The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has disclosed its readiness to commence the automation of the passport application process to eliminate the difficulties Nigerians experience while applying for passports.
This was made known by the Acting Comptroller General of NIS, Caroline Adepoju, who appeared as a guest on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily programme today.
According to her, the Service is eager to get rid of physical interactions during the passport application process.
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 emphasized that due to the passport’s nature as a security document, issuance of passports will require some time as a result of various procedures, including security checks, address verification, and other necessary steps that need to be completed.
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 enjoined the citizens of the country not to wait until their passports expire before commencing the renewal process, adding that those applying for the first time don’t necessarily have to wait until they need the passport before starting 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.