I VENT: my Nigerian High Commission Experience in the UK!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Hello,

Early last month I travelled to London to renew my Nigerian Passport for the umpteenth time(I don’t understand why we constantly have to renew an “E-passport” in hardcopy). Although I initially planned to go to Nigeria for it, but I figured I would not be visiting home soon, and it was only sensible to visit the Nigeria high commission office(NHC) in the UK. (I have had this post in mind for a while, but lack of time to type this narrative, deterred the upload)

A month before, I went on the official website to book an appointment date as I had to do biometrics. The first charge was in dollars(I wonder why), I paid $65 for the passport renewal, after which I was automatically given an appointment date which was the next day(I did not get to choose). I felt it was an automated response, So I called their office to ask for a reschedule.

I cant’t even begin to explain how lackadaisical and rude the operator responded, but still I laid my request. The operator further replied “Uhmm miss, maybe you should visit the website” , I was quite perplexed  but I calmed my nerves and said ” well I just did, that’s how I realised the error and also got your phone number”. He said ok and referred me another website to input my details. ( I was wondering why they didn’t just put all the info on one website) . However, I finally was able to book a preferred date and a time slot between 1 to 100 for 10am-5:30pm.

As a punctual person I picked slot 3 meaning I would be attended to before 11am and there would be order in the process. The webpage also prompted me to print out the confirmatory mail I was sent entailing my payment receipt and appointment time, I did. The adjoining documents required me to bring “My old passport, payment receipt,and a £20 postal order for “administrative charges”(they supposedly would recieve the hardcopy passport from Abuja, Nigeria). I made arrangements for all.

THE APPOINTMENT DAY:

So remember I mentioned that the appointment was for 10am, but as an over-sabi I got to the NHC at central London an hour before (thanks to my dad constantly telling me to leave the house). To my greatest dismay, the queue I met in front of the building was astonishing (To think I was extremely punctual!). I was shocked, I started asking people ” Excuse me, but I thought we were all allocated time slots”  the lady I asked had not even finished answering my question when the security guard shouted in the thickest Hausa accent ever ” Madam it is first come first serve!!” (I instantly forgot I was in the UK). I thought to my self “why upload something on an online platform and not implement it”. I quietly joined the queue (Mind you, the office was not even opened, staff were just arriving).

After about 45minutes in the cold (Thank God I wore a coat), The Security guard started checking our documents in the cold. (SECURITY GUARD), I was wondering why he had access to our data, and why someone wasn’t employed to do this job. One by one I watched people being sent back to reprint one document or the other, some brought £20 cash instead of a postal order (like a cheque addressed to the NHC), The security guard was certainly enjoying his moments in a position of authority.

It finally got to my turn, (Smiling enthusiastically) I said Morning sir” , “Morning sister” he replied, I handed him all my documents, he checked it all and said ” Sister, your documents are complete but your confirmatory slip shows payment confirmed instead of payment received”. At this point, I didn’t know whether to laugh or say ‘EHNN!’ but I politely replied “Meaning what? Sir, doesn’t received and confirmed sort of mean the same thing in this context”. He started telling me how he had been doing this job since forever and I should have ‘received’ on my paper. I asked him what I should do next.

Can you believe the man directed me to a Pakistani corner shop/cybercafe and said I should just give the vendor my documents and he would “fix it”, I obliged.

I walked past Northumberland avenue to the store, gave the vendor as instructed and he printed a new copy for me and I paid £3. At that moment I wasn’t too concerned about the inefficiency of the Nigerian house/the security guard/ or my computer since I was not the only one with the issue, so I kept calm and walked back.

Luckily on getting back I didn’t have to join the queue which at this time was entering the streets, the guard recognised me and asked me to go in. I went into the building and behold another realm of protocols and crowd. I received a tally number and sat. For the next hour, I waited, whilst hearing children cry, women talking, the security inside shouting tally numbers, people complaining and the man beside me asking rather irrelevant questions just because he wanted to get my number,  It felt like a federal hospital in Lagos, I  was just sad.

