The New Nigerian International e-passports: All You Need to Know

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We are moving to the digital era faster than expected, especially in the African continent. An excellent example is seen in the Nigerian government, which has introduced the new international e-passports. They are valid for ten years and come with certain requirements that must be adhered to. The new passports use fingerprints and Identification card details for processing. Therefore, anyone who has no ID will at no cost have the new e-passports. The Nigerian Immigration Service confirmed that the details of the passport holder must be similar to those of their IDs as indicated in the country’s National Identity Management Commission. James Sunday, the Public Relations Officer at National Immigration Service announced this on 24th April 2019 during a press with journalists at Abuja as he created awareness on the importance of applying for the new international passports.

The new passport was presented to the President, Muhammadu Buhari alongside the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo by the General Comptroller at National Identity Service, Muhammad Babandede. In essence, a copy of the passport was presented to the President during the launch. The new passports have been designed on different validity and prices. The 32-page five years standard goes at NGN25,000, 64-page five year standard at NGN35,000, and the 64-page ten years at NGN70,000. The options give the various classes of Nigerians the package that best suits them in terms of affordability.

What are the advantages of the new e-passports?

The fact that the new international e-passports comply with the latest International Civil Aviation  (ICAO) standards is more fulfilling to the Nigerian citizens. Who needs to operate on an illegal identity document? Unlike the old passports, this one is valid for ten years. The extension in validity serves to alleviate the hassle of renewing passports every five years.

The self-tracking application in these passports enhances its security since when you misplace it, you can easily track its whereabouts.

The flexibility in attaining it is also another benefit as you can use express centers for urgent applications. This may be after a loss of the current one or maybe in a situation where you wish to travel abruptly.

The new passport is weather-friendly through the poly-carbonate technology that makes it less prone to weather-related damages. The electronic chip on the passport hold the details and biometrics of the holder securely.

This project in Nigeria is similar to the one Kenya had in 2017, where Kenya’s Immigration Department issued new electronic passports to its citizens. Therefore, it’s a digital awakening on the continent, and most countries will not be left behind.

However, judging from social media, especially Twitter, most Nigerians are complaining about the high prices of the new-passports. The government in addressing this issue has promised to start printing the new e-passports locally to lower the prices in the applications.

Speaking to Channels Television, the National Immigration Service Comptroller, Mr. Babandede said that the new passports would start operating as plans to improve them are implemented down the line. “ten years after the enrollment of the e-passport system, we need to improve the security features.

“You cannot keep documents for ten years without seeing decreased values in them, so we are improving the security features which would raise the standards of the passports,” he said.