Passport interventions have become a necessary evil. Passport renewals are every five years. You can get a renewal at any one of three consulate offices serving the United States of America: New York, Atlanta and Washington DC. People travel, by air or road, hundreds of miles to get to one of these offices.
The consulate offices are close in observance of Nigeria Holidays. As a result, many travelers with passport service appointments are stranded because of failure to give the general public prior notice.
Root Cause Analysis
Passport interventions are now a big business. With a charge of $100 per person, you can easily generate $50,000 during an intervention. The saddest part of all this is, the poor service provided. Most people may not mind paying the fee in lieu of travel. The slow capture of biometric data by consulate officials using only one station, creates a nightmarish situation.
The consulate uses third parties to organize the intervention. Some third parties like ONN are more ethical than the others. Some complaints are that some people arrive at the intervention by 3 a.m. for three day period. They stay all day and still not get service. This adds insult to injury when officials refuse to give them refunds.
Their focus is on collecting money, and not on providing good service. The officials unscrupulously avoid accountability. They do not publish contact information or “no refund” on their flyers. They collect cash only and do not issue refunds when services are not provided.
Until the authorities get involved, there may not be an end in sight to this nightmare.
Last year 2019, the Nigeria government issued a directive that increase the passport validity to 10 years. The government now allows holders of foreign passports with “Nigeria as place of birth” to enter Nigeria without a visa. These two directives will help alleviate the excess demand for passport services in the United States of America.