Finally “The indoor guard screamed Number 65” I swiftly got up and went to the counter. The lady was pleasant, she collected my passport and other documents and asked me to return to my seat. It was 1:30pm. After 30minutes of extra wait, I was called to go the next stage, which was on the next floor. Where I sat again, waiting.

Shortly after, I was called into a small room with 4 monitors and attendants, I was asked to stay still for a photo-op and biometrics(finger print). it took 3minutes only and I was asked to put all my documents in a priority mail envelope, So my new passport can be posted back to me in Scotland, as I wouldn’t be able to come back to London the following week for collection. Smiling and thinking my struggle was over, I asked for the envelope, the man looked at me and said “It has finished, please go and buy at the post office by the train station”.

It felt like a punch, I literally had to walk to the post office (8minute walk) to buy one, of which the “priority  mail envelope” costs £7.20. I just paid in anger, walked back to the NHC office, followed the last set of instructions, and was free to go home.

MY MAIN PAIN, AMONGST OTHERS:

  • WHY DO THEY EMPLOY RUDE & UNENTHUSIASTIC PEOPLE AS CALL OPERATORS IN A HIGH COMMISSION.
  • WHY DOES THE WEBSITE NOT CORRELATE WITH ACTUAL PROTOCOLS.
  • WHY DOES A 10-MINUTE PROCESS TAKE 4HOURS TO COMPLETE, THANKS TO IRRELEVANT PROTOCOLS.
  • WHY DON’T THEY HAVE ENVELOPES?? WHAT HAPPENED TO INVENTORY MANAGEMENT.
  • WHY ARE THERE EXTRA CHARGES WITHOUT NOTIFICATION? WHAT IF I DIDN’T BRING EXTRA CASH.
  • WHY IS THE NIGERIAN FLAG IN FRONT OF THE BUILDING OLD AND DIRTY :s
  • AND WHY DID I WEAR HEELS 😦

Oh well! thats the end of my rant, and if you ever have to do this process, kindly plan your day around this badly organized appointment.

However I  received my  passport about 12days later via mail but had to pick it up at the post office as it needed to be signed for.

sure all is well with you…speak soon

Got questions, requests or suggestions? Kindly leave a comment below.

Missed my last post? Read Here

xoxo

Tosin.

 

74 Comments on “I VENT: my Nigerian High Commission Experience in the UK!

  1. I feel you completely! Went through this exact same process late last year, without the queue at the entrance and the post thing at the end. I was so let down. What struck me the most was how we are able to create the exact same vibe you would expect back at home. The exact vibe. It’s like coming off of the Britishness of Northumberland avenue, you step into a time-distance vortex of Nigerinaness. Even down to the decor of that packed hall!

  2. Omo omo omo!! Thank God for calming techniques and other things.This is just TOO unprofessional. I can’t…I just can’t deal. The supposed professional doesn’t know that “confirmed” and “received” mean the same thing?! This is not funny mehn. Pele dear! 😦

      • My dear, I know this post is old but I feel you completely!!! in the middle of renewing my Nigeria passport in London and Jeez the mountain I am having to climb. I had to dig out my Nigerian core qualities to even be heard there , they are soooooo rude , everyone trying to be a big oga!! God help Naija !

  3. Pingback: UPDATED NATURAL HAIR REGIMEN « AFRICANISM COSMOPOLITAN

  4. I have felt your pain!! I hope to never go back to the embassy in the near future it was such a waste of time the last time I was there- I missed two coaches home because I was just waiting and waiting for my appt with no word of what was going on! One thing I did not expect- one of the staff who had not been addressing anybody’s frustrations now went on the tannoy to say “can the person who has taken one of our staff’s pen, please return it!”….PEN! they are not concerned with being organised but are concerned with their stationary! smh, anyway lol I hope you got your passport in the end

    xx

  5. Hi Tosin, thanks a lot for this, as I’m about to get my passport renewed. Quick question…the 65 dollars you paid was that the total amount for the whole passport renewal process, or did you pay some more money at some point?
    Thank you

      • Just did mine two days and I am going on1 Jun I need to register schedule water was the website two do that place is really need it fast as I do not have any time left plzzzzzx help me

  6. Howdy! This is my first visit to your blog!
    We are a collection of volunteers and starting
    a new project in a community in the same niche. Your blog provided us valuable information to work on. You have done a extraordinary job!

