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Guidelines and Procedures For Obtaining The New Nigerian Passport (Reviewed, 23rd Feb, 2002) Tell your friends about this page! Email it to them.

The history of passport issuance in Nigeria dates as far back as 1948 when it was established under Police Administration. It later changed hands to the Immigration and Consular section of the Foreign Affairs and Commonwealth office. In 1981 it moved to the
Citizenship and Welfare Division of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and finally to the
Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) in 1988.

The enabling law and decree that back the issuance of Nigeria Passport are contained in
section 190 (A) of the criminal code caption 42 of the Laws of the Federation of Nigeria
and Lagos in 1958. This law was later replaced with decree no.15, Passport
(miscellaneous provision) Decree of 1985.

Types of Passport

Basically, there are 5 types of Passports in Nigeria as listed below:

1. Diplomatic Passport: this is issued to persons on diplomatic mission. It is red in colour
2. Official Passport: this is issued to top government functionaries on official assignment abroad. It is blue in colour
3. Pilgrimage Passport: This category of Passport is issued to Nigerians traveling on
pilgrimage to either Saudi Arabia, for Muslims or Israel, for Christians.
4. Seaman's Passport or Certificate of Identity: This is issued to crew members on board a ship. It is also red in colour.
5. Standard (Regular) Passport: it is the type issued to all categories of Nigerians except if there is any local objection. It is green in colour.

There is also, on specific occasions, Emergency Travel Certificate issued by the missions abroad to Nigerians for the purpose of emergency travel and it is usually valid for three (3) months. It is for homebound Nigerians only. All Passports issued by the Nigerian Government have a lifespan of ten (10) years (initial validity of five (5) years, renewable for another period of five (5) years, after which a new one must be re-issued). Pilgrims Passport is valid for a limited period of six (6) months.

Guidelines For Obtaining A Nigerian Passport

On 17 July 1998 to be precise the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) introduced a new Standard Nigeria Passport called the Standard Machine Readable Passports (MRP). Below are the guidelines to obtain the MRP:

1. Confirmation of Nigerian citizenship
2. Confirmation of sanity and clean Police record
3. There should be no local objection
4. There must be a naturalisation certificate if the applicant is a naturalised Nigerian.
5. There must be provision for all necessary documents for the issuance of Nigerian
Passport such as;
a. A letter from the applicant's Local Government,
b. Applicant's Birth Certificate,
c. A letter of Introduction from a reputable citizen,
d. Marriage Certificate, where applicable,
e. Letter of Consent, where applicable,
f. Passport fees (Bank draft),
g. Police report in case of loss of old passport,

6. No Nigerian should be in possession of two valid Nigerian Passports.
7. The information on the Passport must not by any means be altered or erased.
8. All information for procurement of Nigerian Passport must be valid, authentic and verifiable as nothing but the truth.
9. All particulars of the proposed holder of the Nigerian Passport must be honestly and truly stated, such as:

a. Names
b. Date of Birth
c. Place of birth
d. Place of origin
e. State of origin
f.  Height
g. Date and place of issue of Passport
h. Date of Expiration
i. Marital status
j. Sex and others

10. As a fact of law, a non-Nigerian should not possess a Nigerian Passport; every citizen of Nigeria has the right of possession if the required guidelines and conditions for the issuance of the passport are met.

Procedures For Acquisition of A Nigerian Passport

The procedures for the acquisition of the Nigeria Passport include:

1) Purchase of N5,100 bank Draft from the designated bank,
2) Submission of relevant documents for passport acquisition such as:
a. Birth Certificate
b. Local Government letter.
c. Letter of introduction from a recognised Nigeria or organisation
d. Two passport photographs
e. Letter of consent [where applicable]
f. Marriage Certificate [where applicable]
g. Police report [where applicable]
h. First-five pages of the old passport (where applicable)
i. Completion of the computer form
j. Receipt of payment

3) Registration of the file containing documents (listed in (2) above),
4) Submission of all the documents and self for screening and verification before authentication and confirmation,
5) Recommendation of applicant request for approval after thorough screening and verification,
6) Approval and scheduling for acquisition that is for physical capturing of applicant image into the computer,
7) Acquisition or capturing of applicant into the photographic and data collection computerised machine,
8) Transfer of data and captured image into the production machine for production processes,
9) Passport collection at the designated unit.

Reasons For Reasons For The Introduction of MRP

The new Machine Readable Passport (MRP) was introduced in order to address the following problems ascribed to the old passport:

1) The old Passport did not totally conform to nor meet the security standards of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO),
2) The Passport Photograph Section in the old Passport is not well secured by the ordinary lamination cellophane membrane covering it,
3) The old passport is bulky with too many pages (48 in all),
4) The old Passport is susceptible to forgery and alteration by criminals,
5) The old Passport is cheap in material and texture,
6) It lacks security sophistication for the operation of such vital document,
7) It can easily be reproduced and duplicate by criminals,
8) Method of acquisition is so simple to the extent that dubious characters took advantage and easily had more than one passport,
9) It is prone to abuses by many unauthorised passport agents.

Benefits of The MRP

1. The Passport being Machine Readable facilitates the quick clearance of its holders at ports of entry and exit all over the world as against the previous situation whereby the holder of the Nigerian passport is subjected to avoidable, and sometimes unwarranted scrutiny in some ports of entry and departure.

2. The computerised system of the issuance of the MRP is capable of minimising the delay often experienced in Passport issuance in the past.

3. The introduction of MRP means the introduction (to Nigeria travelers) of a secured travel document, which has been endorsed by the International Civil Aviation Oganisation and respected and recognised by the international community

4. The new design MRP is expected to improve the International image of Nigerian travelers abroad.

See Also: Interview with A Public Relations Officer, Nigerian Immigration Service (2002)
The Nigerian Immigration Service - A Profile
Expatriate Regularisation Procedure

Sources: Excepts from August 2000 and 2001 issues of The Migrant, a quarterly magazine of the NIS, Zone 'A', Lagos and NigeriaBusinessInfo.com field work.

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