Diasporans Leaving the UK With Their Nigerian Passports Face Being Denied Re-Entry

NIGERIANS living in the UK who have dual nationality may face problems when returning into the country as a result of changes recently introduced by the Border Agency if they travel out with their Nigerian passport.

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UK Border Control

As part of a programme to make the immigration process more efficient, the Border Agency has introduced a new £1.2bn e-borders system. However, it was not designed with individuals who hold two passports in mind and Nigerians who travel out using their Nigerian passport may face difficulties when they return to the UK.

At present, a lot of Nigerians with dual nationality use the Nigerian passports to travel home and their British one to re-enter Britain. With this new system introduced, they will be registered as migrants upon their return simply because they did not leave the country with their British passports.

With the new e-borders system passenger information will be logged according to the data

provided by the airline, which in most cases will be from the non-British passport used for the outbound journey. As a result, a dual national, even if readmitted to Britain by an immigration officer on showing a British passport, could be registered as an alien with no more rights than any other tourist.

Such Nigerians will also have their stay limited to six months in the country. On a subsequent trip, such a person attempting to return to Britain could be recorded as having broken immigration law.

Also, an airline, under the e-borders system, would be denied permission to carry the passenger home. Even if a British passport were presented, it would have to be verified by the nearest consulate or by the Passport Agency in the UK.

Nigerians, Australians, Americans, New Zealanders, Canadians and South Africans who have adopted British nationality are among those likely to be affected. There are more than half a million people born in these countries in the UK.

One senior airline official said: “It was not designed for dual nationals. This will really create a challenge for the authorities because as things stand, people will not be able to leave Britain on one passport and come back on another.”

A UK Border Agency spokesman said: “With dual passports, you need to use the passport you bought the ticket with, which is the passport that is registered with Advance Passenger Information. If you don’t use that passport, then you will not be able to travel.”

– Nigeria Watch