CATEGORIES OF VISA
The Nigerian Visa policy provides for categories of visas for travellers to Nigeria; They include the Free visa/Exemption and the Visa Mandatory.
- Category of Free Visa/ Visa Exemption
Certain travellers can access entry to Nigeria without stringent application procedures or rules. The category of travellers under this exemption is provided for in the Nigerian Visa Policy 2020. These travellers can acquire four (4) classes of Visa which include: F1A, F1B, F1C, and F1D.
- F1A is for citizens of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) member countries who do not require a Nigerian visa to enter the country under the ECOWAS free movement protocol. These travellers, however, must have valid travel documents, enter through a recognized entry port, and not fall into the category of prohibited immigrants. A residence permit must also be obtained from the Nigeria Immigration Service in order to start a business or work.
- F1B visas are available to citizens of Cameroon and Chad, whose governments have signed Visa Abolition Treaties with Nigeria. Based on a bilateral agreement, they can travel to Nigeria for a maximum of 90 days (not for employment or business), without obtaining a visa. They must, however, obtain the appropriate visa for employment or business purposes.
- Holders of official travel credentials from several international organizations are eligible for a visa waiver if they meet specific entrance requirements. Some of these organizations are The United Nations, ECOWAS, African Union Commission, African Development Bank, and Commission. Travelers in this group must have a valid passport, official travel document, and permission to travel. The maximum length of stay in Nigeria is 90 days and only for single entry purposes.
- F1D is for holders of diplomatic and/or official passports from specific nations, based on a bilateral or multilateral reciprocity agreement and specified entry requirements. The following 13 nations are included in this group, according to the NVP 2020: Brazil, China, Cuba, Kenya, Namibia, Mauritius, Rwanda, South Africa, Singapore, Sudan, Tanzania, Turkey and Venezuela. Citizens of these countries who meet the criteria can visit Nigeria without a visa for up to 90 days and only once. The visa-free entry, however, is not valid for job purposes.
2. The mandatory visa category
Travellers who require a visa can choose from any of the other 75 visa classifications and kinds, which are further divided into Short Visit Visas (SVV); Temporary Resident Visas (TRV), and Visas for Permanent Residency (PRV).
The SVV allows visitors to visit Nigeria for a maximum of three months (90 days). It has 24 visa classes, ranging from F2A for non-accredited diplomats to F9A for Nigerians in Diaspora who want to enter the country but do not have Nigerian passports.
Under the TRV individuals are granted residence for a maximum of two years. There are 36 different visa classifications, ranging from R1A for authorized diplomats to R11 for Temporary Work Permit holders with multiple entry visas within six months.
Under the PRV Certain classes of people are granted permanent residency status. It has 15 visa classes, including the N1A (for foreigners who are spouses of Nigerian residents), N6D (for parents 65 and older who are dependents of Permanent Residence visa holders), investors, highly qualified immigrants, and retirees who desire to move to Nigeria.
SVV, TRV, and PRV visas, as well as those accessible through the visa on arrival and e-visa channels, can be processed and obtained in Nigerian diplomatic posts (Embassies, Consulates, and High Commissions) and designated Visa Application Centers (VACs). Travellers would be required to submit to biometric data capture at all Nigerian missions and VACs before receiving appropriate visas, according to the NVP 2020.
KEY INNOVATIONS OF THE NIGERIAN VISA POLICY 2020
- Creation of more classes of Visa to accommodate a larger range of travel purposes:
The NVP 2020 covers a wide range of travel purposes that were previously lumped together under the headings of transit, tourist, business and work. For example, business travellers can now apply for and get various types of business visas that provide varying degrees of benefits depending on the purpose of their trip.
Visitors planning to come for a variety of reasons, including tourism, medical and religious purposes, family and friend visits, journalism, clergy-related activities, athletic events, and so on, can now obtain visas tailored to their unique needs. This classification of visa classes is advantageous to the country in terms of visitor profiling and data analytics on the demographics of foreign visitors. The NVP 2020 increased the classes of visas from 6 to 79.
- Creation of more Visa Application Channels:
The NVP 2020 introduced additional channels of Visa application such as;
- Visa on Arrival: Visa on Arrival process allows a foreigner with an African Union passport who is visiting Nigeria for a short time to process and acquire his or her visa on arrival at the Nigerian airport. It only applies to four types of short-term visas. Foreigners who are not citizens of AU countries, on the other hand, can only get a Visa on Arrival for tourism purposes. This is the most popular NVP 2020 development. This portion of the strategy is also supported by Section 20 of the Immigration Act of 2015, which states: “At the point of entry, the Comptroller General of Immigration shall authorize the issuing of Short Visit Visas.”
- Electronic Visa (e-visa): For foreigners who desire to visit the nation for less than three months, the e-Visa process is accessible for visa applications under the Short Visit Visa Category. Unlike the Visa on Arrival, however, it must be applied for online through the Immigration Service Website and requires online pre-approval (Travel Authorization Letter), which is issued to the applicant at least 48 hours before the visitor arrives at the port of entry.
- Application at the Embassy: All classes of visa (including those eligible for Visa on Arrival and e-Visa) can be applied for through this channel, according to the Nigerian Visa Policy 2020 policy, by visiting Nigerian embassies and authorized Visa Application Centres, which will be responsible for collecting and submitting visa applications on behalf of applicants, to the Nigerian Embassy for processing and approval.
3. Creation of Permanent Residence Visa Category:
The NVP 2020 provides for various kinds of people to get Permanent Residence in Nigeria for a minimum of five years. Spouses of Nigerian nationals, Nigerians by birth who have renounced their Nigerian citizenship, and investors with proof of importing and retaining a minimum capital of US$250,000 are among those eligible.
4. Introduction of a Special Visa Category for Nigerians in Diaspora:
A new visa category has been established for Nigerians born in the Diaspora, who have dual citizenship, and do not have Nigeria visas on their passports (of other countries) when entering Nigeria. They will now be granted indefinite residence and numerous visas under this new policy, allowing them to enter Nigeria whenever they choose. It also covers Nigerians by birth who have given up their Nigerian citizenship since their naturalized nations do not allow dual citizenship. The spouses of such Nigerians can also apply for this type of visa.