The Harare Passport Office Experience

The Harare Passport Office Experience

To be frank, the Registrar-General’s Makombe building passport office experience was a ‘bitch’! Hoards of people, queues that at first didn’t make sense, civil servants full of attitude, soaring summer time temperatures, irritable applicants and the list goes on.

When I first went over there to check what the price of a new passport was, it did not make much sense at all to me as to where to start off with the application process. There were queues and groups of people all over the place. One to pay for the application form and application fee, another to get this checked on the form after you have filled it out, another to get that checked on the form after you have gotten ‘this’ checked and another to submit the application after this and that has been checked. After that, depending on what type of application you put in, you return in 1, 3 or 14 days to collect you brand spanking new Zimbabwean Passport or ETD which you hope is not fake (we will get into that in another post).

One thing that you should expect though is to not get you passport in the 1, 3 or 14 days. I have personally come across people who have put in applications for 24 hour passports at the start of one week and when they have gone back the next day to pick it up, they have been told to return the following week.

It is not fun to be lining up outside at the height of summer to get your hands on an application form. You would think that it would be a bit more bearable once you get into the building but that is not the case. In the corridors you will find queues or people lining up to get into various rooms. There is no ventilation and it can be almost impossible to pass through various sections unless you literally push people out of your way in order to get through. All of that leads to tempers flaring with a few words being exchanged and on a couple of occasion fists being exchanged so you best be careful what you do and say.

If you do not want to be driven completely insane, the best thing to do is to something that ever since way back when has always been done, get a hold of someone who works in the office and ask them to assist you. Their assistance will see you jump queues (maybe not all of them) and avoid the stress of pushing and shoving with people all day long to get the application through. For some it can be a very stressful experience and if you pay the office a visit, do not be surprised if you find someone in tears and not knowing what to do.

It is extremely irritating for some to go through the hassles of trying to get a passport given that if you are a Citizen of Zimbabwe you have every right to have a passport and the process of getting one should not be as complicated and stressful as it is. Some put it down to not only beaurocracy but to the civil servants working in these and other government departments seeing themselves as being in a position of power where they can and may very well make life hell unless they are compensated accordingly. Who is to blame for this corruption and exploitation? Is the government, the civil servants or has society just taken up that frame of mind?

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27 Responses to The Harare Passport Office Experience

  1. Taz August 4, 2010 at 8:58 am #

    My Passport expired and I lost my ID a few years ago here in the UK. How do I obtain my Zimbabwe National identification card while in the UK?

    • LivingZim August 4, 2010 at 9:29 am #

      I am not sure if it is possible to get an ID card when not in Zimbabwe . The best people to get in touch with would be the High Commission there in the UK. They may be able to assist you as you have your expired passport as a form of identification.

    • sarudzaI November 21, 2012 at 10:06 am #

      hi,,yu can ask yur relatives in zim to try and get it from KG6 something like that Iits in Harare. Its were they keep the records of all ids for every in zim. i applied mine before i came to the uk but my photo was lost the one i had taken when i had the id taken so they cant print it on the metal for me because the photo isnt there so so annoying its thier fault and my metal one was never prented which just made it a dead end. so am going to have to go to zim. And they dont need bribe any body,,because its allowed my parents went there and they actually saw some people being helped things are changing in zim.

  2. muzz December 4, 2010 at 12:06 am #

    My finding is that about comfortable and cheapest travel to Harare [Zimbabwe] for cheap flights from London, it have comparatively low prices for all major airlines;

  3. Sipho January 4, 2011 at 7:26 pm #

    Im in New Zealand and i lost my zim ID then also lost my Zim passport. I have since managed to get a new ID without having to go back home. Now Im finding it harder to acquire a new passport without the hastle of going back. Can you assist me on how to get through the red tape legally?

    • Tapiwa February 4, 2011 at 9:11 am #

      Hi Sipho,

      I am a Zimbabwean living in the UK. I lost my ID but I have to renew my passport. Can you please email me how I can go about gettting a Zim ID, preferably without having to go to Zim.

      • ZimBella August 7, 2011 at 2:18 am #

        sorry chipo You have to go to Zim!

  4. ZimChick81 January 8, 2011 at 9:17 am #

    Everyone is o blame for that mess! I went through it 2 years ago and I’m not sure how I kept my cool. Its all so unecessary, no stream lined process and jus a waste of everyones’s time. The government and civil servants do what ever they see fit and we mumble profanities under our breath instead of speaking up. Again, another reason we are where we are today. Afraid to speak up, we just go with the flow and in return get treated that this.
    It’s disgusting!

  5. ZimBella August 7, 2011 at 2:15 am #

    I couldnĀ“t get my Zim passport here bcoz of the same reasons as everyone else this and that so I got an ETD from the embassy and I was able to travel to Zim where I could get my Passport. The horor started at the airport in Harare upon arrival. My ETD, I was told was invalid and that it was fake. I was detained for almost 2 hours but was eventually released. The dude wanted a BRIBE but he got NADA from me. There was no case! I was told to write a letter bla bla bla bla and I refused said I was willing to call the embassy. I even had their names. I was eventually released….

