The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has stated that it is ready to begin automating the passport application process in order to alleviate the obstacles that Nigerians face while applying for passports.
This was revealed by Caroline Adepoju, the Acting Comptroller General of NIS, who appeared as a guest on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily program today.
The Service, she claims, is eager to eliminate physical interactions during the passport application procedure.
She said, “One thing Nigerians know about the Nigeria Immigration Service is the issuance of the Nigerian passport, and we know the number of Nigerians that have applied for passports in the past two years has been very high and unprecedented.
“But be that as it may, the service is working hard to ensure that we meet the expectations of Nigerians. Number one, we are automating our passport application process; we are trying to ensure that we cut out the human interface.
“Our applications are available online, and we are trying to sensitize our applicants that they should go online for these applications to avoid patronizing lots.”
The Acting Comptroller General stressed that due to the nature of the passport as a security document, passport issuance will take some time due to numerous procedures such as security checks, address verification, and other important measures that must be done.
Speaking on the duration of time it takes to get a passport ready, she said, “It takes six weeks to get the passport ready, while it takes three weeks for renewal.”
She also advised citizens not to wait until their passports expire before renewing them, noting that those applying for the first time do not have to wait until they need the passport before beginning the application process.
“So, I try as much as possible to let people know that if you are renewing your passport, don’t wait until it is completely expired. You can start your application process when you have six months validity on it. Then for fresh applicants, they don’t have to wait until the very last moment when they need the passport.”
She, however, disclosed that all hands are on deck to ensure that those seeking passport renewal don’t need to visit the NIS offices since their data has already been captured.
“Presently, considering the crowds in our passport offices, I’m trying to put up a memo to the appropriate quarters that something should be done about renewal as it is done in other climes.
“Once we have your data, we should be able to renew your passport through an online application without necessarily going into the passport offices; that will reduce the crowd. So, visiting the passport office will be left for only fresh applicants who need their data to be captured.”