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NIGERIAN RESIDENT PERMIT, VISAS & OTHER IMMIGRATION REQUIRMENTS

NIGERIAN RESIDENCE PERMIT, VISAS & OTHER IMMIGRATION REQUIRMENTS

NIGERIAN RESIDENCE PERMIT, VISAS & OTHER IMMIGRATION REQUIRMENTS

The laws guiding immigration processes in Nigeria are the Immigration Act 2015 and the Immigration Regulations 2017 that issued by the Honorable Minister of Interior, Lt. Gen Abdulrahman Dambazau (retired) on the 20th of March 2017. The key objective for issuing the Regulations is to create a legal framework for the implementation of the Immigration Act 2015 as well as to repeal the Immigration Regulations 1963.

There are different classes of visas that can be issued under the new Immigration Act. They include:

  1. INVESTMENT VISAS
  2. BUSINESS VISAS
  3. SUBJECT TO REGULARISATION
  4. NIGERIAN RESIDENCE PERMITS (CERPAC)
  5. VISA ON ARRIVAL
  6. TEMPORARY WORK PERMIT
  7. EXPATRIATE QUOTA
  8. ECOWAS RESIDENCE CARDS

 

  1. INVESTMENT VISAS

The Nigerian Investment visa is issued to foreign nationals who imports a ‘threshold of capital’ and confers the status of a permanent resident on its holder.

Regulations 5(7) of the Nigerian Immigration Regulations (2017) provides thus:

A foreign national who has imported an annual minimum ‘threshold of capital’ over a period of time as stipulated under Section 37(11) of the Act may be issued a permanent residence permit provided that the investment is not withdrawn and the foreign national has complied with any other condition prescribed for the issuance of such permit.

            Also, Section 37(11) of the Nigerian Immigration Act 2015 provides that:

The Comptroller-General of Immigration may authorize the issuance of Permanent Residence Visas to foreign nationals who are married to Nigerians, or who are investors who have imported an annual minimum threshold of capital over a period of time as may be specified from time to time in the National Visa policy or any other such policy.

The investment visa in Nigeria rests its authority on the aforementioned sections.

            For a successful investment visa grant, the following are required:

  • Passport valid for at least 6 months.
  • Duly completed visa application form.
  • Two recent passport photographs.
  • Evidence of sufficient funds
  • Evidence of online payment for visa fee.
  • Self-sponsored businessmen may not require a letter of invitation but will be required to show evidence of sufficient funds.
  • High net worth investors.
  • CEO of recognized multinationals, invitees of Government.

Only applicants with the above requirements would be allowed entrance into Nigeria following further interview.

  1. BUSINESS VISAS

Business visas are given strictly to foreigners who make business-related trips to Nigeria for the sole purpose of transacting short businesses. The requirements for its grant include:

  • Passport valid for at least 6 months.
  • Duly completed visa application form.
  • Two recent passport photographs.
  • A Letter of invitation from a company/host in Nigeria accepting immigration responsibility.
  • Evidence of online payment for visa fee.
  • Evidence of sufficient funds
  • High net worth investors.
  • CEO of recognized multinationals, invitees of Government.

Only applicants with the above requirements would be allowed entrance into Nigeria following further interview.

  1. SUBJECT TO REGULARISATION

Subject to Regularization is issued primarily based on the availability of quota especially in the case of private organizations. STRs are issued on request by sponsoring organizations and individual investors coming to Nigeria to reside. It is required by foreigners coming to take up employment in Nigeria and issued according to the dates as specified in the contract. It usually allows for one single entry to foreign nationals who have the intention to obtain a long-term work permit.

However, an STR in itself is not a work permit. It is usually granted for 90 days within which an application must be made to regularize the recipient’s stay. Failure to do this will cause for a reapplication of another STR visa.

Foreign nationals who are eligible to obtain the STR visa include:

  • Foreign students
  • Research fellows
  • Government officials and their dependants
  • Missionaries, Clerics and their dependants
  • The foreign national staff of Non-Governmental Organisations(NGOs) and their dependants
  • Foreign nationals employed by companies operating in Nigeria and their dependants.

