Immigration Department in the Northern Region has been forced to start issuing provisional travel documents to clients applying for passports due to a shortage of passport books which has hit the office for three months.
Confirming the development in an interview on Monday, regional Immigration Department spokesperson Comet Jeremiah said the problem has existed for a long period because the booklets are printed outside the country.
“We do not have enough booklets to serve our clients that have applied for passports because government has a debt to settle with the suppliers as these booklets are printed outside the country for security reasons,” he said.
Nevertheless, Jeremiah advised clients to continue applying for passports, saying the department is issuing provisional travel documents in the absence of passports.
One concerned citizen, Cosmas Mwenetete, said has failed to travel overseas because he applied to renew his passport but it is not yet processed due to lack of passport books.
He said he cannot leave the country because he does not have proper documentation to enable him travel to his final destination.
“Instead, they [Immigration Department] have given me a travel document that is valid for only six months and can only be used up to Zimbabwe border only,” he lamented.