By Milton Tella –
The difficulties in applying for a new passport is one major issue confronting Nigerians in the UK and this has been further compounded by the Covid-19 lockdown which has resulted in daily long queue at the Northumberland Avenue, Nigeria House.
The passport fast track renewal process and other changes introduced a month ago by His Excellency Sarafa Isola, the new High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, is already making the required impact with a record of over 15,000 passport already issued in May 2021 alone. The huge number of applications requiring speedy attention of staff and limited office space at the Nigeria House Northumberland Avenue London, is still a major concern. Those who estimated the number of Nigerians in the UK to be two million may not be wrong after all.
The new High Commissioner who is eager to ease the pains of the service users, said, the High commission is planning to move passport services closer to those outside London by opening satellite offices very soon and the possibility of extending the passport fast track service to the Fleet Street, London building owned by the Mission is under consideration. It is the belief of most observers that the UK embassy should also be granted some leeway by the Federal Ministry of Interior with regards to passport appointments, which is currently being generated from outside the mission’s control in order to be able to serve Nigerians in the Diaspora better.
Chief Sarafa Isola was observed addressing some of the applicants outside the Nigeria House building. While there, he secured priority entrance for the elderly and mothers with young children as he appealed to those on the queue. He said, “you all can be rest assured that our dedicated staff are waiting inside to speed up the process to ensure you do not stay longer that necessary as soon as you get into the building. Thank you for your co-operation.”
It is important for applicants visiting the embassy to be aware of certain dos and don’ts.
Applicants should try where possible to avoid booking days or visiting the Embassy on days that fall on UK mid term school holidays excepts they are parents with children.
Another challenging appointment dates are those following a Bank holiday in the UK or public holidays in Nigeria. Most applicants don’t know that the High Commission UK also observe the same public holidays as those in Nigeria. The days following will be very crowded.
With the huge number of applicants visiting the High Commission daily, it is important for visitors to be aware of useful information that can be helpful as some go there for enquiries that do not require physical presence.
African Voice reporter spoke with one of the visitors that came to the mission to find out what to do about a lost passport. He was advised on what to do and encouraged to visit: http://www.nigeriahc.org.uk for further information.
Nigeria High Commission, Immigration Department London
Here are the frequently asked questions:
What are the procedures for issuance of Nigerian Passport?
Applicants should visit http://www.nigeriahc.org.uk/passport-requirements
Can I apply for self and family members at the same time?
Yes, you can apply and pay, using a UK debit/Credit card for a maximum of 5 of your family at the same time, and they must all bear the same surname.
How do I make payment for a family of more than 5 persons?
You must either go to OIS Services Limited, 56 – 57 Street EC4Y 1JU OR register your payment card with Innovate. Visit www.innovate1services.com
What are the most common mistakes made during payment?
i) Postcode gap. The Post Code must not have space in between. E.g. WC2N 5BX MUST be typed WC2N5BX
ii) The names printed on the form MUST match the names printed on the payment card.
iii) When typing your full name on the payment page, do not press the space bar after typing the last letter. E.g. If name on payment card is Maxwell Brown, Do not press the space bar after typing letter ‘n’ which is the last letter of the surname.
I am a Nigerian, just got married and need to change my surname to my husband’s. Do I have to fill the online form with my husband’s surname?
Yes. The name on your form is the name that will appear on your passport. However, note that change of name is strictly for women.
Do you have provision for a frequent traveller?
Yes, frequent travellers can apply for 64-page passport booklet.
What is the validity of the Nigerian Passport?
Can I endorse my child on my passport?
No, children can no longer be endorsed on passport they must apply for their own
My passport is with the Home Office. Can I apply for a new one?
If the passport is still valid, you cannot. If it has expired, you can apply as a lost passport applicant.
I am applying for my first Nigerian Passport, Is consent letter from my parents compulsory?
No, if the applicant is an adult. Yes, If the applicant is a minor (under 18 years)
I am a single parent, and it is impossible to get both consent and Passport Data page of my spouse for my child, what can I do?
If you are a single parent, and the birth certificate of the child shows that status, you can apply with your own documents. If not, you must submit proof of custody from court.
Is it compulsory I bring my baby to the High Commission for his/her passport?
Yes, because no passport is processed by proxy.
I am unable to be physically present at the High Commission, because I am an applicant with special needs, is there any way you can help?
In exceptional circumstances, the High Commissioner may consider an approval of a mobile biometric enrolment, but in that case, applicant must apply to High Commission, attaching doctor’s recommendation. Please forward your application to: The Immigration Attache: Nigeria High Commission, 9 Northumberland Avenue, London WC2N 5BX. You may also send an email to email@example.com
Can I pay for FAST TRACK?
I am a foreigner married to a Nigerian, can I therefore apply for a Nigerian passport?
A: No. Eligibility to have Nigerian passport is by citizenship.
I am having difficulty to pay for my passport on-line. What can I do?
You are advised to contact OIS Services Limited, 56-57 Fleet Street, EC4Y 1JU, Tel: 020 7832 0001, 9am – 5pm.
Do I need 2 passport photograph?
No. Only If you are applying for Replacement of Lost or Misplaced Passport.
Do you have a list of Lost and Found Nigerian Passports?
Yes. Visit: www.nigeriahc.org.uk/uploads/news/lostandfoundpassport.pdf
Do you have facility for applicant with disability?
Yes, the Mission offers assistance, but you need to inform us before coming. Please call 0207 839 1244 OR send email to firstname.lastname@example.org
I lost my Nigerian passport while visiting the United Kingdom, and I need to go back to Nigeria. What can I do?
Please apply for Emergency Travel Certificate. For requirements, visit: http://www.nigeriahc.org.uk/fees-processing-online
What is the validity of Emergency Travel Certificate?
30 days from the date of issue.
Is the Emergency Travel Certificate valid to take me to another country?
No. It is only valid for one-way journey to Nigeria