If you’re Nigerian and you’re resident in or visiting Malaysia, or you’re a foreigner who for some reason wants to visit Nigeria, the place to go to is the Nigerian High Commission on Jalan Ampang Hilir in Kuala Lumpur. I recently needed to renew my passport, and getting information about what is required was a difficult process. Here, we’ll walk you through the steps and requirements to get your Nigerian passport renewed in Kuala Lumpur. If you’re in a hurry, you can just jump to the registration requirements.
The Nigerian High Commission in Kuala Lumpur is an interesting place. It’s also one of my least favourite places to visit or be in Kuala Lumpur. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to be among your own people, but I still almost always get the feeling that I’m an outsider every time I’m there.
The embassy is located where almost all the national embassies are in Ampang. You can’t miss it on 85, Jalan Ampang Hilir, Kuala Lumpur—there’ll almost certainly be some Nigerians standing around outside—which the embassy is trying to stop for some reason (we’ll get the ambassador to comment on that and more soon). You have to take a taxi or drive yourself to the embassy as there are no direct buses or trains going in this direction (the nearest being Ampang, Dato’ Keramat and Jelatek LRTs).
It’s open from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm daily officially, but if you have anything to do there, the best thing to do for yourself is get to the commission as early as possible. Someone I met there said they arrived at 7:00 am and there were already 15 names on the register (I’ll get to this later). I got there at 9:00 am and it was relatively full—certainly not as packed as the Pakistani embassy I passed on my way to photocopy my documents (also more on this later). It is important to note that official activities start at around 9:30-10:00 am though, based on the ‘register’.
Before my visit in the first week of October, the only time I had been to the embassy was in 2012 and boy, was I disappointed. The dingy wooden rectangular waiting area (called the ‘White House’) looked like it could collapse from its raised platform at any time. Back then, the ‘hall’ just had rows of chairs and two long tables for the embassy officials to do their business. There wasn’t any air-conditioning, so every few minutes you had to go outside for a breather.
It isn’t like that anymore. The white-painted wooden rectangular box is still there. Now, however, it has air-conditioning and a TV with CNN! Yay! Naija no dey carry last. There is still room for improvement, especially with the ‘register’.
The ‘register’ is a foolscap notebook used for registering stuff, yes, but in 2016 when technology is everywhere, you’d expect that Nigeria—Africa’s largest economy on paper that is now in a depression—could at least afford an automated registration system, similar to those used in banks and some other organised embassies. When you get to the High Commission, remember to write your name, passport number, and purpose of visit in the register (it’s usually unmanned and placed next to the security guardhouse). That is the order that the names are called out.
Unfortunately, people get there at 7:00 am and write down the names of five of their friends who arrive much later at 10:00 am. So even if you get there at 7:00 am and there are only three people physically there, the register page for the day may already have 30 entries in it. An automated system (press A for passport renewal, B for visas, C for other services etc.) might not solve this completely, but it helps simplify a process that is unnecessarily complex.
In addition to an automated registration system, the High Commission could also do with some more staff on the front line.* There were just three and they were not all there at the same time. Like one would leave for extended periods, come back in the box for 20 seconds and then disappear through the back door again. If there were more staff, things could perhaps get done faster.
Perhaps, the High Commission should also consider having a photocopier and printer for people somewhere in the waiting area. I doubt that most people would have a problem paying to have their documents photocopied for a fee as long as they don’t have to make a small journey to get the same service elsewhere. That happened to me.
I didn’t realize I had to make copies my passport, so after they called my name from the register and I discovered what was required, I had to take a RM13 Uber ride (to and fro) to a business centre called Speed Print. The problem with Speed Print is that nothing about their service that day was speedy, and they almost could not print the one document I needed them to. A change of name might be in order. For now, with no such services at the embassy, you need to ensure you have all your documents ready, otherwise, it’s until the next day for you.
The staff needs to be more courteous or at least try to be civil. Of the six staff (four Nigerians and two Malaysians) I’ve encountered at the embassy, only two of the Nigerians and all the foreigners were formal. The others had a certain unwelcoming, and most times, aggressive air about them that said: “Follow our orders and don’t ask questions or get the hell out of here.”
To the Nigerian government, you need to do something about that. If you care about that sort of thing.
Requirements for Passport Renewal
If you are on this page just for the required documents, we’re finally here. It is important to note that there are three phases. The first is the submission, where you go and give them all the documents needed. To start you need to visit portal.immigration.gov.ng. You’ll see the ePassport link that will provide you with three documents after paying the US$106 fee (if you’re not a government official, select the Standard ePassport option). The documents you should print out and have ready are:
1. Standard ePassport Application Form
2. Passport Acknowledgement Slip
3. Passport Payment Slip
4. Photocopy of the information page and visa page of your current passport
5. Application Letter (stating your name, current passport number and why you want to renew your passport—sample attached)
6. Guarantor’s Form (printed and filled from the immigration portal link above)
7. Photocopy of the information page and visa page of your guarantor (your guarantor can be any Nigerian citizen resident in the same country that you’re in)
The second stage is the data ‘capture’ phase where the High Commission registers your fingerprints and takes additional passport photographs for the passport. For this stage, you need the following:
1. Existing Nigerian passport
2. An extra RM200**
After the data capture process is done, you’ll be given a slip (WHATEVER YOU DO, DON’T LOSE THE SLIP) and told that they’ll call you when your passport is ready. The entire process can take months,* so be prepared. It is also important to note that you can only capture and submit information for passport renewal on Mondays to Wednesdays, while Thursdays and Fridays only are for the passport collection. The slip and a copy of your old passport are required when you go to collect your new passport.
That’s it. What’s the process like at your embassy in Malaysia? Is it more or less stressful? Are there any areas you think can be improved? Did I miss out any details or you have some information to add? Let me know in the comment section, and remember to bookmark this page share with your friends and network. Cheers!
UPDATE: Fair warning
* If you have limited patience, I’ll advise you to get more, a lot more, before going to the Nigerian embassy for just about anything. It took me three months, countless trips to the embassy, days off work and innumerable insults from the staff to just renew my passport. They said it would take two weeks. The insults were not indicated.
From the security guards to the head of the consulate, everyone at the embassy is very, very rude. It’s like they make extra effort to be. Like they haven’t been paid or something. Ask any Nigerian who has ever been to the embassy in Kuala Lumpur. Anyone who walks in that compound automatically loses all value, has nothing better to do with their time, and are despondent. That’s how the staff make you feel.
** No one at the embassy was able to confirm what the extra RM200 was for. It isn’t stated anywhere that people have to pay any extra fees to process the passports. I still believe that this is “side money” for the people at the embassy (I stand corrected, someone please tell me what it is for).
I asked at least five people who renewed their passports in the last two months, only three were required to pay: one in September and two in October. That means it is random and based on the judgment of the embassy staff.
UPDATE: 4 October 2017
The Nigerian Consulate took some solid steps to improve its process with a new website and appointment scheduling system.
None of those currently work.
The website is significantly broken, and the operator I talked to said that (in most cases) they “don’t honour the appointments made online for capture because there are many people applying for passport renewal.”
You’ll still be required to print out the forms you get after applying online and submitting it physically to the consulate where you’ll be given a capture date that may be “before or after” your online-scheduled date. The rep didn’t know how long the process will take.
UPDATE: 22 October 2017
I met with LR from Japan (see comments) on 20 October 2017. The entire process took less than a week, from submission to collection of the new passports.
They also noted that the staff there were more courteous, and the entire process was generally pain-free.
We hope the improved process is a new standard that continues. Meanwhile, the new website remains a mess.