l am a Zimbabwean currently in South Africa. I lost my passport two years ago and l have tried to get a new one, but unfortunately I could not get one given the circumstances of the offices not having passport paper. I was wondering if I could apply for a Malawian one and use it for traveling, working and studying purposes. My question is will I be able to go home without them recognizing that I once possessed a Zimbabwean one? How does that work?

  • 34
    why do you think you're eligible for a Malawi passport? Nov 28, 2019 at 18:37
  • 13
    Are you a citizen of Malawi?
    – phoog
    Nov 28, 2019 at 23:45
  • 5
    The offices did not acquire passport paper in 2 YEARS!? And you lived in South Africa the whole time?
    – Chieron
    Nov 29, 2019 at 14:40
  • 3
    @Chieron Remember how messed up Zimbabwe is. They probably never ordered any because that would require paying for it. Nov 30, 2019 at 5:18

2 Answers 2


As a Zimbabwean citizen, you should apply for an Emergency Passport that allows for a one time trip back to your home country. Note that sometimes an exit visa may be needed by the host country (South Africa) or by any third country you may be travelling through.

Should this not be possible: the reason why the passport cannot be issued, in writing, should be given by the Zimbabwean Embassy or Consulate. It should also confirm your right to return to your home country.

With this letter, a Document for Travel Purposes can be applied for at the South African Department of Home Affairs.

This assumes that after the loss of your original passport, you have reported the loss to the South African authorities and have legalized your status there.

General passport conventions forsee these 2 methods to ensure that a citizen of one country can return to their home country, when stranded in another host country.

These conventions do not forsee that a 3rd country (Malawi) issue a Travel Document to travel between a host and home country.

Applying for Documents for Travel Purposes
Documents for travel purposes are issued to South African permanent residence permit holders who cannot obtain travel documents from their countries of origin. These documents are only valid for a period of 5 years.

To apply for a document for travel purposes, you must submit the following:

  • A duly completed passport application Form DHA-73
  • Written confirmation by your country of origin that the country cannot issue you with a passport, except in the case of refugees that have been granted permanent residence as a refugee.
  • If under 18 years, the prescribed consent by parents must be furnished. See requirements under Tourist passports for persons under 16
  • Your permanent residence permit and a copy thereof
  • Your original SA non-citizen identity document and a copy thereof
  • Two colour photographs that comply with the Passport and ID Photograph Specifications (NOT needed at smartcard offices as ID images are captured digitally)
  • Payment of the prescribed fee.

Emergency passport (also called temporary passport) – Issued to persons whose passports were lost or stolen without time to obtain a replacement, e.g. someone abroad and needing to fly home within a few days. These passports are intended for very short time durations, e.g. one way travel back to home country, and will naturally have much shorter validity periods than regular passports. Laissez-passer are also used for this purpose.

Laissez-passer – Issued by national governments or international organizations (such as the U.N.) as emergency passports, travel on humanitarian grounds, or for official travel.



If you want a passport from another country, that usually means becoming a citizen of that country. This is usually rather difficult, and in most cases getting a new passport from your old country will be much easier than getting a new citizenship.

  • 2
    According to the Department of Immigration, you can become a Malawi citizen if you are a resident of Malawi for more than 7 years, have adequate knowledge of English and one of the vernacular languages, are of good character, and financially solvent. That doesn't sound too hard, compared to many other countries. Nov 29, 2019 at 10:47
  • 2
    @JörgWMittag, not much different from Germany. Several years legal residency, speaking the local language, solid finances ...
    – o.m.
    Nov 29, 2019 at 14:54
  • @o.m. ... or France, 5 years residency, financially sound, some basic knowledge of French and this is pretty much all.
    – WoJ
    Nov 29, 2019 at 19:48
  • 2
    OK, everybody, it's not necessary to list the passport requirements of every country on Earth. Dec 1, 2019 at 11:37

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