The government of Botswana has introduced a new and strict policy under its immigration laws aimed at curbing the escalating number of stolen passports, The Telegraph learnt this week. Under the new policy, if an individual loses his or her passport, he or she will have to wait for a period of 12 months to have it renewed.
Speaking in an interview on Monday, Minister of Labour and Home Affairs Edwin Batshu said: “If you lose your passport due to negligence you will have to stay for a year without renewing it. We came up with this new policy to ensure that people jealously guard against losing their valuable passports.”
Batshu also confirmed that the new policy is already in force, saying one of the reasons why the new policy was introduced was because Batswana were in the habit of selling their passports to foreigners.
“If you lose your passport due to negligence you have to stay for a year without renewing it. If there are some pressing reasons for you to have the twelve month suspension waivered you to have give convincing reasons for the ban to be waivered,” he said.
Batshu said in some cases immigration officials would require police report before renewing passports that had been stolen.
“For instance if the passport got burnt or damaged due to an inferno then you have to report to the police because immigration officials will require such information when you come to renew your passport,” he said.
Batshu said under the new policy immigration officials would not entertain stories relating to passports that are stolen or lost while travelling to other countries.
“For instance if you leave your passport in your vehicle when you are in South Africa and it gets stolen or if there is a break-in, or it gets stolen while you were sleeping, you won’t have it renewed because that amounts to negligence,” he said.
The Minister also said that those who have pressing issues and intend to renew their passports would have to advance convincing reasons and part away with a P1000 penalty fee.