With an eye on making it easier for foreigners to do business in the country, Nigeria has eased its visa processes for persons who wish to visit Nigeria for business and tourism by removing some of the bureaucratic bottlenecks.
Nigerians are also beneficiaries of the review. Henceforth, passport re-issuance has been decentralised and Nigerians no longer need to travel to Abuja to get this done.
In a statement issued in Lagos yesterday, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said the measures were part of the action plan for the ease of doing business as well as efforts to boost tourism within the overall context of the administration’s economic diversification agenda.
“The Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) has reviewed the requirements for Nigerian visas to make them more customer friendly, and details of this review are available on the NIS official website:www.immigration.gov.ng.
“Types of visas currently reviewed include Visa on Arrival (VoA) processes, Business Visas, Tourist Visas and Transit Visas,” the minister said.
Mohammed explained that Business Visas are available for foreign travellers who wish to travel to Nigeria for meetings, conferences, seminars, contract negotiation, marketing, sales, purchase and distribution of Nigerian goods, trade fairs, job interviews, training of Nigerians, emergency/relief work, crew members, staff of NGOs, staff of INGOs, researchers and music concerts.
He said tourist visas are also available to foreign travellers who wish to visit Nigeria as tourists or to visit family and friends while the VoA is a class of short visit visa issued at the port of entry and is available to frequently-travelled high net-worth investors and intending visitors who may not be able to obtain visas at Nigerian missions/embassies in their countries of residence due to the absence of a Nigerian mission in those countries or the exigencies of urgent business travel.
The minister said other actions that have been taken by the NIS for the ease of doing business and facilitation of travel for
Nigerians and foreigners alike include the harmonisation of multiplicity of airport arrival and departure form/cards into a single form for all agencies of government to save foreign visitors from the current frustrating practice of filling three different forms or more and the decentralisation of immigration services to the state commands.
“Re-issuance of passports for change of names due to marital reasons or lost cases have been decentralised to all state commands and foreign missions to save passport holders from additional costs and the inconvenience of travelling to the service headquarters in Abuja, while an additional 28 offices have been opened for the issuance of residence permits in Nigeria, bringing the issuance of Combined Expatriate Residence Permit And Aliens Cards (CERPAC) closer to the doorstep of employers of expatriates at all 36 states and FCT,” he said.
Mohammed explained that the measures introduced by the NIS fit perfectly into the 60-day national action plan for ease of doing business in Nigeria that was approved recently by the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC), as well as the administration’s efforts to boost international tourism.