In 2017 the Nigerian government implemented new changes on the legislation to facilitate the process of doing business in the country. One of the focuses was to improve the immigration policies and ease the entry and exit of people in Nigeria.

One of the most significant changes was the implementation of Visa on Arrival, the objective was to create a welcoming environment for investors and foreigner looking at doing business in the country. So far, such implementation is the most welcomed by frequent business travelers.

Another implemented change was the creation of the Executive order 001 (E01), which ensures that ordinary visas (tourist and business) is issued within 48 hours. In practice, a few stakeholders have confirmed obtained entry visas in less than 5 days.

As part of the E01, the Nigeria Immigration Services introduced an operational handbook which provides relevant information and guidelines required for the grant of immigration facilities, the intention behind it was to eliminate uncertainty and discretion about the approval or denial of immigration facilities.

In the first quarter of 2017, the Minister of Interior unveiled the immigration regulations and worked on some changes, such as implementing the Business Quota for companies wanting to employ foreigners, and the need to obtain a work permit before starting with business operations.

The grant of resident permits with special conditions was also implemented, granting the right of residence for foreigners married with Nigerian citizens and foreigners that are looking into investing an annual capital (the amount is determined by the National Visa Policy). Also included in the list of changes is the Temporary Work Permit, allowing such permits to be issued outside the quota provision, if approved by CGI.

Apart from changes in the regulations, the government also looked into ways to ensure the execution of the law. It was implemented severe fiscalization and “offences and penalties” for individuals and corporates that do not comply with the provisions. Among the offences is the failure to employ Nigerian understudies, unauthorized use of expatriate quota, failure to file monthly returns and others.

The main goal of the overlook of the regulations and the implementation of several law enforcement and transparency initiatives was to improve the movement of people to Nigeria and the make the country more attractive for investors.

Please do not hesitate to contact us for advice regarding immigration & visa, setting up business, property transfer & investment.

By Melissa Moses