Thursday, September 29, 2016

Getting Ready For Nigeria

Things are staring to come together for our trip to Nigeria in November. I was beginning to get a little worried about our travel visas. You must have a prearranged travel visa to enter Nigeria. You can not fill out the paperwork on the plane or the airport like you can in many countries.

A Nigerian visa is a long drawn out and complicated process involving you or someone else hand carrying your passport, two new passport sized photos, money, application, recent bank statement, invitation letter, copies of the first four pages of your host's passport, travel itinerary, receipt for the amount you already paid online to Nigeria and receipt acknowledgment into the Nigerian Embassy. 

I am not sure they need the certified oil analysis for our last four BoggsMobile oil changes and the results of my third grade California Achievement Test or not but I may send them anyway.

You can not apply for the travel visa more than 90 days away from your trip. We have normally paid a company to go to the Embassy in Washington D. C. for us. That is cheaper than traveling to the Embassy and staying in town 3-5 days waiting for the visa to process. Once it is processed you go back in, wait in line all over again and pick up your visa. 

Since we were in New York about 90 days from our travel date, we decided to try carrying in our wheel barrel full of applications and other paperwork to the Embassy ourselves. This would save us nearly $90 each plus shipping and would be a new experience. (It used to be $35 then $55 and now $89.)

Our first hesitation came when we learned the Nigerian Embassy in New York City has absolutely terrible reviews for customer service. The show stopper was the website. We waded through the pages of visa application for each of us and it kicked us back to the homepage on more than one occasion. ALL of the information was lost so we would start again.

After finally making it through the applications successfully the website would not allow us to pay. I would put in our payment information and hit the button and back to the login page we would go!

There are warnings all over the page about how difficult to impossible it is to obtain a refund if you double pay so the onus is on us NOT to double pay. After getting kicked back to the login page when pressing the payment button I would wait a day or two to make sure the payment did not show up on our statement. 

This is all in their instructions. They expect you to have problems paying on their website. Once you know the payment did not go through, then and only then, you try again!

This went on for 2-3 weeks long after we were gone from New York City. I have messed with it at least once per week since then with similar results. Last night was the night designated to rise and conquer this thing. It had to be done. We can not book our tickets without our visas in our hands.

Last night I spent more time than I care to remember on the phone with the website company and then much more time with our CC company walking through the steps over and over again until someone flipped the right magic twanger and the payment went through. 

We are paying a total of $305 each to the Nigerian Embassy, $89 each to the company walking into the embassy for us and $60 total for Fedex shipping both ways and we are almost done! All we have to do is get the recent passport type photos and ship it all in. Wow!

When payment was confirmed, Kelly Jo and I spent the next hour+ printing duplicates of most of the documents listed above and then collapsed into bed very late with a satisfied grin that we were finally on our way.

That is when i discovered I was so hyped up that i could not sleep! Oh well, at least we are going to Nigeria!

Thanks for reading.


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