Leonard Ncube, Victoria Falls Reporter
VISITORS and investors can now apply and pay online for travel visas to Zimbabwe and get them within 48 hours after the Immigration Department rolled out the E-Visa payment system.
Department of Immigration Principal Director Mr Clement Masango revealed this while addressing captains of industry and tourism players at the commissioning of Shearwater Explorers Village in Victoria Falls on Thursday.
Mr Masango said online visa payment started last week as the department gears up for a paperless visa facility.
He said the development, which has received an overwhelming response, is meant to improve travel facilitation and unlock the country’s potential in attracting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and complementing the Zimbabwe is open for business mantra envisioned by President Mnangagwa.
“From the inception of the New Dispensation, President Mnangagwa has made two calls – that Zimbabwe is open for business and that there is going to be change in the way we do things especially on the part of civil servants,” said Mr Masango.
He said as a regulator of immigration in the country, the department is critical in Government.
“We have rolled out an online visa application and payment system which allows visitors to apply and pay in advance thereby reducing delays on arrival. We rolled out the online payment system last week,” said Mr Masango.
He said the facility is handy especially for those from Group C countries who would previously have to go and apply at the embassies.
Mr Masango said they will also soon come up with a machine generated visa sticker.
“We intend to generate a machine generated sticker which will be quicker and reduce human error as well as save space in people’s passports.
“This is the first phase before we go paperless, a project we are planning for year-end,” he said.
Mr Masango said the facility is different from the Kaza Uni-Visa which was implemented by Zimbabwe and Zambia although plans were underway to embed the two facilities.
He said there were also plans to totally remove the visa facility, taking after the Sadc region which scrapped visas among its members.
Mr Masango said total abolition of visa regimes will encourage inflows into the country thereby boosting the economy.
International visitors pay $30 for a Zimbabwean visa and Mr Masango said plans were underway to remove the fees. — @ncubeleon