The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has said that Nigerians will be able to verify their National Identification Number (NIN) on its website starting within the next four weeks. This is to fast-track the issuance of international passports to applicants.
The Acting Comptroller-General of the NIS, Isa Idris, who disclosed this at the weekend admitted that the process of verifying the NIN after an appointment has been given to the applicants causes delays in the process of issuing passports. He says the NIS has integrated its systems with the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) to achieve a seamless verification.
While noting that the NIS is trying to keep up with the government’s policy of three weeks for renewal and six weeks for fresh application, he said the verifications, which include verifying the house address of applicants often lead to delays that extend beyond the timeline.
Jere says the Service has also deployed an online tracking system that allows the applicant to check the status of their application and to know whether their passports are ready online, without going to the NIS office.
Speaking during a virtual interaction with the media over the weekend, the Acting CG said: “The passport is a document conferring nationality on you, so it must have integrity. The process to obtain that document should also have integrity because we have had situations whereby non-Nigerians were holding Nigerian passports because it was easy to get.
- “With the new process now, we are ensuring that the passport has integrity and that is why we have to ensure that verifications are done before issuance.”
- He said the Minister of Interior has introduced a new policy of maximum three weeks for renewal and six weeks for fresh applications. But when going through all these processes, some passports may not be ready on the day they are given.
- “We have a company that is handling the verification of house addresses. So, they must get back to us that they are able to validate the address you supplied before we go can ahead to issue the passport for you.
- “To make the process faster, in the next two to four weeks applicants will be able to verify their NIN on our website. This means that before you can even begin the application you are able to verify your NIN by yourself on our portal,” he added.
- While noting that there are special circumstances that require emergency issuance of passports within a very short time, he advised applicants for renewal to begin the process six months before the expiration of their current passport.
- “Nigerians should not forget that they have six months to renew their passports because Visa will not be issued on a passport that has less than six months, this allows you to start your renewal application earlier,” he said.