Adventures dealing with the HC

I am lucky that I work close to the High Commission (HC). Some guy I met there had flown in from one of the neighbouring cities to drop off one of his documents (I don’t blame him; you don’t want to lose these important documents and have to go through the trouble of getting them again).

The process to get a Nigerian passport is now online (great!) and the process to complete the application goes quite smoothly. Payment is by credit card using the Google Checkout process and I personally found the system worked well. You pay the Nigerian government (I think?) and then you bring more money for the HC’s adminstrative fees.

On the HC website, there is a checklist that tells you the items you need, depending on whether you’re applying for a passport or a visa, and also depending on the sort of passport you’re applying for. I printed a copy of the checklist and used it to make sure I had all the required documents.

(On the checklist it says you need to provide the HC with two self addressed, envelopes. Each one costs $7.65, so I bought one and was going to ask why they need two (remember: I’m cheap). Shebi they just need one envelope to mail my passport to me? And why can’t this cost be included in the administrative fees they charge me?)

When I showed up at the HC, the receptionist asked me if I had everything on the checklist. I told her yes and she took the items and started going through them. She then asked me if I had a copy of the checklist. I said I didn’t (I had written all over the one I had printed out) and she said “Well, how am I supposed to know if you have all the required documents? You need a checklist.” (In my head I’m thinking This is your job, this is a standard passport application, shouldn’t you know or have written down the required items?)

My response was to ask her if they had copies of the checklists at the office. She said no. I reluctantly brought out my messed up checklist, thanking God that I had brought it with me. Nowhere on their website does it say you need to have this checklist with you.

(Advice to the HC – have copies of these checklists printed up at your office so you can easily use them, or as the #1 item on the checklist, indicate that applicants have to bring a copy of the checklist with them.)

As she went through my the checklist, she noted that I hadn’t brought my completed online application form. I told her that there is no opportunity during the process to print this, and all you can print is the acknowledgement form. She said I was wrong, to go home and try again.

(Advice to the HC -if you’re going to tell the applicant they’re wrong, please be able to show them a copy of the form they are missing, and furthermore, be able to explain to them how they can print this form from the internet.)

There was another item that I didn’t have, the proof of payment. Ok, that’s a lie: I had a sheet that says “Nigeria Immigration Service” at the top and “Your payment process was successful! Please print your acknowledgement and receipt slip” at the bottom, but that was the wrong sheet. She said I should go home and try printing it again. I wasn’t actually mad about this second form sha: she had a sample copy of the sheet in front of her so I knew I must have the wrong sheet.

Oh, remember the envelope? I asked her why I needed two and she said that after I drop off my documents, they will mail me another form that I need to complete, then drop off or mail back to them, then they will send me my passport. That explained the need for two envelopes, so that was that.

When I got home, I was able to print the second sheet but not a copy of the application form. I very carefully organized my documents, this time numbering each with a sticky note, from 1 to 8, so that she could verify with me that everything was there. And I got a second envelope and addressed it as required.

She commended me on this and said it “couldn’t have been better”. I was proud, I’m not going to lie.

But then we got to attachment number 3, the application form. It wasn’t there; I had the same form from the day before. “Sorry”, she said, “they’re not going to let you do it.” I told her to please take me to a computer with internet access so I could show her that I can’t print a copy of my application form. I can’t even see a copy of my application form, just the acknowledgement form that I had printed. She called someone to come down and help me.

Another employee showed up and the receptionist told him what was going on, that I was missing item 3. He flipped through my documents, asked me three times if I live in the city (yes), then as I tried to explain to him that I need a computer, he ignored me and flipped to the photocopy of my father’s passport and asked if that picture (of a male) was my father. I said yes and went back to explaining that I can’t print the form. He wasn’t listening. He got to the picture of my mother and asked me if she was my mother. I said yes. He asked again if I live in the city. Finally he looked back at me and I told him that I need to know what I should do about this missing item number 3. He said “Oh, don’t worry about it,” then he asked me why I had two envelopes because since I live here I could just wait and they could give me the form to fill out instead of mailing it to me!

I almost screamed because that was $15 wasted (I was dropping off my sister’s application too).

All in all, I’m sure my frustrations are minor compared to most. And if I get my passport in time I will forget all this back and forth (I have to go back there since my sister’s confirmation had not yet shown up), kia kia. Pray for me!

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15 thoughts on “Adventures dealing with the HC

  1. Welcome to being a correct Nigerian. Na so we dey suffer for their hand. At least u saw pple to talk to. At the Nigerian embassy in ATL, u don't even see anyone. They have those mirrors where they can see u but u can't see them. You only here their voices. I swear, it's frustrating as hell.

  2. @bumight

    The actual online application process was a breeze, faster than the Canadian form to fill out so I think we're headed in the right direction…right? But seriously when it comes to projecting an aura of organization and a well-oiled process…let's just say the HC could use some help.

    @solomonsydelle

    lol well I've been told to expect anything o! Thanks for the prayers. :)

    @sting

    Wow, that would be weird. I think we're just too trusting in Canada to go into that sort of technology of the two-way mirror or whatever you call am.

  3. Girl sorry oo!!! That embassy!! I HATE GOING THERE!!! So they just "took" your money. Since you live in Ottawa, they should not mail you the form or the passport. you fill it right there at the passport office and you can come and pick up your passport when they are done. If you wait for them to send it to you, your on a loooooooooong thing!! I did mine this summer. to say I was pissed would be an understatement. Fortunately I know someone that works there. Call them after 2 weeks your passport should be ready!!!

  4. Passport applications are hard to do with really hard it´s always an experience one has to go through to really understand …. It´s always lie that something is missing this and that in the end yo just give up Just give up

    he best is go there ask what they need and come back with all they want before you pay

    Sorry Girl but that´s how it is all over africa I think

  5. I pray that when I have to deal with them that it will go smoothly… in Jesus' Name… o ya… agree with me in prayer

    My aunt a couple of years ago had to curse them out… she was so mad at them… they had forgotten to stamp my cousin's passport or something like that and he was to leave for Nigeria within hours… anyways they made a serious exception in his case… they actually went to meet them at the airport….

    someone needs to train Nigeria as a whole on the art of customer service

  6. aaaaaarrrrrrrrrrggggggggggggghhhhhhhhhh! … I'm cringinging… is thete something about naija that screams; mediocrity…

    I clearly commend u, u, my dear, are extremely patient! good luck O!

  7. I can just imagine. Applying for a passport in Nigeria itself is on another level of chaos and the stench of corruption.. but I will not go there.

    Hope you are having fun, and anticipationg your trip!

  8. Nigerians are the same everywhere!!! No customer service, no correct processes in place. Immediately u enter the Nigerian HC in the UK..u know u r HOME

    Men these things require serious prayers o

    Pele

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