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International Passport Process Made Easy as NIS Improves Online Service

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NIS Improves International Passport Process With Efficient Online Service

Many Nigerians have taken to their social media accounts to commend the new initiative of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) at curbing bribery, reducing processing time and improving service delivery of international passport at its various offices across the nation.

NIS, in recent months, has said Nigerians no longer need to pay more than the stipulated amount to obtain a new passport or renew their expired international passports. However, several Nigerians and even a few bad eggs in the agency have refuted that declaration, saying many online applications are either not attended to or left for months and even years in some cases.

But few patriots like Claudia Nwankwo, who applied and paid the N25,000 stipulated online, have said it indeed works.

In a long detailed post, Nwankwo, a PR Media consultant, said “As “Nigerians” we (naturally) shy away from using government agency portals or online platforms. Many would say that the portals do not work and they make things more difficult. Others would not even bother to try because as far as they are concerned it’s all make believe.

She said after she was told to prepare between N40,000 to N50,000 to renew her 32 pages international passport, she noticed the amount stipulated on the NIS website was half the amount.

I checked on the NIS website and saw that renewal for adults cost only 25k. So, I proceeded to apply using the online portal. I filled the form, printed the necessary document and went straight to Alausa passport office.

“At the office, I was directed to the lady in-charge of online applications. She told me all I needed to do. It seemed as though there was going to be unnecessary delays. I quickly escalated my case and voila! I was ready for capturing.

“The good thing about using the online portal is that you have first-hand information about your application and it puts you half-way through the entire process. Such that when you get to the passport office you only need to get your forms/application approved and proceed for capturing (most likely) same day.”

Nwankwo explained that online application reduces the long stressful process of filling your forms today and returning another day for capturing.

According to her, after capturing applicants are issued a slip which they need to present when picking up their international passport within 72 working hours.

She, therefore, advised intending international passport applicants to follow the steps below in order to apply for a new international passport or renew their expired international passports.

First and foremost, visit the NIS website https://portal.immigration.gov.ng/ to get all necessary information as per requirement and process of application.

If you can do it on your own, its perfect! If not, go straight to the helpdesk of any NIS passport office near you. Immigration Officers would guide you on all you need to know and do. If in doubt or you encounter any misconduct, do well to escalate but insist on the right thing.

• Afterwards, you will need to print out the completed application form, sign it, print out your acknowledgment and payment slip.

• Take along your NIMC slip (compulsory)
• NIN number (compulsory)
• Copies of first and last page of your expired/old passport (if any)
• Hard copy of your expired/old (for sighting)
• Two passport photographs

She added that the international passport cost N25,000 while the payment gateway that facilitates payments for NIS charges N1,000. Bringing total cost to N26,000.

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Travel

High Altitude, Higher Prices: Domestic Airfares Jump 150%

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Nigerian air travelers are reeling from a dramatic increase in domestic airfares with prices skyrocketing by 150% over the past year.

This surge has forced many passengers to reconsider their travel options, opting for road transport despite the risks involved.

Passengers like Dare Adepoju, who frequently commutes between Lagos and Abuja for business and family visits, have expressed frustration.

“It’s unsustainable,” he lamented. “With flights nearing N200,000 for just an hour, I’m exhausted.”

Social media is abuzz with similar sentiments. Akinloa Adejuwon tweeted about the tough choice between costly flights and unsafe roads, highlighting the dire situation many Nigerians face.

The fare increase is attributed to a limited number of operational aircraft. Airline Operators of Nigeria revealed that many planes are grounded due to maintenance needs and lack of access to foreign exchange for repairs.

The current situation sees airlines like Ibom Air and Air Peace charging up to N238,000 for a one-way ticket between major cities.

This price jump, from about N51,000 last year, reflects the severe challenges the industry faces.

Capt. Roland Iyayi, a senior member of the Airline Operators of Nigeria, pointed to the shortage of aircraft as a primary cause.

“Making forex available to airlines is crucial for resolving this crisis,” he stated.

As the industry grapples with these challenges, passengers continue to hope for relief. The aviation sector’s future hinges on addressing these issues, ensuring safe and affordable travel for all Nigerians.

