GOVERNMENT has extended working hours at the Civil Registry Department in the passport section with immediate effect.
Long queues were witnessed at passport offices as Zimbabweans sought to avoid forking out more money come January 2024.
This comes after Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube in his 2024 National Budget proposed an increase in passport fees to US$200, up from US$120 for the ordinary passport making it the most expensive in the region.
He also proposed that the emergency passport be reviewed from US$200 to US$300 with effect from 1 January 2024.
To cope with the pressure, the passport offices in all provinces will now operate from 0700hrs to 1900 hours between Monday and Friday and from 0800hrs to 1500hrs on Saturdays.
“This is in response to an increase in the number of clients visiting our passport offices. The festive season is the busiest period for the department.
“With industry and schools closed, and returning citizens from the diaspora taking advantage of their visit to have their documents processed, the department witnesses an influx of clients visiting its passport offices.
“Moreover, the recent announcement by the government in relation to the proposed increase of passport fees with effect from 01 January 2024 has also contributed to clients rushing to apply for passports before the deadline.
“In this regard, the department is extending its operating hours to facilitate efficient e-passport services in response to the high demand” reads a statement from the civil registry department Tuesday.
There is a significant demand for passports, driven by the desperation of many Zimbabweans to leave the country in search of employment opportunities elsewhere.