ECOWAS Passport Visa-Free Countries

ECOWAS Passport Visa-Free Countries are 15 countries in the West African region that have signed a treaty to facilitate the intra-regional movement of goods and travel of member states’ citizens for periods of unlimited duration.

The ECOWAS passport is a valid traveling document that permits visa-free travel within the member countries of ECOWAS.

ECOWAS Passport Visa Free Countries was first introduced in 2000 and implemented by the member states of ECOWAS

The passport is recognized by the ECOWAS member countries and issued by members countries to their citizens who meet the requirements for obtaining a passport in their country of origin. It can be used within the sub-region and is also recognized for international travel

The passport also provides certain privileges, such as the right to reside and work in any ECOWAS member country and the right to own property in any member country.

The validity of the ECOWAS Passport is five years or otherwise depending on the type and renewing is possible upon expiration.

Meaning of ECOWAS

ECOWAS Means; Economic Community of West African States

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ECOWAS Passport Visa-Free Countries

ECOWAS Passport Visa-Free Countries are as follows;

  1. Benin
  2. Burkina Faso
  3. Cape Verde
  4. Côte d’Ivoire
  5. Gambia
  6. Ghana
  7. Guinea
  8. Guinea-Bissau
  9. Liberia
  10. Mali
  11. Niger
  12. Nigeria
  13. Senegal
  14. Sierra Leone
  15. Togo.

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Types of ECOWAS Passport

ECOWAS passports come in three types

  1. Ordinary passports, are passports issued to citizens and are intended for occasional travel, such as vacations and business trips. It is a 32 pages document and is valid for 5 years.
  2. Official/Service Passports are issued to officials attached to government institutions who have to travel on official business.
  3. Diplomatic passports issued to diplomats and consuls for work-related travel, and to their accompanying dependents.

Common design features of ECOWAS Passport

General Design

  1. (ISO/IEC 7810 ID-3, 88 mm x 125 mm) Paper size B7
  2. 32 pages (frequent travelers can have more pages of passport)
  3. The cover color of the passport depends on the type of passport; blue is for service passports, burgundy is for diplomatic passports, and green is for diplomatic passports
  4. Some common biometrics and security features.

Other features

The inscription of words can be in English or French depending on the country language that issued the passport. While the emblem of the ECOWAS community is emblazoned on the cover page of some passports. For (example) English-speaking countries ECONOMIC COMMUNITY OF WEST AFRICAN COUNTRY (ECOWAS) French-speaking countries COMMUNAUTE’ E’CONOMIQUE DES `ETATS DE L’AFRIQUE DE L’OUEST (CEDEAO)

The name of the issuing country is usually the only distinguishing factor between passports issued by the various sovereign nations of the sub-region. It is possible to notice some ECOWAS passports of certain countries with the respective state’s emblem on the cover instead.

Close to the bottom of the passport, you see an inscription words (French) PASSEPORT (English) PASSPORT for ordinary passport, PASSEPORT DE SERVICE (English) OFFICIAL or SERVICE PASSPORT on service passport, and PASSEPORT DEPLOMATIQUE (English) DIPLOMATIC PASSPORT on a diplomatic passport.

Issuering ECOWAS passport is the responsibility of ECOWAS member countries with similar specific features

Note Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) does not issue passport certificates itself.

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Identification page

Both English and French print the following information on the identification page

  • Nationality
  • Type
  • Dirt of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Code of issuing State
  • Authority
  • Given Name(s)
  • Surname
  • Issued date
  • Expiry date
  • Sex
  • Passport No.

Eligibility

  • All citizens of Countries that are signatories to the ECOWAS Treaty.

Validity

  • A Travel Certificate shall be valid for two (2) years and shall be renewable for a further period of two (2) years and it is valid for travel to all the ECOWAS Passport Visa-Free Countries.

The Objective ECOWAS Travel Certificate

The objective of the ECOWAS passport is as follows;

  • Passport: It is a recognized travel document valid for travels within the Sixteen (16) Countries of ECOWAS.
  • Form of Identity: This proves that the holder is a community citizen and is concurrent with the National Passport.
  • ECOWAS Passport Visa-Free Countries: To be a travel document to all the 15 Countries of ECOWAS signatory without a visa.

Issuing Authorities

The government authorities of all the 15 ECOWAS Member Countries can print ECOWAS passport certificates for citizenship

Nigerian Immigration Service is a federal Agency responsible for insuring, monitoring, and regulating ECOWAS Passports in Nigeria.

Headquarters, 36 State Commands, the FCT office as well as all Immigration offices in the 774 local governments of the Federation.

Requirements for Issuance of ECOWAS Travel Certificate In Nigeria

  • Duly completed application form
  • Three(3) recent colored (4×4 cm) passport photographs
  • Evidence of age (birth certificate or statutory declaration of age)
  • Letter of Introduction from Employer (for salaried workers only)
  • Letter of confirmation of Nigerian Citizenship from the applicant’s Local Government Chairman.
  • Students and Trainee applicants shall obtain letters of introduction from the heads of their institutions accepting Immigration Responsibility (IR)

Citizens who have a valid national identity card or birth certificate, and who meet other requirements such as passport photos, application forms, and fees can apply.

Amendments, Replacement

Replacement of travel Certificate can be possible on the following conditions:

  • If the pages are exhausted while the certificate is still valid.
  • If the certificate has lasted for the ten-year total validity period.
  • If it is mutilated in any form or requires amendment.
  • If it is confirmed lost or stolen.

Replacement

Application for replacement shall be made in the same or any other prescribed form, and supported by attaching the certificate to be replaced. Lost or stolen certificates may only be replaced after a reasonable time must have elapsed (i.e. about two to six months) and must be supported.

  • Proof of citizenship
  • Police report

Finally

The ECOWAS passport is a powerful tool that enables citizens of member countries to travel to other member countries without the need for a visa.

There are other requirements that are important before granting entry such as proof of funds, and vaccination ECOWAS passport allows for visa-free entry into all the member countries.

The potential benefits of increased travel, trade, and cultural exchange within the West African region are huge. ECOWAS passport is an important step towards regional integration and collaboration within West Africa.