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Travel and Passports

Passports are issued by a country’s government and it confirms a person’s identity and nationality for worldwide travel.  Passports basically contain information like the bearer’s place of birth, name, date of birth, photograph, signature etc.  When planning to travel out of the boarders of your home country to any other country, the first thing you would need to process is your international passport and have it ready before any other thing. You don’t need a passport for local flights or trips within your country of origin.

   

In Nigeria, passports are usually issued by the Nigerian immigration service. They are not processed immediately and may take a duration of weeks to be ready. The standard Nigerian passport consists of two categories, a 32 page passport with a 5 year validity and a 64 page passport with a 10 year validity. The 32 page passport has 33 usable pages for visas, stamps or stickers. Frequent travelers go for the 64 page passport, as it has more usable pages.

There are also different types of passports based on purpose of travel and they include

Emergency passports: These types of passports are issued temporarily in urgent situations like when you loose your passport or have it stolen and do not have time available to apply for a new one, upon contacting your embassy, you would be issued this passport. This passport is just for the moment to get you to your destination on emergency grounds, hence you will have to process a new and valid passport on arrival to your destination.

E-passport : These are also known as electronic passports which are also available in Nigeria. This type of passport booklet has a electronic chip in it which helps prevent passport fraud.  This electronic chip on the front of the passport booklet holds the same information that is in the passport data page and also has a bio-metric identifier. It makes it way too difficult to impersonate another person.

Official passport: This type of passport is meant for government employees, entering another country for official purposes. The official passport doesn’t come with any special privileges.

Diplomatic passport: This is a special type of passport meant for diplomats sent to foreign missions, representing their home country for official purposes. This passport comes with special privileges and immunities, like exemption from taxes or prosecution.

While travelling out of the country you need to actually present your passport several times at the airport and even at border checks while travelling by road. A passport should have at least 6 months validity before using it to travel. The Nigerian passport is ranked 82nd in the world by the 2022 passport index, with access to 48 nations without visa.

It is important to be a law abiding citizen especially while leaving your country and representing where you are from in a foreign land.  The Nigerian presidential committee recently deactivated 200 Nigerian passports as they were Covid-19 test defaulters. They were found to posses fake vaccination cards and fake PCR tests.  The Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi  stated “It has come to the notice of the State Government that certain returning passengers present themselves at the airport either with fake COVID-9 PCR tests or fake vaccination cards or registering as children under 10 years to bypass the National guidelines or providing false COVID related information.”

“These acts will not be tolerated as they represent the main catalyst of all the four waves which have had a major impact on the State public health systems and the economy.”

“We have submitted the first 200 names of individuals who have failed to present themselves at the mobile courts to the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) and their passports have been deactivated for a period of one year”.

Passport Hack: Always have a soft copy of your Passport backed up in the cloud in case of loss of belongings  or theft, to enable easy access at borders.

 

The power of your International Passport

There remains a glaring gap in freedom for global travel by citizens of different nations across the world. While some nationals enjoy a wide variety of countries they can visit with just their internationak passports and no visa hassle, other nationalities have limited access to gain entrance into some Countries with just their passports. The sad truth is even with international passports travel is still limited for some nationalities around the world. Different passports have different strengths, which implies some passports are more powerful than others.

 

The world’s leading and most powerful passports in terms of travel freedom without visa applications are Japan and Singapore. The Henley passport index reports that Japan and Singapore ranks top before other countries in the world, making citizens of these nations have access to a whooping 192 countries without a visa!

Yes, you heard that right. Japanese and Singaporean passport holders  are able to enter 192 countries without a visa. According to Henley passport index 2021, which uses data from the international Air transport association (IATA), these two countries also tied first place in passport rankings last year.

Some passports actually allow their bearers more freedom of movement than others. Germany and South Korea are next in line with citizens having access to 190 countries without a visa, while the famous nations, the United Kingdom and United States of America come in 6th position with visa free movement to 186 nations around the world. Belgium, Norway, Switzerland and New Zealand also tie in for 6th position.

 

(Photo via kieferpix / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

 

On the other hand, Afghanistan ranks as one of the weakest passports globally with access of visa free travel to only 26 countries in the world. Iraqi passports allowing visa free entry into 28 countries for it’s citizens follows up close. Next in line is Syria, Pakistan and Yemen, with 29, 31 and 33 countries allowing them visa free entry respectively.  Mozambique with it’s citizens having visa free travel to 62 countries in the world. Nigerian passport having 50 visa free destinations for it’s citizens and ranks 82nd position globally for passport rankings in year 2022.

Why are some International Passports strong and some weak?

The strength of a passport may depend on several reasons and they may include how stable the country is in regards to economy, terror attacks and politics.  Also mutual understanding, reciprocity and diplomatic relations between countries play a major role and affect the strength of a passport. Nations with high populations or population issues like migration have a weaker passport.

“The borders within which we happen to be born, and the documents we are entitled to hold, are no less arbitrary than our skin color. Wealthier states need to encourage positive inward migration in an effort to help redistribute and rebalance human and material resources worldwide, including improving the size and quality of their own workforces,” stated Dr. Christian H. Kaelin, chairman of Henley & Partners.