In this edition of the Digest, we examine categories of Visas and entry permits for Expatriates who seek to live and work in Nigeria
Categories of Visas Available to Expatriates offered Employment in Nigeria
There are different categories of Nigerian Visas available to Foreigners that are desirous of entering into Nigeria for various purposes which include employment, tourism and visitations, transit to other destinations, business meetings and Diplomatic Missions or Embassy.
These Nigerian Visas are obtainable in the Countries where such Foreigners are domiciled or the Nigerian Mission/Embassy nearest to their Countries of residence.
The categories of Visas are the Subject to Regularization Visa, Temporary Work Permit (TWP) and the Combined Expatriate Residence Permit and Alien Card (CERPAC).
We discuss the features of these Visas below.
1. Temporary Work Permit (TWP) Visa
The TWP Visa is applicable to foreign experts engaged by Nigerian corporate bodies for a short term to provide specialized services such training of staff, after sales installation, maintenance, repairs of machines & equipment and other services as may be determined by the NIS. The TWP Visa is not valid for permanent employment.
The TWP Visa has a validity period of ninety (90) days and successful applicants must enter Nigeria within ninety (90 days) from the date of issue.
The Company engaging the Expatriate(s) is required to apply directly to the Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Immigration Service Headquarters, Abuja for the TWP Visa.
1.1 Requirements for the Issuance of Temporary Work Permit (TWP)
a) The Company engaging the Expatriate(s) should apply for the TWP Visa Approval from the Comptroller General of Immigration (CGI) in Nigeria. The application letter addressed to the CGI should contain the following:
- Name of contractor/employee.
- Passport number.
- Purpose and duration of visit.
- Consular Mission where Visa is to be issued.
- Acceptance of Immigration Responsibility which includes but is not limited to accommodation/feeding, transportation and, if need be, the cost of repatriation or deportation.
b) The following documents should be attached in support of the application to the CGI:
- Company’s profile.
- Certificate of Incorporation.
- CAC 2 & 7 (or CAC 1.1 or Status Report for newer Companies).
- Copy of Data page of the Contractor/Employee’s Passport.
- Evidence of existing contract or purchase / importation of machinery or equipment.
- Any other relevant document.
c) The Expatriate is to obtain a copy of the Visa Approval Letter issued by the CGI and complete the TWP Visa application via the NIS portal.
d) An interview may be scheduled, and the Expatriate will be required to provide the following documents at the interview at the Nigerian Embassy in their Country of residence:
- International passport valid for a minimum of six (6) months with at least two (2) blank pages.
- Evidence of sufficient funds or financial support.
- Evidence of Hotel Reservation / Host Accommodation in Nigeria.
- Printout of completed NIS Online Visa Application from.
- Printout of the online payment acknowledgment slip.
- Two (2) recent passport (35/40mm) photographs, with white background with neither head nor face covers.
2. Subject to Regularization (STR) Visa
The STR Visa is issued to Expatriates who have been offered permanent employment with a corporate organizations or governments. The STR Visa has a validity period of ninety (90) days and only permits single entry. This means that the holder of an STR Visa is permitted entry into Nigeria just once and where such holder leaves Nigeria, the STR Visa immediately expires, even if the validity period is not yet over.
The STR Visa is to be regularized within the ninety (90) days validity period after the Expatriate’s entry into Nigeria. It is further to this regularization that a Combined Expatriate Residence Permit and Aliens Card (CERPAC) is issued to the Expatriate.
2.1 Application Process and Requirements for the Issuance of STR Visa
- An online visa application form should be completed and submitted via the NIS portal at https://portal.immigration.gov.ng/visa/fresh/.
- International passport with a minimum of six (6) months validity period.
- The applicant is to provide the following documents at the interview at the Nigerian Embassy in their Country of residence on the slated interview date for the STR Visa:
- International passport with a minimum of 6 months validity.
- Four (4) copies of the Completed visa form with four recent passport photographs.
- Four (4) copies of the Company’s Expatriate Quota from the Ministry of Interior.
- Four copies of credentials, certificates, and curriculum vitae of the applicant, all vetted by a relevant official of Nigerian High Commission/Embassy (English Certified translated copy is to be provided, where applicable).
- Four (4) copies of Letter of Employment.
- Four copies of Letter of Acceptance of employment, signed by Expatriate.
- Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) Visa payment receipt and Visa acknowledgement receipt.
3. Combined Expatriate Residence Permit and Alien Card (CERPAC)
The CERPAC (Green Card) is a document that permits non-Nigerians to reside in Nigeria and carry out an approved activity as specified or permits non-Nigerians to accompany a resident or citizen of Nigeria as a dependant.
It should be noted that possession of a valid CERPAC Green Card does not exempt the holder from having a valid entry or re-entry permit/visa. Holders of resident status in Nigeria who are exiting the shores of Nigeria on leave or temporary duty must apply for re-entry permit or visa before departing Nigeria.
The CERPAC is obtainable in different categories by Expatriates resident or working in Nigeria, permitting such Expatriates to live and/or work in Nigeria for a valid period of up to two (2) years. The CERPAC is renewable for a subsequent period of two years.
The categories include application for:
- Regularization of Stay.
- Regularization of Foreign Students at Nigerian Higher Institutions of Learning.
- Exempted Persons.
- Government Officials.
- Non-Governmental Organizations.
- Free Zones.
- Renewal/Replacement of CERPAC.
- Change of Employment.
- Aliens Registration.
The CERPAC application form is valid for three (3) months from the date of purchase. The application process for the CERPAC requires care as any erasures, cancellation, or defacement of any sort renders the form void.
3.1 Obtaining CERPAC for Employee(s) – Procedure for Regularisation of Stay
Submission of application letter from the employer requesting regularization of stay and accepting Immigration Responsibility (IR) on behalf of the Expatriate at the Citizenship and Business Department of the NIS. The following documents are to be attached:
- Letter of Appointment/Employment.
- Acceptance of offer of Appointment/Employment.
- Form IMM22 with three (3) Passport –size photograph.
- Quota Approval.
- Vetted Credentials.
- Valid Passport with STR Visa and photocopies of relevant data pages.
Nigerian Companies seeking to engage the services of Expatriates should endeavour to seek expert advice with respect to their peculiar circumstance and the specific applicable compliance guidelines.
For further discussion and assistance with filing any of your organization’s compliance returns to the Corporate Affairs Commission, the Nigeria Immigration Service, and application for Business Permit, Expatriate Quotas and the Combined Expatriate Resident Permit and Aliens Card (CERPAC), as well as providing you with Board Evaluation and Nominee services, please contact us on WhatsApp or Send us an email below.