On 4 February 2020, the Federal Government of Nigeria launched the Nigeria Visa Policy 2020 (NVP 2020)
The reason for this changes in the new visa policy unveiled by the president, interior minister and other top technocrats at the presidency in Abuja, is to primarily seek to attract foreign investors as well as to boost the trade in Africa’s biggest economy and most populous nation.
The new directives provide for a visa on arrival for citizens of African Union member countries, while visitors interested in tourism and entertainment should benefit from the new electronic visa.
President Buhari said the following in a tweet: “This new Visa Policy will advance our goal of building a globally competitive economy, by helping attract Innovation, and specialized skills and knowledge from abroad, to complement locally available ones. We are sending a message to the world that Nigeria is Open for Business.”
There are currently six classes of Visas in existence, these include:
The six currently existing Visas are: Transit Visa, Tourist Visa, Business Visa, Subject to Regularization (STR), Temporary Work Permit (TWP) and Diplomatic Visa.
Key highlights of the Nigeria visa policy:
- A visa for every conceivable purpose and unbundling of the single Residency visa to 36 classes.
- Review of visa application processes to include Embassies, Visa Application Centres, Visa on Arrival.
- Introduction of the Electronic Visa (e-Visa). While the e-visa is a web based/online application process that is subject to pre-approval before arrival to Nigeria, the Visa on Arrival (VOA) is not subject to pre-approval but can be issued at point of entry.
- Visa on arrival for holders of passports of African Union Member States to enable short visits but only available for tourism purposes for all other countries.
- Visa on Arrival for tourism to citizens of all countries.
- Visiting Visas for family and friends to come to Nigeria is restricted to Nigerian embassies only.
- Distinct Visa class for Nigerians in the diaspora with dual citizenship. Nigeria by birth who renounced Nigeria citizenship as well as Nigerians by birth who use/ hold the national passport of other countries (e.g. infants born abroad)
- Automation of the Temporary Work Permit (TWP) application submission process through the e-visa system.
This new visa policy has indeed broadened the scope of Nigerian Visa.
The inclusion of African Union passport holders into the updated Visa on Arrival policy is an indication of the willingness and commitment of Nigeria to the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA) treaty and an attempt to further encourage ease of doing business.
The government hopes Lagos’ Murtala Muhammed Airport will receive thousands of visitors in the coming months