    I knew after the incident the first thing I had to do was to fix was the passport had to do it b4 the christmas holidays and so forth. Well that was a hastle I can tell you. Police station file police report, angry and extremely rude people ie public service workers who did not smile or at least give you proper instructions. AWFUL … I hope someone teaches them to change their manner of being they are so rude. Vetting and then the application. I tell you a passport application is only for those with money. They require so much money for every single step. It cost me a total of approx 450 usd.

    I also thought of complaining but then I just wanted my passport and knew that if I start complaining I wouldnot get my passport. If I do not get it wont be able to travel back to work and so forth Its a serious dilemna.

    I am now british citizen have seen no need of having a Zim passport its just an expense and hastle.

    Glad I have my passport now just hope its not fake

  6. musaita August 7, 2011 at 10:40 am #

    all those people in the queues might have been proud revolutionaries by now had tsvangirai not lost the torch somewhere along the way. no wonder why, standing, pushing and shoving in those queues, they still just’mumble profanities’ under their breaths and remain afraid to speak up. all those years of a GNU have done little to free their voices and to alter the attitudes of their civil servants. time is flying, as they wine and dine, and who knows what the leaders of that aborted revolution are offered at the lavish tables of power.

    • musaita August 7, 2011 at 11:01 am #

      had not checked date on this article be4 i posted comment above. I hope by now the chaos is gone. surely.

      • Mandy April 16, 2013 at 3:51 am #

        March 2013: Just come from Zim to process my passport. Even if you have the old birth certificate, you now need to pay for a ‘computerised’ one which will delay your application by 2 days. Then I foolishly thought that I would have my passport in 3 days when actually it’s 7-8 working days. This would have meant having to buy a new ticket to fly back to the UK. After paying $170 extra, I got my passport. Spoilt my holiday as I had planned to travel and see other parts of Zim but spent everyday at Makombe trying to get my passport. Although it’s more expensive, going with your passport forms already verified from the UK embassy ‘speeds’ up the process. Be prepared for rudeness, lack of customer service skills and apologise even if you think you are right and be humble. Even the cleaner in the toilets has oral liberties that will shock you.

  7. richard October 6, 2011 at 1:45 am #

    I am living in canada and my passport expied and I wanted to renew it I was told to renew my citizenship since my father is from zambia is there anywhere I can fix this without going to zim

  8. denzel mkhwanazi January 29, 2012 at 11:22 am #

    I need a birth certificate,id,passport urgemtly l leave in south africa

  9. Terrence blessing gamundani March 21, 2012 at 12:38 am #

    I applied for a passport in zimbabwe,so need to confirm if its issued yet…im in south africa

  10. Darren August 22, 2012 at 7:15 pm #

    Hi there. I am a British citizen living in Zimbabwe, the whole process of where to go and What to do to get my alien id is a little cloudy. Is there anyone who could tell me exactly where to go and What i need to sort it out.thanks Darren

  11. Memory September 21, 2012 at 7:15 pm #

    I just want to know if my passport is out i apply on the 17th September

  12. jen November 30, 2012 at 10:00 pm #

    long queques,irritable employees,narrow corridors,poor ventllation,no regard for the aged they also stand in line with the young and vibrant desperate to be served this needs to be resolved

  13. Knowledge January 31, 2013 at 3:22 am #

    Im zimbabwen living in south africe i just went to now if is possible to send my ditels to passport offices coz i want possport.

  14. Fortunate March 30, 2013 at 3:44 am #

    My passport is expiring in July 2013,Is it possible for me to renew the passport a monrh earlier like in June 2013.

  15. Zimbo April 1, 2013 at 10:05 pm #

    Yes Fortunate you can renew it up to a year before expiry! So you can do it now, wish I’d done that, am a Zimbo in Zim applied for a new ordinary passport on 22 Feb hope it will be out before I travel out of Zim in two weeks. Anyone know about topping up etc and whether that helps.

    • Nero May 1, 2013 at 5:57 pm #

      Yes u cn top up! For a 3dys passport u hv to top up $200 more and for a 24hr passport u hv to topup $265, that is if u had inintially applied an ordinary passport of $53

  16. winston April 1, 2014 at 2:20 am #

    I need an unmarried certificate? What is e proccess and what do I need? ID?

  17. M Sithole October 29, 2014 at 11:33 pm #

    Hi am M sithole my ID no is xxxxxx. I lost my passport the old one i took 2000 was expired 2010 bt now i hav another one i need to renew my pemmit, they need old passport number can pliz sand me the old passport number. M Sithole. Thank you.

  18. tsitsi May 12, 2015 at 2:44 am #

    Makadini mese,ndiri mu uk,ndoda kubvunzawo,ndisati ndauyakuno,passport ,I.D and birth zvakaitwa endorsement.ndatenda,ndekupi kwandingabetserwe kuti ndiwane ma I.Ds angu back.

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