In a significant development, Federal Government Promises Expedited Passport Processing Within Two Weeks. The Federal Government of Nigeria has assured its citizens that the days of enduring months-long waits for passport issuance are now behind them. The announcement comes with a pledge to streamline passport application processing, ensuring a swift turnaround time of just two weeks.
The Minister of Interior, Dr. Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, made this announcement in Abuja on Wednesday, providing an update on his directive to the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) to resolve the backlog of over 204,000 passport applications.
He acknowledged, “On September 7, we made a promise to sort out the backlogs in two weeks, but we made it in three weeks, and I sincerely want to apologise to Nigerians for that. For us, we are assured that if it can work in the NIS, it can work anywhere else. Nigeria is undergoing a process.”
Dr. Tunji-Ojo outlined the extensive efforts made to address the backlog, including augmenting printing capacity in passport offices and implementing round-the-clock shifts for NIS personnel. He emphasized that these measures were taken to ensure that backlogs of passport production become a thing of the past.
He stated, “We want to ensure that nobody waits for more than two weeks to get their passports. As of October 1, we had cleared all the 204,332 backlogs, and from the records produced by the NIS, the number of passports already collected is 91,981. Outstanding but available is 112,351.”
Furthermore, Dr. Tunji-Ojo underscored President Bola Tinubu’s commitment to maintaining the current passport application fees, even in the face of foreign exchange fluctuations.
Looking ahead, the minister revealed plans to facilitate a more seamless application process. In the coming months, applicants will have the option to upload their passport photographs directly via the immigration portal, eliminating the need for an in-person visit for this step. Biometrics enrolment will remain the only required in-person component.
He affirmed, “Hopefully, by December, people will not need to go to passport offices when they are snapping or taking 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 line. 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 have left there.”
This proactive approach by the Federal Government reflects a concerted effort to enhance efficiency and accessibility in passport issuance, ultimately benefiting Nigerian citizens. The swift resolution of backlogs and the implementation of streamlined processes mark a significant stride towards a more efficient passport application system.