The difficulties Nigerians face when applying for international passport might be coming to an end with the plan by the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) to launch Automation of Passport application from January 8, 2024.
This was made known in Abuja on Monday, January 1, 2024 by Nigeria’s minister of interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, while inspecting the preparedness of the NIS to launch the automated passport application solution.
When launched, the new system will reduce human contact when applying for the Nigerian passports. Applicants of the Nigerian passport will now be able to fill in their information online as well as upload all required documents online without any human contact.
Under the new procedure, you will only need to visit a Nigeria Immigration Service office to capture your biometrics (i.e. fingerprints). This is expected to reduce the stress Nigerians face at immigration offices.
“We are starting the training and on January 8, the solution will be live and direct for Nigerians to have a good feel, a sweet experience based on the Renewed Hope of Mr President”.
The minister said.
The minister emphasized.
“This not only simplifies the experience for citizens but also enhances security by enabling swift detection of fraudulent applications and reducing potential bottlenecks.”
He also announced that the service now has document verification officers across all local government areas in Nigeria to verify passport applications nationwide.
This will greatly reduce stress in acquiring passports in Nigeria as it will streamline the process. Having a lot of the procedures performed online will reduce the paperwork and protocols in the office, which should hopefully reduce the time spent on each application.
This will reduce bottlenecks and queues at the NIS offices which usually leads to corruption.
While this is commendable, the fact that the passport application is not fully automated can still present some challenge.
Currently, you can pay online and apply physically at an NIS office. However, Immigration officers prefer users who pay for their passport application offline ignoring those that pay online.
With the new passport application procedure coming live soon, it is not clear what checks have been put in place to ensure that passports are produced on first come first served basis. If that is not done, it will be hard to see how the new procedure will make things better for applicants since it still requires them to go to a physical office for fingerprinting.