If you think it is very easy to enter into Nigeria legally, this article will dispel that notion.
When traveling to Nigeria, a visa and a 6 month valid passport is necessary. But depending on the reason for your visit, there are different types of visas to apply for. Each comes with a different cost so it’s important to know exactly what type of visa you need for what travel purpose.
Nigeria offers eight types of visas to visitors:
This visa is issued to travellers who wish to visit Nigeria for the purpose of tourism or to visit family and friends living in Nigeria. It is available to all citizens of other countries, except ECOWAS nationals and countries with a visa abolition agreement with Nigeria. The visa is valid for 90 days and takes 2-3 working days for it to be issued after application.
This visa allows travellers to pass through Nigeria en route to another country. It is issued depending on if the traveller is exiting the transit area of the airport or passing through our customs. Nigeria’s Transit visa is valid for only 48 hours and it is obtained on Arrival. You can get one that can last for a maximum of 7 days if it is obtained at the Nigerian High Commiission not at the airport upon arrival.
This visa allows government emissaries and their families to visit the country for diplomatic and official business with the Nigerian government. Government emissaries refers to heads of state and their families, accredited diplomats and their families, top government officials and holders of UN or International agency passport and Laisser Passe. It is valid for 90 days and takes 2-3 working days to process after application.
This visa allows travellers conduct and engage in business activities within their stay in the country. It is issued to people coming to Nigeria for a Meeting/Conference/Seminar, Contract Negotiation, Marketing, Sales, Purchase distribution of Nigerian Goods. It also covers people coming for Trade Fairs, Job Interviews, Musical Concerts, Researchers, Training of Nigerians for Humanitarian Services, Emergency/Relief work, Crew members, Staff of NGOs and Staff of INGOs. It is valid for no more than 90 days and the length of stay cannot be extended.
Temporary Work Permit (TWP) Visa
This visa is usually issued to experts/professionals invited by companies and other corporate bodies on contract to provide specialized skilled services in Nigeria. The range of services include after sales Installation /Commissioning/ Upgrading/Maintenance/Repairs of equipment and machinery, Training /capacity building for Nigerian staff, Audit of machinery/ equipment and financial records. The applicant might be invited for an interview at the Nigerian Consulate before the visa is issued. This visa is valid for 90 days and takes a maximum of 48 hours for CGI’s approval after application has been submitted.
Subject to Regularization (STR) Visa
This visa is issued to foreign nationals coming to Nigeria to seize business opportunities or because they were offered paid employment. (Note: TWP and Business visas are granted with a definite timespan while STR visas are for job offers with no specific time frame for the work period). Although it is valid for 90 days, the submitted STR documents will be reviewed and authenticated within that period; then the applicant will be issued a Combined Expatriate Residence Permit and Alien Card (CERPAC). This document gives the bearer the right to live and work in Nigeria. The timeline for the STR visa is 7 working days maximum from receipt of application at the country of residence.
This is usually issued if the traveller is visiting Nigeria for religious reasons or with religious affiliations. If invited by an individual, a letter of invitation from the host is needed, otherwise, an approval from the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Abuja, Nigeria must be submitted during your visa application process. Without it processing time for this visa can be as much as three weeks or two months.
This visa is issued to journalists visiting Nigeria on assignment, for example, when Richard Quest of CNN came to Lagos to record some episodes of his show. Visas for journalists cannot be fast-tracked and may take longer than five (5) working days to process. It is mandatory that all journalists issued this visa report to the External Publicity Division, Federal Ministry of Information and Communications, Room 3, Wing A, Radio House, Garki, Abuja for accreditation and documentation on arrival in Nigeria before embarking on any assignment in the country.
The last two are not expressly stated on the Nigerian Immigration service website but I believe if either purpose was requested at the Nigerian Embassy, such visas would be granted. The Nigerian embassy only opens from Monday through to Thursday and it is important to factor that into the time it takes for processing your visa. For more visa related information, visit the Nigeria Immigration Website.