WINDHOEK - The Minister of Home Affairs and Immigration, Frans Kapofi said the new supply of passport booklets would be received before the end of the second quarter of the 2019-2020 financial year.
In the meantime, the ministry of home affairs is issuing travel documents which are commonly referred to as brown passports as it is currently experiencing a shortage of ordinary virgin passport booklets.
“It is important to note that this is only a temporary measure to last at least until 30 November 2019 when passports restocking and processing of the anticipated backlog are fully dealt with,” said Kapofi.
The ministry has been rationing the small available stock to cater for the most critical travel needs that have arisen.
“We therefore ask those who wish to plan for their travels to bear with us and put this into consideration. At the same time, the ministry wishes to sincerely apologise to everyone who may be negatively affected or inconvenienced by the situation. This unfortunate situation came about as a result of circumstances beyond our control,” stated Kapofi. The minister said they are aware that a few countries, mainly in the European Union under the Schengen visa arrangements, have expressed some concerns over the travel document mainly due to paragraph 4 of the explanatory text on page 24 of the travel document, where it states the following; ‘the document is valid for the period mentioned on page 23’.
Should the bearer take up residence in a country other than the Republic of Namibia, he/she must, if he/she wishes to travel again, apply to the competent authorities of the country for the new document. This clause does not affect Namibian citizens.
Kapofi however said this may affect refugees and stateless persons if they do not seek permission for residence in other countries other than Namibia where they may take up legal residence status.
“We therefore wish to request all countries to honour the travel document, as its holders are bona fide citizens or residents of Namibia,” stated the home affairs minister.
The minister said they are currently in consultations with SADC members states to go an extra mile in allowing Namibians to use emergency travel certificates (ETCs), and where the ETC is not accepted to allow holders of Namibian passports to enter their territories with a validity period of at least up to their last week (seven days) of their expiry.
He said Namibians would be informed once the arrangements have been agreed to with SADC member states.
Kapofi added that the virgin passports have been ordered from an overseas supplier last year. However, the process of finalising the sales contract and meeting the procurement process requirements have been delayed, which resulted in their stock at hand to run low.
2019-07-01 09:52:38 21 days ago