Nigerian Immigration clears over 200,000 backlog of passports

Nigerian Immigration passport Processing Time Reduced

Nigerian Immigration : In a groundbreaking development, the Minister of Interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, has delivered on his promise to reduce the processing time for Nigerian Immigration passport applications significantly.

The long-standing hardship Nigerians face when trying to obtain international passports from Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) offices across the country has been a persistent issue. However, this is now set to change at the Nigerian Immigration Service.

Early in September, Minister Tunji-Ojo vowed to tackle the existing backlog of approximately 204,000 passport applications within a two-week timeframe. Speaking at a media parley in Abuja on Wednesday, the Minister apologized to Nigerians for the slight delay, as the clearance of the backlog took three weeks instead of the initially promised two.

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Nevertheless, he lauded the dedication of the Nigerian Immigration Service officers and staff who worked tirelessly, including weekends and holidays, to meet his directive.

Minister Tunji-Ojo emphasized that while the procurement of visas is a privilege, acquiring an international passport is a fundamental right for every Nigerian citizen. He also reaffirmed President Bola Tinubu’s commitment to keeping the passport application fees stable despite the volatility in foreign exchange rates.

“We inherited 204,332 enrolments without passports being issued. People had applied and been captured. That was the figure, and we gave a marching order because the president was also urging us to bring solutions and relief to Nigerians,” Minister Tunji-Ojo stated.

To achieve this feat, the Ministry conducted strategic meetings with the Nigerian Immigration Service and received invaluable support from service providers. They managed to increase the number of printing machines to four in passport offices that previously had only two, thanks to the contribution of these Nigerian Immigration Service providers.

“The NIS personnel were working round the clock, in three shifts, 24/7, to ensure that we cleared the backlogs and to ensure that we never again experience passport production backlogs,” he added. “We want to ensure that nobody waits for more than two weeks to get their passports.”

As of October 1, all 204,332 backlogged applications have been successfully cleared, with 91,981 passports already collected, leaving 112,351 passports outstanding but available for pickup. The Minister urged Nigerians who have applied for passports to visit immigration offices promptly to collect their documents.

In a forward-looking move, Minister Tunji-Ojo revealed that in the coming months, passport applicants will be able to upload their passport photographs via the immigration portal, eliminating the need to visit passport offices for this purpose. Applicants will only be required to visit the offices for biometric enrolment.

“Hopefully by December, people will not need to go to passport offices to take pictures. This is 2023. People will be able to upload their passport photographs online with specifications. When you apply for a visa, you do that, and we are advancing in that direction,” he announced.

“Also, your supporting documents should be uploaded online so that when you go to the passport office, it will just be for biometrics, and within five minutes, you will have completed the process.”

Minister Tunji-Ojo emphasized that these innovations aim to eliminate the past situation where people spent entire days at passport offices. This change will significantly increase the capacity of passport offices, ensuring a more efficient and less time-consuming application process.

In closing, he reiterated the government’s commitment to keeping passport fees stable, demonstrating a clear understanding of the needs of the people. “As a person, I do not want anybody to go and stay in a passport office for more than 10 minutes,” he declared.

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