The federal government has set a two-week timeline for the processing of passport applications, saying the era of waiting for months is over.
Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, the minister of Interior disclosed this in Abuja on Wednesday during a review of his directive to the Nigeria Immigration Service to clear over 204,000 backlog of passport applications.
“We want to ensure that nobody waits for more than two weeks to get their passports”, the minister said.
“As at October 1, we had cleared all the 204,332 backlogs and from the records produced by NIS, the number of passports already collected is 91,981. Outstanding but available is 112,351. We are pleading with Nigerians to please go and collect their passports”, he added.
The minister warned Nigerians applying for passports application not to give money to anybody, and directed them for passport to lodge their complaints via the following; 0802 375 3414, preferably SMS and Whatsapp or email [email protected] if there is any passport office where they have done the capturing and are denied their passports.
According to him, while procurement of visas is a privilege, acquiring international passports is a right.
He also expressed the commitment of President Bola Tinubu to not increase the cost of passport application despite the foreign exchange volatility.
The minister further said he has perused all the contracts and agreements the ministry and its agencies had entered into with service providers, saying in the next couple of months, passport applicants would be able to upload their passport photographs via the immigration portal, rather than going to passport offices for such capture.
According to him, applicants would only be required to visit the passport offices for their biometrics enrolment.
“Hopefully by December, people will not need to go to passport offices and 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, but will just be for biometrics and within five minutes you have left there. We don’t want the past situation whereby people spend the whole day at the passport offices. So instead of the offices capturing maybe 400 a day, they will be able to accommodate more people”, he said.
“These are some of the innovations we are bringing. Even though we know what the exchange rate is, we are not increasing passport fees. The government of President Tinubu understands 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”, the minister said.