the Registrar General’s office has been activated to handle the applications.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade will then submit the applications through their Head office to the external section of the passport office under the Central Registry department. The passport office will then expeditiously process the applications within a period of approximately ten working days and send them back to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.”
Asked on the timeline for implementation Mathema said the process is being rolled out with immediate effect.
Zimbabwe faces a huge passport backlog running into hundreds of thousands, with some overseas residents, who return home to get their paperwork renewed, struggling to be served on time.