With this document in your pocket, you can travel freely between the borders of 15 African countries...
What good news for nationals of ECOWAS member countries!!!
If you are a national of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), know that you can travel freely to all member countries of this community thanks to your ECOWAS identity card or your ECOWAS travel diary.
This article explains the procedure to follow and the documents you need to obtain the ECOWAS travel diary in Niger.
What is the ECOWAS Travel Diary?
The ECOWAS Travel Diary is a travel document established by ECOWAS (in 1985) that allows citizens of Member States to move freely within the zone.
But from 2014, ECOWAS member states opted for “a uniform travel document capable of facilitating and simplifying the movement of community citizens at the borders of member states". This document is none other than the ECOWAS biometric identity card.
So, what is the ECOWAS biometric identity card?
The ECOWAS biometric identity card was introduced in 2014 to serve as a travel document within the ECOWAS area, replacing the travel document.
Is there a real difference between the travel diary and the ECOWAS biometric identity card?
Basically, there is no major difference between the two documents, the aim being to enable the citizens of the community to move freely between borders.
The only real difference exists in the form. Indeed, the travel diary is a non-digitized document of blue color while the ECOWAS identity card is a secure, modern identity document that allows travel in the community area, in accordance with the measures established by ECOWAS. Thus, it is equipped with a chip containing the filiations and biometric information of its holder, which should serve, within ECOWAS, as an identity card, health care card, driving license, etc.
What is the advantage for the ECOWAS travel diary?
Travel diaries are still in use in some countries, so remain in force until their expiry date in all countries of the ECOWAS area.
Indeed, the ECOWAS travel diary in the same way as the ECOWAS biometric card constitutes a kind of “identity document" and "recognized travel document" that allows its holder to travel freely in the 15 member countries of ECOWAS.
How to get the ECOWAS travel diary in Niger?
Niger issues ECOWAS travel diaries to all its nationals who wish to do so through the Directorate of Territorial Surveillance (DST) based in Niamey. Inside the country, the DST through its dismemberments called ST (surveillance of the territory) continues its mission but handles the implementation of the ECOWAS travel diary to the services of Judicial Identity (IJ), housed in the various police stations of the country.
What documents should I provide to obtain a travel diary?
The person wishing to have the ECOWAS travel document must meet the following requirements:
- For Nigerien nationals living in Niger
To obtain an ECOWAS travel diary, the Nigerien national must go to the premises of the DST or to the offices of the Judicial Identity Services with the following documents:
- A duly completed travel diary form bearing stamp duty levied at F CFA 3,000,
- A legalized photocopy of the national identity card or consular card,
- A legalized photocopy of the birth certificate,
- 2 recent passport photos,
- And the establishment costs of 5,000 FCFA.
- For Nigerien nationals who do not live in Niger
In this case, the person must present himself at the representation of the country, that is to say at the Embassy or Consulate of Niger in the host country with his identity documents.
In principle, the ECOWAS travel diary is issued by the Embassy on the basis of a copy of the national identity card or consular identity card and identity photos.
N.B: In both cases, the presence of the applicant at the filing is necessary.
What is the validity of the ECOWAS travel diary?
This document is valid for many trips for a period of two (2) years from the date of issue.
This period may be extended once for a period of two (2) years.
Procedure for obtaining the ECOWAS travel document for non-Nigeriens.
Non-Nigerien nationals may have their travel diary or ECOWAS identity card issued in their country of origin through the institutions selected for this purpose.
In the event that the non-Nigerien national is already staying in Niger or in another ECOWAS member country in addition to his country of origin, he may obtain the ECOWAS travel document issued by his country at the country's diplomatic representation.
Do migrants also have to follow the same procedure?
This principle is also valid for migrants on the move in Niger, whether they are nationals of ECOWAS member countries or not.
Constraints related to the application of the Law on the Free Movement of Persons
The implementation of the provisions on the free movement of persons has certainly led to the effective abolition of the entry visa in all ECOWAS member States, the recognition of the right of residence and establishment to the citizens of the community, the increasing use of the ECOWAS resident card, travel diary and passport for travel within and outside ECOWAS.
However, despite these advances, the implementation of these provisions remains problematic at several borders of the subregion. Indeed, citizens of the ECOWAS community, especially migrants, are constantly confronted with the payment of informal amounts extorted by agents at border posts, despite their travel documents, complain the migrants interviewed.
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