The major documents needed for the application of an STR visa include:

  • Passport with at least 6 months validity
  • Completed visa form in quadruplicate with four recent passport photographs
  • Copies of the letter of Expatriate Quota Approval from Ministry of Interior
  • Copies of credentials, certificates and curriculum vitae, all vetted by a relevant official of Nigerian High Commission/Embassy (English Certified translated copy where applicable)
  • Copies of offer Letter of Employment
  • Four copies of Letter of Acceptance of employment, signed by expatriate
  • Nigeria Immigration Service Visa Payment Receipt and Visa Acknowledge
  • Copy of university/ professional qualification
  1. NIGERIAN RESIDENCE PERMIT(CERPAC)

A residence permit is a document or card required in some regions allowing a foreign holder to reside in a country within the fixed or indefinite length of time. In Nigeria, the Comptroller General of Immigration is empowered to issue Nigerian residence permit under the Federal Ministry of Interior’s supervision.

The Combined Expatriate Residence Permit and Aliens Card (CERPAC) grants a foreigner permission to live and work in Nigeria for up to two years, which is subject to renewal and validity of the expatriate quota.

An application for the CERPAC Nigeria should be accompanied by the following documents:

  • International passport with STR visa endorsement
  • A duly completed CERPAC statutory form
  • An STR package containing STR documentation received from the Nigerian embassy/consulate
  • Company’s board of directors’ resolution confirming appointment as director (where applicable)
  • Application letter from the employer requesting Regularization of stay and accepting Immigration       Responsibility (IR) on behalf of the expatriate.
  • Payment of prescribed fees

 

By virtue of Section 18(2) of the Immigration Act 2015, a foreign national granted a residence permit does not require an entry visa. It provides thus:

A resident or work permit granted to a foreign Immigrant shall be
treated for purposes of entry into Nigeria as a multiple entry permit.

The Nigerian residence permit (CERPAC) is renewable every two years.

  1. VISA ON ARRIVAL (VOA)

Nigeria Visa on Arrival is a class of short visit visa issued at the port of entry. The facility is available to frequently travelled High Net Worth Investors and Intending Visitors who may not be able to obtain a visa at the Nigerian Missions/Embassies in their countries of residence due to the absence of a Nigerian mission in those countries or exigencies of urgent business travels. Persons eligible to apply are:

  • Frequently travelled Business Persons of International Repute
  • Executives of Multi-national Companies
  • Members of Government Delegations
  • Holders of United Nations Laissez-Passer
  • Holders of African Union Laissez-Passer,
  • Holders of ECOWAS Laissez-Passer,
  • Holders of any other Official travel documents of other recognized International Organizations who intend to visit Nigeria.

However, Visa on Arrival is available to citizens of all countries except ECOWAS Nationals who do not require a visa to enter Nigeria and other countries which Nigeria has entered into visa abolition agreements.

Applying for visa on arrival would include the following steps:

  • Obtainment of VOA approval letter by applying either through email, in person or application by a representative in Nigeria.
  • Payment for Visa on Arrival
  • Immigration clearance at the Port of Entry with the hard copy of the following documents:
  • Visa Approval Letter (Pre-approved visa letter), valid for 14 days from the date of issuance
  • Evidence of online payment
  • Valid Passport with a minimum of six months validity
  • Valid return ticket
  • Two recent passport sized photographs
  1. TEMPORARY WORK PERMIT (TWP):

This is an approved single entry work visa endorsement authorizing a foreigner to enter Nigeria for the purpose of performing a specific job within a specified period of time. A temporary work permit is granted subject to the provisions of Section 37(8) of the Nigeria Immigration Act (2015) and Regulation 8 of the Nigeria Immigration Regulation (2017).

TWP covers short-term work as

  • Installation/Repair of machines.
  • Audits and accounts,
  • Feasibility studies
  • Erection/ installation work
  • Training
  • Any other specialist job which Nigeria lacks the expertise.
  • Consultancy
  • Any other assignments of a temporary nature

The documents required for TWP visa are:

  • Passport with at least 6 months validity
  • Flight itinerary (with return date)
  • A printed copy of completed application form IMM22 for the visitor’s pass
  • Two recent passport size photographs
  • Copy of the Letter of Approval from Comptroller General, Nigeria Immigration Service (Pre-approved visa letter) valid for 90 days from the date of issuance
  • Evidence of payment of visa fee
  • Copy of TWP cablegram
  • Application letter for TWP cablegram
  1. EXPATRIATE QUOTA

All companies that intend to employ foreigners must have an expatriate quota. Expatriate quota refers to the allowable number of foreigners to be employed by business organizations operating or wishing to operate in Nigeria. An application for CERPAC must have been preceded with expatriate quota approval.

