Visas for Nigeria
All foreigners, whether going to Nigeria for holiday, on business or relocating there, need to have a visa for Nigeria prior to arrival. Only citizens of member-states of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) are exempt from this requirement.
It is not possible to obtain an entry permit at a Nigerian airport, so anyone promised visa-free entrance to this West African country should be wary. Such false claims should raise a red flag, and it’s safe to suspect that the party doing the promising is up to no good.
The Nigeria Immigration Service has recently streamlined its system, so visas can only be applied for online through an ePortal.
Once payment is made and the application processed via this system, it’s still necessary for visitors to proceed to the Nigerian embassy in their country of origin, or if no embassy or high commission exists, then to the nearest appropriate Nigerian embassy responsible for the country (e.g. the Nigerian High Commission of Australia is responsible for New Zealand), to be interviewed and to collect the visa.
Bear in mind that if an embassy official offers to “speed up” or “simplify” the application process in exchange for money, they are soliciting a bribe, and this should be refused. Though this isn’t a frequent occurrence, expats and travellers have cited examples of such circumstances in the past.
Lastly, travellers should be sure to check, double-check and triple-check that the information on their visa is correct, and aligns with that on their passport.
Tourist (visit) visas for Nigeria
Though tourism is not a thriving industry in the country, it’s nonetheless simple and straightforward to get a tourist visa for Nigeria.
Start the application process by making payment and applying online via the ePortal system. Fees vary; citizens from developing countries are usually charged lower fees than those from developed countries. Once completed, applicants will be given an interview date at their local Nigerian embassy. Take the payment receipts from the ePortal system, a valid passport and the required accompanying documents to the interview.
Business visas for Nigeria
Applying for a business visa is essentially the same process as applying for a tourist visa for Nigeria. The only difference being the documents required for presentation at the embassy, as expats will need an invitation letter from a business operating in Nigeria.
Residency visas (Subject to Regularisation – STR) for Nigeria
Expats planning on working in Nigeria, or those planning on spending more than three months in the country, must apply for a Subject to Regularisation (STR) entry visa. This is a single-entry visa that is valid for 90 days after the point of entry, at which point expats must apply to be regularised. Only after successfully applying for regularisation are expats granted a long-term work permit or the equivalent of a Nigerian green card.
To apply for an STR entry permit, expats need to have confirmed a job with an employer beforehand, and that employer must have received Expatriate Quota approval from the Ministry of the Interior. This is required by the Nigerian government to prevent the indiscriminate employment of expatriates when there are qualified and suitable Nigerians that can fill the positions.
Once this part of the process has been completed, expats can use the ePortal system to pay and file their application. An interview date at the corresponding embassy will then be set, and expats should bring their valid passport and the necessary documents.
Combined Expatriate Residence Permit and Aliens Card for Nigeria
Expats who have legally entered Nigeria and who wish to take up employment there are required to apply for a Combined Expatriate Residence Permit and Aliens Card (CERPAC), which is a combined work and residence permit.
An employment contract is required to obtain a CERPAC, which is then tied to that specific job. The CERPAC is valid for two years and is renewable.