  7. Spot on with this write-up, I truly believe that this web site needs
    a lot more attention. I’ll probably be returning to
    see more, thanks for the information!

  8. Came across your blog when I was searching for info on the useless Nigerian embassy! (Their website is so poorly laid out and and they don’t seem to like answering the phone) My appointment to renew my passport has been booked for November at last – I’m praying for patience!! haha

  9. …and the man beside me asking me irrelevant and stupid questions in the weirdest Nigerian-British accent just because he wanted to get my number, It felt like a federal hospital in Lagos, I was more than irritated…
    This certainly made my day…chai nah only that guy waka come ohhhh.lol

  10. Waoh, Tosin thanks a lot for sharing your experience. Am kind of scared of what will happen tomorrow as have got my appointment in London for tomorrow morning.
    The incompetency level is ridiculously high.
    I received an email regarding my appointment but no address, no opening or closing time.
    Hmm God have mercy, am only aware of 56-57 fleet st London.

    Kindly advise if there is any other location in London.

    • The one I actually went to was on Northumberland avenue, I think the one on fleet street has been closed or so….. please confirm. BTW don’t be scared just go in due(early) time. I was only venting. lol, all the best dear

  11. Hello Tosin,

    Thanks for what I consider a very insightful blog. I’m just about to renew my passport which is due to expire in a few days. I went through the NHC website and I was told it was $65 and the £20 postal order like you righty stated but when I tried to go through the process, it started demanding for $106. By the way, I was rerouted through to some ‘Innovate’ website, where I was apparently supposed to make the payment.

    Do you know of any change in the renewal fee?? Is the ‘Innovate’ website legit?

    Cheers!

    M.C

    • Hello, thanks for the comment I appreciate you taking out time to read and give feedback. I’m not aware of this new change neither do I know about the innovate website. I think you could call the NHC office to confirm before making any payment online. However, its a government parastatal so I doubt any changes would be fraudulent.

  12. Hi Tosin, I am about to embark on the same journey as you did to get your passport but I hope it would be short of the experience you had. Abeg, what are the documents required? I resent the “go back and forth” kind of experience at the gate. The list of documents required for presentation at the gate are not stated explicitly on the HC site or NIS site either. Besides, does ‘everyone’ has to visit the side corner shop to get the ‘payment received’ letter? Can the letter be printed by applicants after completing the application online? I don’t want to contact the Hc for information but will like to hear directly from you as a ex-applicant. I live far away from London. I will appreciate if you could list the documents you think are required in order to prevent delays. I also hope to get a priority envelope in case it is not available. Should I self address the envelope? I appreciate your help.

    • Hello, I can’t really remember but I’m sure all the documents are explicitly listed on the website. That’s where I saw them. You can print out the payment received/confirmed page by your self just ensure the page shows you that. Also I think you don’t need a priority envelope but paraventure they don’t have you can buy it yourself prior. Randomly I think the documents required are your appointment letter, postal order, payment received/confirmation slip, old passport booklets. That’s all I can remember now. So sorry about that. So self address the envelope; regardless of where you buy it you’d have to address it yourself but instructions would be given at the passport office. But However go there with a positive mindset, you may have a stress less experience 😊! All the best.

  13. Hi Tosin,

    A good laugh at the end of the day I must say! It reminds of the experience I had back in 2010 when I had to make that “journey” as well.

