The Minister of Interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo — has provided insights into the reasoning behind the Federal Government’s implementation of new requirements for acquiring or renewing international passports. The primary aim of these new conditions is to prevent non-citizens from obtaining Nigerian passports, thus highlighting its status as a crucial security measure reserved solely for Nigerian citizens. The Minister acknowledged the difficulties encountered by individuals applying for passports and gave assurance that the upcoming weeks would bring about improvements to the application procedure.
Tunji-Ojo highlighted the significance of the newly enforced requirements, such as possessing a citizenship certificate, birth certificate, and National Identification Number (NIN) — in confirming the authenticity of an applicant’s citizenship. Tunji-Ojo stressed that the main objective of this reform is to streamline the passport acquisition procedure for Nigerians by expediting the online application process, production, and collection of passports. Tunji-Ojo noted the significant progress of the newly implemented system saying that there is only a minimal error rate of only 4%. This remarkable enhancement indicates the system’s undeniable efficacy, dispelling any false beliefs or misunderstandings.
Any Nigerian citizen is eligible to apply for a Standard ePassport.
Revamping the passport acquisition process is imperative as passports serve as a vital security measure. The Minister expressed satisfaction with the enhanced accessibility, transparency, and efficiency brought about by the new system. Additionally, he shared future prospects of integrating contactless biometrics in passport renewal as a testament to the government’s dedication towards empowering Nigerians both at home and abroad, striving to construct a brighter future. Addressing the noticeable shift in price for the 5-year passport, he stated that the decision to adopt this new cost was inspired by considering the cost of the 10-year passport.
This move reflects our commitment to improving the situation in our country. Any Nigerian citizen, regardless of their place of birth or whether they were born to Nigerian parents abroad, is eligible to apply for a Standard ePassport. Nevertheless, individuals who have not yet reached the age of 18 are limited in their ability to acquire an ePassport, as they must go through the official Nigerian guardian process. Furthermore, these minors may not qualify for the extended 10-year validity passport, as it exclusively caters to Nigerian citizens aged 18 and above.
Phase 1 of the passport implementation has been completed.
Presently, individuals seeking a 5-year passport that contains 32 pages will be required to pay a sum of ₦35,000, whereas those opting for a more extended validity of 10 years with 64 pages will incur an expense of ₦70,000. Conversely, for diasporas, the cost of a 5-year passport containing 32 pages totals $142, while the expense for a 10-year passport with 64 pages amounts to $242. This innovative system ensures faster identification of counterfeit passport applications and strives to minimize obstacles, ultimately enhancing the efficiency and dependability of passport issuance.
By offering the convenience of an online application process devoid of human interaction, Nigerians can now complete their passport application hassle-free. Prior to the launching of the automation process on January 8, 2024, the ministry had on January 3, 2024, commenced training on automated passport application for Passport Control Officers and Enrolment Officers of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS). After the Passport automation goes live, phase 1 of the implementation has been completed. Phase 2 which has to deal with the diasporas is expected to be completed on February 8, while phase 3 which has to deal with the full implementation of converted biometric processing is scheduled to be completed on March 8.
Passport backlog in the NIS has been completely cleared.
In addition, the ministry has accomplished a feat by clearing the entire passport backlog in the Nigeria Immigration Service after a directive from the Minister of Interior, Hon. Olubunmi Tunji-ojo. An applicant with the older Standard ePassport has the option to utilize it until 6 months prior to its expiration. However, to be eligible for the new Enhanced ePassport, the current ePassport must either be misplaced, damaged, reach its page limit, or have less than 180 days of validity left.