The Zimbabwe government announced Monday that it now charges citizens living in the Diaspora in U.S. dollars for production of passports as it is currently battling to clear a huge passport backlog due to foreign currency shortages.
It said the backlog currently stands at 359,288 as at August this year.
The forex shortages are constraining the Department of Civil Registry to import the required consumables such as ink, films, ribbon and passport paper.
The situation has also been compounded by the low passport fees. The department charges all its clients in local currency yet some of the consumables are imported.
“As a way of assisting the Department to attend to requirements for passports by citizens in the Diaspora, government has therefore authorized the department to charge 318 U.S. dollars for passports in respect of those in the Diaspora. The applications will be prioritized on urgent basis,” Home Affairs Minister Kazembe Kazembe said in a statement.
Government recently said it is considering an upward review of passport fees to levels that will enable the Department to raise foreign currency required to procure production materials.
It currently costs 53 Zimbabwe dollars to get an ordinary passport, which under normal circumstances takes at least three months to process, 253 dollars for one that comes out after three days and 380 dollars for one which comes out in 24 hours. Xinhua