Traveling with a Nigerian Passport

Happy Independence Day, Nigeria! Amidst the messy state that the country is in, I am still so proud to be Nigerian. Today, I am sharing some of my personal highs and lows of what it means to be traveling with a Nigerian passport. Enjoy.

The Highs of Traveling With A Nigerian Passport

Being able to cope with anything: Being Nigerian makes you very resilient and you might not appreciate this character trait until you leave home. What makes others stumble, makes you even stronger. I am mostly able to cope and move around and not feel sick or catch any allergies because I have a black man blood in me. Lol but seriously, I know a few people who will need to go get medication or see a doctor every time they got back from a foreign country, but for me, I can just carry on like a champ.

Dismissing Stereotypes: This is the one that makes me the happiest. I love being able to put to bed some of the nasty opinions people have about my country, Nigeria, everywhere that I go. The stereotypes are honestly very disheartening but for me, it’s an opportunity. It brings me great joy when I am able to re-educate people that Nigerians are smart, hardworking and very enlightened. I cannot count the number of times people have said, “Wow, you speak very good English.” “Wow, I didn’t know Nigerians travel too.” “Wow, Nigerians are good people.” I do not take their remarks personally because truth be told, they do not know better and I am grateful for the opportunity to be able to educate them, whether it’s by action or words. The feeling of having a little part to play in the re-education, is really one of my highest points of being a Nigerian traveler.

I love being able to put to bed some of the nasty opinions people have about my country, Nigeria, everywhere that I go.

The chance to represent my country: Often times, I am very aware that I might be the only Nigerian a particular foreigner will have the chance of meeting for the rest of their lives so I have to represent. I do not for the life of me, speak ill about my country because what is more stamping than hearing it from the horse’s mouth? You wouldn’t hear it from me, that is for sure. Only positive stories, the amazing and happy people, the great culture and the great weather. Ya.

Seeing Nigerians everywhere I go: Nigerians are indeed everywhere and if you doubt me, go to the least likely country to visit, and you will find them there too. Nothing better than spotting your fellow Nigerian and giving them that familiar nod. I have never gone anywhere and not spotted a Nigerian and while that might seem insignificant, it brings a sense of calm to my heart and just reminds me of the beautiful place I call home. No greater feeling than sharing common values and language with someone in a foreign place.

The Lows of Traveling With A Nigerian Passport

Visa Application: Honestly, this is the most frustrating thing about holding a Nigerian passport. Having to apply for Visas to almost everywhere is really annoying. I have definitely mastered the art of applying for visas and my family and friends have coined the name “Visa agent” for me. It is an actual struggle. However, there are some places Nigerians can travel to visa-free or at least obtain a visa on entry. Check them out here.

Suspicious looks at the airport: I am not sure if it is all in my head but I do get some stern looks by immigration officers. I know they often wear that stern look, anyway but I feel like it is a little bit extra when I present my green for checks. If you weren’t sure, you might be tempted to think you did something wrong. It no longer bothers me because I try to be as law-abiding as it gets, so there is really no reason to feel terrified.

Regardless, I love traveling with my Nigerian passport and certainly not one of those people who try to hide it in a different colored passport cover. Being a Nigerian traveler could get better, and it will, but till then, it is Nigerian and proud.

I love being able to put to bed some of the nasty opinions people have about my country, Nigeria, everywhere that I go

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What are some of your experiences traveling with a Nigerian passport, I will love to hear from you in the comments. And, do not forget to subscribe below!

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  1. The first time i travelled was to malaysia and i don’t think i experienced any downs.. Even the immigratn and customs were really nice and jovial.. My other travels have bn pretty fair so far and my dear the visa thingy is so annoying.. Story for another day.
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  2. My first experience traveling out of the country with my passport got me and my partners held up in a room for more than one hour. As soon as we presented our passports, we got ‘the looks’ and then they called us aside and took us to another room. I was so embarrassed. I can remember sitting there wondering if we’ll eventually get deported. Luckily, they eventually let us into their beloved country.

    I used to be neutral about my identity; wasn’t necessarily proud of it though but now, I have embraced it wholly and I’m glad – like you- to be able to dismiss stereotypes and represent the country wherever I go

    1. Oh no! Really sorry to hear you had such a horrible experience especially for the first time. That really sucks! It is such a shame that holding a Nigerian passport comes with all that suspicion. I really hope that things change soon and with great people like you traveling more and more, we can definitely rewrite the scripts. Thanks for sharing, Amarachi!

  3. While I agree with the highs, the lows overwhelm the highs. Visa applications are so so annoying. One time I was travelling to Canada from London, an airport staff had check my palms and the handle of my box for bomb residue or so. I was so pissed off. I pray things get better sha.

    1. Girl! Some of those airport staff are always reaching. They may have checked others with that same procedure too so sometimes do not take it too personally! The lows overwhelms the highs? I can’t disagree with you on that one. Hopefully it gets better. Thanks Simi!

  4. Great perspective on traveling with the green passport. I particularly love how you are not so negative because sometimes it can be extremely hard to find the positives of being Nigerian and traveling around.

    This was such a great read!

    Thelma X

    1. Have to find the silver lining, you know? Glad you liked it Thelma and hope you stop by again soon!

  5. Awww! i agree with the highs. I always try to dismiss any stereotypes. As for the lows! Visa has to be the major ish! Goodness, it is literally so sad. You can’t take an impromptu trip, extra money for visa fees and it’s not often guaranteed. Was on the way to the airport for a Dubai trip, when we were informed our visa hadn’t gone through yet. Agent wahala. Then on another occasion, couldn’t apply for a Singapore visa, because overnight, the authorities had included Nigeria to a watch list, so it was no longer same day application, and was going to take two weeks.

    Sigh. All the same, really happy to be Nigerian, and I hope things get better asap!

    1. Wow! That really blows! Watchlist all of a sudden? That is definitely very very frustrating. I really hope things get better soon too. Thanks Kachee.

  6. As a nigerian traveller, i find those suspicious looks very annoying and i am guilty of hiding my passport because it saves me a lot of stress, so will rather do that. I like the highs you mentioned they are very true and didn’t see it that way. Great post!

    1. I can understand the temptation to try to hide your Nigerian passport but I am more for embracing it because at the end of the day, it is part of your identity. Thanks for your contribution, Adenike!

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