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Zimbabwe Introduces E-Gates for SADC E-Passport Holders to Streamline Border Entry

Zimbabwe Introduces Online Applications

Holders of Zimbabwean and SADC e-passports will soon be able to enter Zimbabwe through electronic gates without queuing or interacting with an immigration official. This measure aims to remove bottlenecks, reduce delays, and enhance the ease of doing business, legislators have been informed.

Immigration principal officer Mr. Oscar Chitsa stated that the Immigration Department is developing a border management system to serve Zimbabwean and SADC e-passport holders swiftly at e-gates. These gates will scan travel documents electronically, eliminating the long queues typically experienced at entry points like Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport and Beitbridge Border Post, especially during public holidays.

Mr. Chitsa provided this information while giving oral evidence before Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Industry and Commerce, which inquired about the Border Efficiency Management Committee’s efforts to improve the business environment at ports of entry. The committee, chaired by Buhera South MP Cde Ngoni Mudekunye, expressed concerns over delays faced by both cargo and passengers at certain entry and exit points.

“We are working on a new border management system, which we will launch this year to provide efficiency at points of entry,” Chitsa said. “We will introduce e-gates. I can confirm that Harare will have at least four of these. They will serve our nationals and SADC members with e-passports.”

He added, “The immigration counters we currently have will now serve foreigners from outside SADC and those without e-passports. Those holding new passports will no longer need to go through immigration officials, bringing efficiency to our borders.”

The rollout will begin at busy entry points such as Harare, Bulawayo, Victoria Falls, Beitbridge, and Chirundu.

Mr. Chitsa also mentioned the introduction of electronic visa applications, e-permits, and digitized records and information systems to minimize delays. “We have a visa system where everyone coming to Zimbabwe requiring visas will apply while still in their home country to avoid bottlenecks at the point of entry,” he explained.

“The e-visas will allow our visitors to apply for visas online before traveling. The system is already functioning. Additionally, to reduce paperwork that causes delays, we will introduce online forms to move away from paper-based processes.”

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