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Education

Southern States Skeptical as NELFund Disburses First Loans

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The National Education Loan Fund (NELFund) officially launched on Wednesday, a significant step in providing financial aid to students across Nigeria.

However, the initiative faces skepticism, particularly from the southern states.

President Bola Tinubu inaugurated the first tranche of funds, amounting to N32 billion, aimed at empowering Nigerian youth and breaking financial barriers to education.

The NELFund portal has registered 164,000 students, with 103,000 applying for loans.

Despite the promising start, many southern states remain doubtful about the fund’s implementation.

Akintunde Sawyerr, NELFund’s Managing Director, acknowledged these concerns, citing data challenges in verifying indigent applicants as a primary hurdle.

Sawyerr highlighted the lack of comprehensive data needed for credit assessments. The fund relies on bank verification numbers (BVN), National Identification Numbers (NIN), and educational institution data to determine eligibility.

More applications have been received from northern states, where students have shown greater confidence in the fund.

Sawyerr pointed out that skepticism in the south might stem from uncertainty about the program’s viability.

NELFund offers two types of loans: educational fees paid directly to institutions and upkeep loans for student stipends.

The focus is currently on government-owned institutions to ensure a smooth rollout.

President Tinubu emphasized education as a critical tool against poverty and insecurity, linking the nation’s challenges to a lack of educational opportunities.

He reaffirmed his commitment to inclusive growth through education.

As NELFund continues its rollout, efforts to address data issues and regional skepticism will be crucial. By building trust and ensuring transparency, the program aims to support more students nationwide and foster a fairer society.

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Travel

UAE Lifts Visa Ban on Nigerians, Introduces N640,000 Non-Refundable Application Fee

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The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has officially lifted the visa ban imposed on Nigerian passport holders, effective July 15.

However, this positive move comes with a substantial caveat—a new non-refundable visa application fee of N640,000.

The announcement, made following bilateral discussions between Nigerian and UAE authorities, ends a prolonged period of restricted travel between the two nations due to diplomatic disputes and financial issues.

New Visa Regulations

Under the new guidelines set forth by the UAE government, Nigerian passport holders seeking to travel to the Emirates must adhere to several stringent requirements:

  1. Application Fee: Applicants are required to pay a non-refundable fee of N640,000 for visa processing. This fee represents a significant increase compared to the previous $100 fee before the ban.
  2. Document Verification Number (DVN): Before applying for a visa, applicants must obtain a Document Verification Number (DVN). This number is valid for only 14 days from issuance or until the visa application is processed, whichever comes first.
  3. Application Process: The application process for UAE visas remains stringent, emphasizing the importance of meeting all specified criteria to enhance the chances of approval.

Public Reaction and Outcry

The introduction of the N640,000 visa application fee has sparked widespread criticism and public outcry among Nigerians, particularly on social media platforms. Many have expressed their discontent, labeling the new fee as exorbitant and financially burdensome, especially in light of economic challenges facing the country.

Social media users have taken to various platforms to voice their concerns:

  • @firstladyship: “It is obvious the UAE don’t want Nigerians. They reluctantly unbanned the Nigerian passport, but slammed a hefty N640,000 on Nigerians. Guess what? The money is nonrefundable & has expiration date. This is see finish.”
  • @Peco3D: “This is just extortion in fine words. Shameless.”
  • @Comr_lucky1: “This is exploitation and shameful if allowed by Nigeria government.”

Government Response

Mohammed Idris, Minister of Information and National Orientation, announced the lifting of the visa ban and emphasized that Nigerian passport holders are now eligible to apply for visas to the UAE.

The government has acknowledged the concerns raised by citizens and assured them of continued engagement to address the issue.

Background

The UAE had imposed the visa ban on Nigeria approximately two years ago amid diplomatic tensions and financial disputes.

Efforts to resolve these issues included discussions and negotiations between the Nigerian and UAE governments, leading to the recent breakthrough in visa restrictions.

Despite the imposition of the N640,000 visa fee, the lifting of the ban represents a step forward in diplomatic relations between Nigeria and the UAE, potentially paving the way for enhanced bilateral cooperation and economic ties.

As Nigerian travelers navigate these new visa regulations, reactions continue to pour in, reflecting the broader impact of international relations on individual mobility and economic opportunities.

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