    Going back to M’s post (of Jan 28, 2015) as regards the new payment solution…
    Has anyone got any info on this?
    I am also preparing to renew my current passport. However, the fee has gone up to $106. Not that it’s a worry, but just to be sure “the Security guard” doesn’t declare I have paid the wrong amount/to the wrong organization!

    Any info much appreciated!
    Thanks

    Hi Tosin,
    A good laugh at the end of the day I must say!
    It reminds of the experience I had back in 2010 when I had to make that “journey”

  14. Hey Tosin,

    I just wanted to ask you how long it took to get the passport after the whole interview palava, as my mum and I have our interview for the 8th but will be travelling to Naija on the 18th and so I wanted to know if we would be able to receive it before then or if I have to call them up to change the date to a closer one?

  15. Hey Tosin,

    I just wanted to ask you how long it took to get the passport after the whole interview palava, as my mum and I have our interview for the 8th but will be travelling to Naija on the 18th and so I wanted to know if we would be able to receive it before then or if I have to call them up to change the date to a closer one?

    Thank you

      • Yeah we went to do it today- we got there 9:45 didn’t get in till about 10:30 and didn’t finish till about 1pm and when we finished they told us we can pick it up next week Thursday so about 7days which is long but at least we get it before we travel!

        Thank you

  16. I see things haven’t changed. Back in 2010 applied for a visa to go home and despite paying the express fee with the priority envelope, it still took a week to get done and me making a trip to the London to collect. Not looking forward to this experience again… Especially not in December (weather and longer queues)

  17. Hi, thanks for your write up. I went to the NHC on the 19th of february for reissue of my passport and its been more than 3weeks now and I have still not received it. I did leave an envelope with them for return postage. I tried calling the embassy but no one has an explanation as to what what has happened to my passport. They kept transferring me from one extension to the other until the line will be disconnected. Im thinking of travelling down to the embassy. Has this happened to anyone before. I really worried especially becos of my old passport that has visas, resident permit…thanks

    • Hello, so sorry about this. Hmm maybe you should call your local post office to find out. they usually require you to pick it up at the post office for security reasons and not to your doorstep. Since you may not have a delivery card its best you go to the embassy yourself. I’m sorry again.

      • Thanks for your prompt reply. I have just gone to the post office and they have no record of it. So I may have to go to the embassy. Will let you know how it goes. Hopefully well! Cheers.

  18. Please, how long does whole process take i.e. from applying online, to the interview to final collection? Thanks.

  19. “He said ok and referred me another website to input my details. ( I was wondering why they didn’t just put all the info on one website) ”

    Please, what was this other site? Because I am finding trouble knowing where to book this appointment date?!!!!

    x x

    • Hi, your interview appointment date is on the acknowledgment printout and also on the receipt you printed. They flashed a message that the appointment booking page is no longer used but just to be safe book a date on it same as the one on your receipt

      • Thanks for this info. Are you saying the appointment booking page is not longer required? Can I book a date different to my appointment date?

  20. Please does anyone have any information on how to fill the online forms for first time passport for a third party? I am trying to fill out the application for my little 9 month old who has not been issued a passport before

  21. Hi Tosin nice write up. Very informative. I just submitted the application for my kids and was given an interview date of september 12th which is quite far away. I was also told to book any appointment online so why do we have to do that when we already have an interview date? Can I just book an interview for two weeks time and ignore the interview date of September 12th

  22. I can totally relate! They made me come back the next day telling me my details did not pop up on the system or something and they had to send my passport to Lekki.

    I’ve got a quick question. I paid for special delivery but haven’t received it till now. It’s only been two days but I’m panicking knowing how non challant this people can be. What’s the way forward? I’ve already contacted them and they gave me a long rude “speech” about how the special delivery was technically “my business” and was no longer their concern.