There are two types of expatriate quotas namely:

  1. Permanent Until Reviewed (PUR), which is usually granted to the Chairman of the Board of a company or the Managing Director. It is permanent until a need arises for its review.
  2. Temporary Quota (TQ), which is usually granted to the directors or other employees of the company. It is usually granted for a maximum period of 5years subject to renewal for another period of two years

PERMANENT UNTIL REVIEWED

The main reason for the granting of P.U.R quota slot for which a Certificate would be issued is to enable foreigners adequately protect their interest and to give them a sense of greater commitment. Minimum share capital should be N10 Million. The basic requirements for an application for PUR include:

  1. Appreciable net profit of which not less than N2 million has been paid as Corporate Tax (original to be presented for sighting)
  2. Certified and Detailed Audited Account
  3. Certificate of Incorporation
  4. Monthly Returns of Expatriate Quota
  5. Company Organization Structure
  6. Individual Income tax Clearance Certificate of the expatriates (original to be presented for sighting).

TEMPORARY QUOTA

Applications for Temporary Expatriate Quota must be made to the Federal Ministry of Interiors and accompanied by the following documents:

  • Duly completed NIPC Form
  • Copy of the company’s Certificate of Incorporation
  • Copy of Allotment of share capital and Copy of Particulars of Directors(CAC 1.1)
  • Copy of Memorandum and Articles of Association
  • Certificate of Capital Importation
  • Tax Clearance Certificate
  • Evidence of acquisition of business premises
  • Feasibility Report
  • Joint Service Agreement
  • Business permit (for foreign-owned companies)
  • Company Profile
  • List of positions to be occupied by expatriates containing proposed annual salaries, qualifications and job descriptions.
  1. ECOWAS RESIDENCE CARDS

The ECOWAS Treaty of Lagos 1975 provides for the free movement of citizens of ECOWAS member states within other member states. Member states of the Economic Community of West African States include

  • Benin
  • Burkina Faso
  • Cape Verde
  • Cote d’Ivoire
  • Gambia
  • Ghana
  • Guinea
  • Guinea Bissau
  • Liberia
  • Mali
  • Niger
  • Nigeria
  • Senegal
  • Sierra Leone
  • Equatorial Guinea
  • Togo

The implication of this treaty is that no citizen of any member state is required to obtain visa from any other member state to cross such state’s border. However, for the purpose of residence, an ECOWAS Residence Card would be required. The following would be required for its grant:

  • Application letter requesting the issuance of an ECOWAS Residence Card.
  • ECOWAS Travel Certificate or International Passport valid for 6months
  • Photocopy of bio-data page of ECOWAS Travel Certificate or National Passport
  • Two copies of applicant’s recent passport photograph
  • Evidence of online payment
  • Duly completed and signed application form

For citizens taking up employment, the following documents in addition to the above are required:

  • Letter of employment
  • Letter of acceptance of the offer of employment
  • Copies of professional/ educational certificates
  • Copy of CV
  • Evidence of registration with professional bodies (where application)

NIGERIAN SPOUSE VISA

Foreign spouses of Nigerians are eligible to a resident permit. The Nigerian spouse visa is the type of permit classified as special immigration status/ Niger- wife. The application for Nigerian spouse visa must be made to the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Immigration Service, Abuja or the Comptroller of Immigration Service at various state commands.

The Nigerian Immigration Service stipulates the following requirements for the processing of the spousal visa in Nigeria:

  1. Letter of Application for Residence Permit by the Nigerian spouse accepting Immigration Responsibility
  2. Copy of Special Immigrant Status approval letter by the Minister of Interior
  3. Husband’s consent letter requesting for Special Immigrant Status/letter of consent from Niger-wife stating willingness to stay with husband in Nigeria.
  4. Nigerian passport bio-data page of the spouse
  5. Copy of passport bio-data page of the spouse
  6. Marriage Certificate
  7. Completed CERPAC Form
  8. Two (2) recent Passport photographs

Apart from the processing fee that may be charged by any professional helping to process the application, the Niger-wife visa is Gratis i.e. government do not charge for its issuance. 

The Immigration Act, as well as Immigration Regulations, lay down the necessary requirements for the immigration processes for foreigners who wish to reside and work in Nigeria. Nigerian Immigration Service enforces Nigerian permits among other visas and is very strict about such enforcement. Consequently, an illegal immigrant or anyone who breach or break the Nigerian immigration laws may be liable for immediate removal from the Country.

 

Written by Immigration Law Department at Resolution Law Firm, Nigeria

Tel:      +2348099223322

Email: info@resolutionlawng.com

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