There are around 110 000 Zimbabweans living in the UK according to a 2013 report from the Office of National Statistics, and it’s likely that many will need to renew their Zimbabwean passports. If that’s you, keep reading! Although you need to get your passport issued in Zimbabwe, you can do the majority of the paperwork from the UK at the Zimbabwean Embassy in London. You will need a family member or agent to act as your representative to submit your documents for you in Zimbabwe.
If you’re renewing your Zimbabwe passport from the UK, here’s a step-by-step guide of what’s involved – without the need to hire an agency to do it for you. I’d like to give a massive disclaimer that I do not in any way purport to be a consular official and I cannot take any responsibility for actions taken based on the information in the guide below. However, I have tried to make this guide as helpful as possible and it is based on real-life experience.
Address and contact details: The physical address of the Embassy in London is 429 The Strand, London WC2R 0JR and the phone number is 020 7836 7755. At the time of writing they were open from 09h00 to 12h30 Monday to Friday. (In Zimbabwe, the phone number of the Registrar General is +263-4-790708/9.)
Website: The official website for the Embassy of Zimbabwe to Britain and Ireland is here: www.zimlondon.gov.zw (although it is not always reliable). Navigate to the menu named “Consular” and “Requirements for passport application”. Please use the information from the Embassy in the first instance, because procedures may change from time to time. There is also a contact form on the Zimbabwe London Embassy page here so that you can email them directly if you wish.
A guide to renewing your Zimbabwe passport from the UK (June 2015)
1. Gather the correct documentation
Check the Embassy of Zimbabwe to Britain and Ireland website for the requirements. At the time of writing, the required items were as follows:
- Original and a photocopy of birth certificate
- Original and photocopy of ID
- Old passport and photocopy of the biodata page plus the page showing your right to live in the UK
- £65 payable via cash or postal order
Note that you need photographs also – but it is best to get the photographs taken by a specific photo shop which is near the embassy (see below).
2. Get your passport photos
The requirements for Zimbabwean passport photos are very strict – you must wear only black clothing, the background must be pure white, no jewellery must be worn, and ears must be completely visible.
You could try and ensure all these things are correct yourself, but if there’s something wrong, it’s likely that the embassy will ask you to get the photos re-taken at the photo shop near the embassy. It’s probably easier just to go to the photo shop in the first instance.
The photo shop is extremely close to the Zimbabwean embassy and it is called The ID Photo Shop. You can get the photos done on the day of going to the Embassy, because the photos are printed instantly. The photo shop website is here and they are experienced in taking photos for Zimbabwean requirements. There is a map and directions on their website too. They are located beneath ground level, down the stairs next to the Paperchase shop on The Strand. The photos cost under £10.
3. Go to the Zimbabwean Embassy with your documents
You’ll need to go to the Zimbabwean Embassy in London, with your originals, photocopies, money and photos. Also take a black pen and some coins for the photocopier machine just in case.
Zimbabwe House is located at 429 The Strand, WC2R 0JR. It is a great central location, very easy walking distance from Charing Cross Station or Embankment Station.
Check the Embassy of Zimbabwe to Britain and Ireland website for opening times. At the time of writing they were open from 09h00 to 12h30 Monday to Friday.
The entrance is to the left of the main door – walk around the building for a few paces to the side door. It will probably look closed, but if you push it, it will open! The office isn’t usually too busy and there shouldn’t be a long queue.
4. Process your documents with the Embassy
Show your originals and photocopies to the official at the Embassy. They may ask you to photocopy something that may have been overlooked – there is a coin-operated photocopier in the Embassy for you to do this.
You will be given a P34 form and a Passport form to complete in black pen. You must complete your personal details such as height, eye colour and hair colour.
Once they are happy with those completed forms, you pay the £65 fee and they will officially stamp your forms. You will also have your fingerprints taken at the Embassy.
You leave the Embassy with all of your originals and photocopies, plus the two forms that have been stamped by the official.
5. Write two affidavits for your representative
In order for someone to submit your passport application in Zimbabwe, and for them to collect the new passport, you need to write a letter authorising them to do these things.
You need two letters – one to authorise submission of the passport forms, and one to authorise collection of the passport forms.
I’ve created a template affidavit for you at the bottom of this page. Paste the text into a document, print it twice, and complete the relevant parts of the form so that there is one letter for submission and one for collection. Fill out the name and details of your representative in Zimbabwe who’s going to handle the application for you.
6. Send your documentation to Zimbabwe for submission
Send all the originals, photocopies, photos and affidavits to your representative in Zimbabwe. You could courier the documents via FedEx or another company.
7. Your representative submits the documents in Zimbabwe
Your representative takes the documentation to the passport office in Zimbabwe and uses the submission affidavit to submit your forms. There is a different queue for applications from overseas which will hopefully be shorter than the local queue. Your representative will need to pay a fee of around US $50 for the new passport to be issued (there are more expensive options available for faster turnaround; standard is 6 weeks). A receipt will be given.
8. Your representative collects the new passport
If you’ve opted for the standard turnaround time, then after 6 weeks, your representative will collect the new passport from the passport office in Zimbabwe. To collect the passport, they will present the collection affidavit that you had supplied, plus the receipt that was provided when submitting the application.
I hope this guide helps relieve some of the stress of renewing your Zimbabwe passport!
Appendix: Sample text to use in the affidavit (See Point 5 above)
RE: PASSPORT APPLICATION AFFIDAVIT
To whom it may concern
This is to confirm that I …………………………………………………. (applicant’s name), ID number …………………………. (applicant’s ID),
hereby authorise my representative ……………………………………………. (representative’s name), ID/Passport number …………………………. (representative’s ID),
to SUBMIT / COLLECT (delete as appropriate) my passport and necessary documentation to / from the Registrar General’s Office on my behalf.