The Zimbabwe e-Passport is an Electronic Passport that was launched on 14 December 2021 by Emmerson Mnangagwa as part of efforts to safeguard immigration security.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is An Electronic Passport (e-passport)?

  • An e-passport is a conventional passport that has a chip implanted in one of its pages. The chip contains data or information essential in verifying the identity of the passport. The information in the chip includes the personal data found on the data page of the passport, the biometrics (physical characteristics that can be used to identify individuals, such as a photograph) of the passport holder, the unique chip identification number, and a digital signature. The e-passport also enhances border protection and security for countries.


How Much Is The e-passport

  • For an ordinary new e-passport, one has to pay US$100. CBZ Bank was handed a monopoly of payments for application fees.
  • For an emergency or express e-passport, one will be required to pay US$200.
  • In Statutory Instrument 3 of 2023 gazetted on 7 January 2022, Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Minister, Kazembe Kazembe revised fees for the e-passport scrapping the US$20 application fee that was to be collected by CBZ bank.[1]

Who Is Making The Passports?

  • Zimbabwe's Government and Garsu Pasaulis (GP) as the implementing partner for the e-passport and production of other vital civil registration documents.[2]


Will Traditional Passports Still Be Valid?

  • According to a statement by the Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage all valid traditional passports remain in use. However, Statutory Instrument 273 of 2021 "The current type of passports, issued before the date of operation of these regulations, will cease to be acceptable internationally by 31st December 2023, and will therefore need to be replaced by e-passports in terms of these regulations."

Where Can I Apply For An e-Passport?

  • The Government is yet to announce how citizens can apply for the e-passport. President Mnangagwa was expected to launch the electronic passport on Tuesday (today).

Reaction

Letter By Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR)wrote a letter to Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Minister Kazembe Kazembe telling him that his decision to make the traditional passport non-operational and non-functional by 31 December 2023 was grossly unreasonable as many citizens had obtained or renewed their passports and had parted with hefty sums of money in paying the prescribed passport fees.

ZLHR told him that it was grossly unreasonable and unfair to impose an obligation on traditional passport holders to apply for an e-passport by December 2023 even when their passports still had many years running before their expiration date. The lawyers also said the decision was a violation of the right to administrative conduct which was substantially fair and reasonable and hence is a breach of Section 68 of the Constitution.

ZLHR also asked Kazembe to furnish them with the procedures and criteria used to designate CBZ Bank as the entity to be processing e-passports. The lawyers stated that in terms of Section 35(3) of the Constitution, it is the State’s primary obligation to provide citizens with passports and other identity documents. The lawyers requested this information in the interest of public accountability & transparency. Kazembe was given a 48 –hour ultimatum to respond to the issues of concern that were raised in the letter written by Muda Shoko and Tinashe of ZLHR.[3]

References

  1. Home Affairs Minister Kazembe Revise e-Passport Fees, Pindula News, Published: January 7, 2022, Retrieved: January 7, 2022
  2. New passport launch set for today, The Herald, Published: December 14, 2021, Retrieved: December 14, 2021
  3. [phttps://twitter.com/ZLHRLawyers/status/1471421303844450304?t=6aD0emSbvJKFotZ4Z9K4HQ&s=08 ZLHR], Twitter, Published: December 16, 2021, Retrieved: December 17, 2021