By Owen Mandovha
AN Express Passport Issuing Office has been opened at the Registrar General’s Office in Harare, with the process of applying and collecting a passport being done in just 48 hours using an online booking system.
The process has been modelled in such a way that individuals can complete an application form and collect their passport within just 48 hours.
The icing on the cake is the fact that applicants can use an online booking system to reduce congestion at the passport offices.
This ZBC News crew had an opportunity to tour the express centre after it opened its doors to the public this Monday to appreciate how it operates.
“When the E-passports were launched last year it was made clear that they will be two categories of applications. The one with a 7 day turn around which we started with and now we have introduced the Express Centre that issues passports in 48 hours from the time of applications. Applicants use an online booking system to avoid congestion which had characterised these offices. What it means is that they are now two ways of applying for a passport which is the one which takes 7 days and this one which takes 48 hours,” said Mr Terence Mutemerarwa, Manager, Express Passport Office.
The centre also caters for the elderly, persons with disabilities and those who need emergency passports.
To further decongest the passport offices, the Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Ministry has approved other banking sites in Harare for application fee payments.
Passport offices are also set to be decentralised to other towns and cities starting with Chitungwiza, which is now operational, followed by Bulawayo Offices which will be opened by the end of the week.
Focus will then shift to Zimbabweans in countries like South Africa, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States of America as Zimbabwe becomes one of the first African countries to adopt the modern e-passport.