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Travel

The Wahala of renewing Nigerian Passports in the Abroad

A.E invited me to share my experience renewing my passport outside of Nigeria for the first time and I thought it would definitely be helpful to help someone out there wondering what the process of renewing Nigerian passport in DC feels like. To cut the long story short, renewing a Nigerian passport abroad is not beans. I wouldn’t say it was overly stressful, the process was just quite  long and inefficient. Here goes the process of renewing Nigerian passport in DC.

Renewing Nigerian Passport in DC

How to renew my Nigerian passport in America

The passport renewal process in Nigeria can be done in Atlanta, New York, Texas or Washington DC. At the time of my application, I was at Washington DC and thus decided to file in my application there.

Nigerian Passport Application Form

I completed my online application in early January. The online form is nothing out of the ordinary to be honest. They ask your name, age, address abroad and address at home – simple things like that. It really won’t take you very long to complete. What might annoy you though is the payment process. First of all, please why are they asking us to pay USD107 for passport?! Then secondly, you will likely need to call your Bank at a point to allow them to free the payment. Or they might send you one of those fraud texts to which you need to respond Yes.

After paying, you will need to print out all the confirmation pages and assemble them with your passport. They set a date you should come to the Embassy (I got the 13th of January), so don’t just show up. If your chosen date is not convenient, please don’t even bother trying to call them. The phone number online is there for decoration. You also cannot show up without an appointment. The Oga there will send you out because they check that you’re here on or after the given appointment date before you’re allowed to enter the bigger hall (see below).

What you need to bring:

  1. All your printed-out confirmation receipts
  2. Expired International Passport
  3. A PHOTOCOPY OF YOUR PASSPORT!!! (Continue reading for how they embarrassed me because of this thing).
  4. Your patience and home training.

Nigerian Embassy in DC

You need to wake up early and go! Don’t say I didn’t tell you abeg. Even if you’re standing outside for 2-3 hours on a cold January morning, it is better to be there early and be standing at the gate than to enter queue. If you come with car, again be early because there isn’t enough parking space available for everybody’s car. Some people I think even parked near the Ghana Embassy and walked up.For those of us that don’t have car, the closest Metro station is Van Ness station and it was about 15 minutes’ walk from the station to the Embassy. For the ballers amongst us, Uber and other ride sharing platforms are available.

What killed me was that as I got there, there was a car there already and the Yoruba men inside called me to ask me whether I wanted to sit inside with them. It’s not me and one chance please. I’m my mother’s only daughter. They were nice sha, and I let them drop me at the station. But Yoruba men please be advised you can’t just be inviting people into your car like that abeg. It was too early in the morning. Hot girls beware. Wear comfortable shoes if you’re not going to be chilling in a car- I really sent myself to wear heeled boots. But last last, drip is eternal.

Renewing Nigerian Passport in DC; the experience

The people at the Embassy are mad, can’t lie. The gate is supposed to be open at like 9am or something like that, but they didn’t open until like around 10 am. I got there before 8 so I was standing for 2+ hours (my feet have recovered to the shame of the enemy).

Luckily, I was second in line.  It’s pretty rough at the embassy and your Lagos sense is extremely important. Pushing and shoving occurs and if you’re not careful, you just might be trampled upon. When you enter, you are led to a small waiting area that couldn’t fit everyone, so people were left standing. I really didn’t understand given that the building itself was quite spacious.

You are then asked to sign your name on one piece of paper. After a while, they escort people into a bigger hall inside the building and ask people to prepare the documents. People are called in the order that they had their names signed. Biometrics were done in batches. Despite the crowd of people, there were only two PCs to carry out the process. It seemed that they were understaffed and I wondered whether they were on budget cuts or whether someone somewhere had eaten the funds.

At the biometrics room, they take your picture (you might want to look your insta best),  your fingerprints and ask that you to confirm your signature. Remember how I mentioned you need a photocopy of your passport, please have it otherwise they charge you $1 to use their own machines. The guy that handled my biometrics really didn’t let go and ensured that I paid that $1. That’s how I was there begging people for $1 o. Nigerian Embassy will disgrace you. Key takeaway: always carry change. Don’t be like me.

The overall experience was not the best but made me miss home and all the wahala. I was so happy to see our flag outside flying, can’t even lie. I’ve really missed being around the banter, hearing our accents, the comparisons to the Ghanaian Embassy which opens on time apparently, and our general lack of respect. Still trying to understand why people were pushing me when we were being taken into the larger hall as if it will automatically land them at the beginning of the list. I guess it’s just in our blood.

I spent about 2 hours in the Embassy from the time we entered into the Embassy and made it back in time for my 1.20pm class, thankfully.

Nigerian passport application status

Chuckles in Igbo. It has been over 5 months and counting. I was asked to come back the Tuesday after Easter (14th April), so three months basically. But COVID came and the latest news on the website is that only the passports for which the collection day was March 31st was the collection date were available to be mailed out provided that people sent a pre-addressed Priority mailing envelope to them. Only God knows when I will finally get it.

It is well!!!

Can I renew my Nigerian passport before it expires?

You can definitely renew your Nigerian passport within 6 months of the expiry date. Delays and drama are however inevitable . Brace yourself!

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