We have not been to Nigeria since December 2018. We had a visit planned for September 2020, but a worldwide pandemic got in the way. Eventually, we set our sights on December 2022.
That is still our goal, but the vision is a little blurry at the moment. It is not possible, as a US citizen, to purchase a plane ticket and go to Nigeria on a whim. The airlines will not even let you board without a valid visa because the Nigerians would send you straight back home!
The Nigerian government has a few consulates in the USA, but only the consulate in NYC has been issuing visas for travel from the USA to Nigeria. Since July, even the Nigerian consulate in NYC has not been issuing visas.
The process for obtaining a visa to travel to Nigeria is completely complicated at best. First, you wade through a tangled application process for each person online and then pay the various fees associated with the visa.
Then you must print each receipt, print the completed application that has already been finished AND accepted online and then walk all of that into the consulate with your passport and cash.
You leave it there (including your passport) for several days and then go back and get it, hopefully, approved and the Nigerian visa affixed to your passport.
This would require a ten day trip to New York or two trips ten days apart. Instead, we pay a company to walk our printed information, money and passports into the embassy and then go back and get it all. We have used the same company for 15 years.
When I called that company in early July, they said the Nigerians had run out of visa stamps to insert into our passports. In late July, they said the consulate was completely revamping the computer systems and they would begin issuing visas to US citizens the second week of August.
I waited until the third week of August and called. They are now saying the person over the consulate in NYC is traveling to Nigeria and should be back in New York soon. Once they arrive, the consulate will be able to issue visas.
All of this would almost be funny, except it is not. I have been trying to guide an acquaintance that needs a visa for travel in about two weeks and it looks like he will not be able to get it. He has been trying for a couple of months. Ugh!
All of that to say, IF we are going to Nigeria in early December as planned, we need God to work this out. The Nigerian consulate recommends applying for the visa 90 days before the trip and not purchasing airline tickets until the visa is approved.
90 days is this weekend. We are nearing the deadline and we will need to make a decision by mid September at the latest. Would you help us pray about it? We greatly desire to go, but we are completely content with God's guidance.