Africa-Press – Zimbabwe. Many people in Zimbabwe reportedly rushed to passport offices in Harare to secure travel documents before the increased fees take effect in January next year. Finance Minister, Prof Mthuli Ncube, announced in the 2024 national budget that passport fees would be raised from US$120 to US$200 prompting a surge of individuals seeking to obtain passports before the fee hike.
People in the queue outside the passport offices expressed concerns about the increased fees. They worried that the influx of applicants could make it more difficult for them to get their passports. Josephat who was in a queue that snaked from the entrance along Leopold Takawira into Herbert Chitepo Street, literally encircling the Makombe Building complex spoke to NewZiana:
I always wanted to obtain a passport for my personal reasons and businesses but with the 2024 national budget announcement that has hiked the fees for passports, many have turned up and I’m worried this influx might make it difficult for me to get the document.
Alice Mangena said she travelled from far away and wanted to avoid the additional expenses associated with the fee increase, such as bus fares. She said:
After I heard that there will be a fees hike (for) passports, I decided to rush to get a passport before 1st of January and because I come from a far away, it will be difficult to imagine coming to pay US$200 for a passport especially when taking into consideration the bus fare and other costs associated with travelling, so I decided to come and pay for the passport now,”
Zimbabweans rely on passports for various reasons, including cross-border trading and migration in search of better opportunities. The fee increase for ordinary passports is set to impact individuals who depend on these documents for their livelihood. The fees for emergency passports are also set to rise from US$200 to US$300 starting in January.