  23. I completely understand. Your post was hilarious! I went to the NHC yesterday to renew my passport and found it a rude shock that they wouldn’t even post it to you despite the £20 postal order which they claim was ‘processing fee’!!! Ridiculous!! God help us! When will we learn! I expect that at least they would pick up some politeness and better customer service skills with the office being right here in the UK! It is shameful! It does make me feel sick to the stomach.

  24. hi all,
    I intend going to the NHC London to make application for E-passport as I currently have the old one which will expire sometime in november.

    Been trying to get them on phone for over two weeks without success (not a good sign) for them to tell me what documents they exactly require from me.

    Does anyone know what documents they require? thanks in advance for the hints.

  25. All the requirements are online along with the fees. The process is much simplified. You need the following: Current passport. Completed application form. Postal order for 20 pounds payable to Nigerian High Commision. Payment slip. Acknowledge slip. These two will show your interview date. You also need to use the booking system to book your interview date. In my case I got a late interview date when I made payment but I was able to get an earlier date via the booking system. Take all these along with you on the day and you should be fine. The process is much easier now. Hope this helps. All info is online on their website

  26. Hello everyone,
    I have finished my online application and payment , received my interview date (found in the slips) and now in the process of booking my appointment date. Now, this is where i am stuck. A prompt keeps coming up that Application ID should be 7 characters long but mine is 8 characters. What do i do? Please help.

  27. hello everyone,
    i am through with my online application and payment process and about to book my appointment date. Now, this is where i am stuck. A prompt keeps appearing that Application ID should be 7 characters long but mine is 8. What do i do? Please help
    Thank you

  28. hello, i just paid online and got an interview date early november which is far, but i want to use the booking system to book an earlier date, has anyone tried it before? did it work? or is it compulsory to book a slot only for the given interview dates? please help a sister, i urgently need my passport..
    thanks

    • You can book any date. I had a date for 2 months away and booked interview for last week and got everything done. Just make sure u print out the new booking slot and show them only that one first. If they ask you tell them you had an interview date for months down the line but you need to travel in 3 weeks time and you called the Embassy and told you to book an earlier date. It works well for others as well. Just make sure u say it with so much confidence. It’s just to pass the security who won’t stop you if you are polite to them. Confidence is the key.

  29. Thanks so much for the write up. The fact that i got directed to the innovate website threw me at first. It was quite easy to do.Unfortunately, I couldn’t print the confirm page, but I have the e- mail confirming my booking. In a normal world, that should suffice,but will it satisfy someone who does not know that confirmed and received mean the same thing? Also, how early do i have to be at the embassy, so that I can at least be amongst the first 10 to go in? i have an important appointment at 2pm, so I would need to be out of there by 12.30 pm

  30. Please does anyone know how long it really takes for the passport to be ready? I heard the booklets are in short supply.

  31. Hi i made an error while filling my passport application form and i only realised the error after payment. Does anyone one know if the error can be amended during my appointment. Any help will be appreciated. This is really important, I have tried calling them so many time but there is always no response.

    • Yes – there is currently a backlog, I spoke to a member of staff and they think it will be 3 months to get a replacement passport (as at 30 January 2017). You have to keep checking the Nigeria HC website to wait for updates on when they are ready. Naturally they don’t tell you that (clearly) on the website!

  32. I am a bit worried. I did my passport renewal at London on the 27th Jan 2017. Is been 3 weeks and yet to receive my passport. I did paid for postal delivery. I check online and my application status shows ” vetted” Has any receive his/her passport?

  33. This made me laugh so much. Thank you for sharing. That booking system that says application ID needs to be 7 characters long i just removed the last number and the application went forward 😂

  34. I applied for a renewal in July 2017; the computer generated receipt said it would be ready early August however the chap who did my biometrics laughed and advised me to come back in October 2017.
    My concern is that it’ll be October next week however for the last 5 weeks, the online update regarding passports now ready for collection has been stating that only those who were told to come before 8th June 2017 were ready for collection.
    So I guess my collection will be next year at this rate

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: