What is ECOWAS e-Passport?
The ECOWAS e-Passport is an electronic passport issued to citizens of ECOWAS-member countries for international travel. The ECOWAS e-Passport is only available to countries which are part of ECOWAS.
The ECOWAS e-Passport is slightly different from the old Nigerian international passport because all your information is now stored online with the new passport.
The ECOWAS e-Passport is easy to acquire. The applicant’s bio is inputted electronically, and this makes the procedure more flexible, stress-free, and easy to track.
The ECOWAS e-Passport is of three types:
a. The Diplomatic Passport which comes with a red colour
b. The Standard Passport in green colour and
c. The Official Passport which comes with a blue or white colour.
How long does it take to get the ECOWAS e-Passport after application?
The final stage of applying for an ECOWAS e-Passport is the biometric data capturing. After this has been done, it takes about two weeks or less for the passport to be ready. Sometimes, due to undisclosed reasons, the e-Passport might take up to four weeks before it is ready for collection.
It should be noted that there are two types of e-Passports booklets – the 32-page and 64-page passport booklet. The latter is advised for applicants who travel a lot on a yearly basis.
Full process of applying for the ECOWAS e-Passport
The full process of applying for an ECOWAS e-passport are as follows:
1. Log in to the official website portal of the Nigerian Immigration Services – https://immigration.gov.ng
2. Select the Passport type
You should go for the 64-page passport if you are a frequent traveller.
3. Start your application
4. Fill the application form with your accurate data, and upload all the required documents.
5. Make your payments
You should choose the payment option that is best for you.
Once payment has been made, an application ID and a reference number will be given to you. Make sure this is documented safely for future reference (s).
6. Print out the guarantor’s form and have it licensed.
7. Click on ‘Submit’ to tender your completed application form.
8. Go to your specified immigration office for physical capturing and to submit additional required documents.
Is the ECOWAS e-Passport the same thing as the International Passport?
There have been quite a lot of controversies about the similarity between the ECOWAS e-Passport and regular the International Passport. Both passports, however, are standard means of identification in Nigeria and approved for international travel.
The ECOWAS e-Passport has come to replace the old international passport which is no longer issued. Both passports can be used to travel within and out of Africa. The ECOWAS e-Passport is a general requirement for visa-free countries as a means of identification.
Additionally, the ECOWAS e-Passport grants the holder the power to travel to the 14 ECOWAS-member countries without applying for a visa.
The 14 countries are Benin Republic, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, Nigeria, Gambia, Togo, Guinea, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali, Senegal, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea-Bissau.
What other countries can you travel visa-free with the ECOWAS e-Passport?
There are certain countries Nigerians can visit with just the ECOWAS e-Passport. They include:
a. Micronesia – Visa-free for 30 days
b. Senegal – Visa-free for 90 days
c. Vanuatu – Visa-free for 30 days
d. Haiti – Visa-free for 90 days.
e. Benin – Visa-free for 3 months.
f. Mauritius – Visa-free for 90 days.
g. Gambia – Visa-free for 90 days.
h. Liberia – Visa-free for 90 days.
i. Fiji Island – Visa-free for 4 months.
j. Barbados – Visa-free for six months.
k. Dominica – Visa-free for 180 days.
l. Seychelles – Visa-free for 90 days.
m. Saint Kitts and Nevis – Visa-free for 90 days,
and some others.