24 June 2019

Namibia: Home Affairs Out of Passports - Again

Photo: The Namibian
Namibia passport

FRUSTRATED Namibians waiting for passports will have to wait longer as the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration has run out of blank green passports.

The ministry is issuing 'brown passports', which are issued as an alternative, and are fully compliant with normal international standards. But some countries, especially in Europe, refuse to recognise them.

The Namibian has also come across a tweet last week which read: "Namibia, this non-passport book situation is bad, real bad Michael Jackson. They have gone from saying July to saying September. What is the truth? South Africa doesnt accept emergency travel docs fam".

As a result, it was impossible for some Namibians who had travel plans to visit these countries.

Another applicant, who refused to be identified, said she applied to renew her passport which has expired last month, but has not been able to get a satisfactory answer.

"If you call, you get different stories. One says the books are here, next day another says cancel your trips, only in August. (It is) frustrating," she stressed.

However, applicants, especially those travelling abroad for medical or other critical issues, are considered favourably.

The Namibian was not able to establish the backlog the ministry is currently dealing with, although citizens who have approached the newspaper said it dates back to March.

Director of immigration in the ministry, Nehemia Nghishekwa, yesterday confirmed the shortage, but quickly added that the ministry is not in a position to give an answer as they are working on a media statement, which will be issued this week.

"We are issuing for critical or emergency travel," he stated. He told The Namibian that he is not aware of anyone who has not been able to travel as a result of the documents they have issued as they are handling each case as it comes.

The ministry last month announced that it is experiencing a low stock of passport books, and appealed to citizens to acquire passports only when absolutely necessary.

At the time, home affairs minister Frans Kapofi advised citizens to only apply for a passport when it is needed, as some come back "for renewal or replacement, but have never been [stamped] out of the country."

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