The Minister of Interior, Dr Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, has announced that starting in February 2024, Nigerians will be able to receive their passports at their preferred locations, including homes and offices.
Tunji-Ojo disclosed during the University of Lagos International Week’s opening ceremony on Monday, themed ‘Breaking the Borders of Partnership,’ that starting from January next year, Nigerians will have the option to complete their application process online.
- “We have commenced the automation of our end-to-end passport application process, and we have given a timeline from which Nigerians will begin to experience the “sweet experience.”
- “By implication, Nigerians will not need to wait longer than two weeks before they get their passport.
- By January next year, Nigerians will be able to complete this application process online, and by February next year, with collaboration and partnership with other relevant stakeholders, Nigerians will have their passports delivered to their homes, offices, and other locations of their choice.”
Visa on Arrival Policy
The minister also confirmed that his ministry is working alongside key stakeholders to ensure the seamless operation of the immigration and travel process in the country, highlighting that the government will be implementing policies to strengthen the Visa-on-arrival policy.
Stating that the Interior Ministry is collaborating with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Tunji-Ojo revealed that the government is setting up 12 new visa application centres across the world.
- “This, of course, would be extended to our visa application process. We are deploying technology throughout the entire process to make it as seamless as possible.
- To achieve this, we have set everything into motion to open 12 more visa application centres across the world. In this regard, we are also working on strengthening our visa-on-arrival policy.
- We are working with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to enforce the principle of reciprocity, and a committee has been set up in the ministry to achieve this.”
Speaking further, he bemoaned the repetitive process of identity number registration in the country, citing the need to harmonize information for the BVN at banks, international passports, the NIN, and SIM card registrations with telecommunication companies.
According to Tunji-Ojo, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has issued a directive for the unification and harmonization of the diverse identity numbers across the country.
Through data harmonization, he stated, the integrity of travel documents would see a resurgence.
- “Identity is who we are, what we are, and what we live for. But today, what we have is a duplication of our registration.
- We have the BVN in the bank, the international passport, the NIN, SIM card registration by telecoms, and so on, all of which request your data. The integrity of our travel documents must be restored through the harmonization of our data.
- “We have the directive of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, under the Renewed Hope Agenda, to harmonize the country’s database.
- When we harmonize our data, there will be an exchange amongst agencies such that when our people need data for passport and visa applications, or BVN, with their NIN, their data can be pulled out.
- This will not only save us stress, cost, and energy but also help us optimize our processes and the country’s security architecture”, he said.