It is no longer news that the country is undergoing a significant rise in brain drain and loss of human resources to the diaspora daily. Recent immigration analysis has shown that the Nigerian international passport has become a golden ticket than a means of identification required to attain greener pastures owing to the current dilapidated state of the economy. For this reason, certain individuals will stop at nothing to travel illegally to other countries, including falsifying their details and fabricating a fake copy of their international passport just to leave the country and a stop to the culture of suffering unanimously and smiling magnanimously.
Truth be told, the majority end up throwing the country into jeopardy and tarnishing the image of citizens overseas. In this article, I will enlighten you on the steps to take to verify your international passport, including tips to know if your passport is authentic or not.
An international passport is a biometrics document issued by the government of a country to its citizens that grants them the liberty to travel outside the country. The Immigration Services are, of course, in charge of issuing international passports in any country. In this vein, the government agency in charge of overseeing migration in the nation is the Nigerian Immigration Service, a division under the control of the Federal Ministry of Internal Affairs.
The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has 8 functional zonal offices with special sub-commands across the federation. They are solely in charge of the issuance and verification of passports, resolving migration complexes, and ensuring the smooth travel of citizens while checkmating risks to the minimum.
WHY YOU NEED TO VERIFY YOUR INTERNATIONAL PASSPORT
According to recent figures, the number of Nigerians who presented unverified international passports at UK borders increased by 70% in 2022. It is so concerning that it is now very challenging to distinguish between a fake passport and an authentic one. Likewise, on December 25, 2020, Sahara TV, a global news station, reported a case of deportation of 3 Nigerians living in Dwarka, India because they couldn’t show proof of a validated international passport. How then could they testify that they were innocent or guilty? Legal suites like these are amongst the reasons for the stale treatment Nigerians living in the diaspora receive.
Upon entry into countries, most individuals, however innocent, have ended up behind bars while others have become money bags for criminals involved in Advance Fee Fraud and money laundering in the process of trying to verify their passports before the police of the resident country apprehend them. To avoid such global embarrassment, you must verify your Nigerian international passport at the slightest chance you get.
HOW TO VERIFY YOUR INTERNATIONAL PASSPORT
The Nigerian international passport is a unique biometrics document that contains the holder’s details, including date of birth, name, etc. Unknown to many, the international passport has an embedded chip that dictates its validity. Relatively, the verification of the Nigerian international passport is applicable in two different layouts:
- Manual verification
- Digital/Online verification
It is essential to know that you can only verify an international passport if you have one. If you haven’t, follow the guidelines below to get yours.
- Gather Necessary documents
To have an international passport, you will need to collate valid photocopies of the following documents.
- Birth certificate (Your name should be in this order: LAST NAME, FIRST NAME, MIDDLE NAME)
- A means of identification such as a driver’s license, National identification number, etc.
- 2 passport-sized photograph
- Submission of documents
After collating the necessary records to begin the process, submit the documents to the nearest National Immigration Service (NIS) office near you. Once submitted, you will pay a fixed token that covers logistics and procurement of materials for your passport.
- Waiting Period
The minimum waiting period for your international passport is 4-6 weeks. It is very cumbersome for the immigration services at this stage.
To this effect, in May 2022, the Nigerian Immigration Services established an online tracking system that enables you to track the proceeds of your passport at each stage via their website (www.trackimmigration.gov.ng).
- Collection of International Passport
You will receive a message or tracking system notification once it is ready for collection. Upon collection, you can also request a leather jacket sold at a subsidized rate for your passport to avoid damages. Before you leave the NIS office, check the passport number, photo, order of name (LASTNAME, FIRST NAME, MIDDLE NAME), and date of birth to see if it matches those which you submitted. If it doesn’t, kindly raise an alarm immediately.
This is the common method of passport verification across the federation. It is the last procedure needed to get a legitimate international passport in Nigeria, and NIS completes it automatically before issuance.
If you have an existing international passport, take it to the nearest NIS office and request verification. You will be required to provide details like full name and date of birth or passport issuance number. Once that is done, they use their system to check and it will detect if your passport is verified (genuine) or fake.
To digitally verify your international passport, you will need to open the passport verification system through the NIS website (https://immigration.gov.ng). Once you have access to the system, insert your passport issuance number. In a couple of minutes or seconds, the software will detect if your passport is authentic or not. Although this method is a new improvement and less popular, it is cost-effective and also time-saving.
HOW TO KNOW IF YOUR INTERNATIONAL PASSPORT IS AUTHENTIC
Differentiating between a fake and an authentic international passport in Nigeria is a herculean task. So, you need to be extra meticulous when checking out the cues below.
- Check the quality of the material. Your passport must be made of durable plastic material or a mix of plastic and paper.
- Confirm that your passport has a unique serial number labeled the International Passport Number.
- Check if the expiry date is valid as you requested before issuance. International passports could have 10, 32, or 64 pages and this factor affects the expiry date of your passport.
- Check if someone has tampered with the passport.
- Look out for the spelling of your name, signature, and photograph.
- Your passport must contain the NIS issuance office that processed your international passport, an issuance number, and the Nigerian coat of arms.
NIGERIAN IMMIGRATION SERVICES (NIS) CONTACT DETAILS
Headquarters: Umaru Musa Yar Adu’a Expressway, Airport Road, Sauka, Abuja, FCT Nigeria.
Tracking System: www.trackimmigration.gov.ng
It is recommended that holders of international passports verify these documents to be sure that swindlers have not fooled them and to save themselves from public disgrace when they need to travel for a nice vacation or trip. Cheers!