May 24, 2016

Busayo Adedeji: Corporate Immigration Practice In Nigeria

There are three classes of visas under which corporate/business visitors can visit Nigeria. These are:

  • ·        Business visa;

  • ·        Temporary Work Permit (TWP visa); and

  • ·        Subject to Regularization Visa (STR visa).

A business visa is an entry visa for business people and investors coming to Nigeria for business discussions and meetings and is usually obtained from the Nigerian mission abroad. This visa is usually granted for 90 days (subject to the discretion of the Nigerian Mission abroad) Holders of a business visa are prohibited from any form of employment while in-country. The penalty for over staying in-country on a business visa is $1,000.

Requirements for a business visa are:

  • Letter of invitation from a company incorporated in Nigeria;

  • International passport with at least six months validity;

  •   Evidence of funds (account statements will suffice);

  •  Evidence of hotel reservation;

  • Flight itinerary;

  • International vaccination certificate; and

  • Payment of prescribed visa fees.

Nigeria now has the option of business visa on arrival for business visitors. This offers easy access to immigration facilities by genuine visitors and foreign investors. This visa is usually issued at the port of entry. This policy aims to attract Foreign Direct Investments (FDI’s) and open the economy to employment opportunities. In addition to the above listed document, the approval of the Comptroller General of the Nigerian Immigration Service must be prior to the arrival of the business visitor in Nigeria.

Temporary Work Permit:
This class of visa is available to companies that require the services of expatriate employees in Nigeria for short term assignment. The application for this type of visa is made to the Nigerian Consul in the home country of the expatriate. It is pertinent to state however that the approval of the CGI must first be sought. This approval once granted is in the form a cablegram issued to the Nigerian mission abroad directing the mission to grant the expatriate the visa.

  • Copy of expatriates bio-data page of international passport (with at least 6 months validity);
  • Copy of company’s certificate of incorporation;
  • Cope CAC form 2 (allotment of share capital);
  •  Copy of CAC form 7 (particulars of directors);
  • A copy of the company’s memorandum and articles of association;
  • Company firm profile;
  • Copy of expatriates resume;
  •  Copies of expatriates professional certifications; and
  • Appropriate visa fees paid.
Subject to Regularization Visa (STR):
The Immigration Act expressly prohibits the employment of foreigners without prior consent of the Director of Immigration, as such foreigners seeking to take up long term employment in Nigeria must apply for an STR visa.

The application is to be made to CGI stating that the company has a vacancy on its expatriate quota and desires the foreigner to fill the vacant position.
The application for the STR visa is to be done by the employer company to the Nigerian mission abroad. The STR visa once granted is valid for 90 days, during which the prospective expatriate employee must enter Nigeria and apply to regularize the work permit. Parents and children of expatriate are categorized as dependants and can reside in Nigeria once the relevant visas and applications have been approved. They are however prohibited from any form of employment.

Documents required for issuance of an STR visa:

  • Employees international passport with at least 6 months validity;
  • 4 passport sized photographs;
  • 4 copies of the prescribed visa form;
  • Letter of application for STR visa from the company;
  • Copy of certificate on\f incorporation of the company;
  • 4 copies of company’s expatriate quota;
  • 4 copies of the employees letter of employment;
  • 4 copies of letter of acceptance of employment by employee;
  • 4 copies of resume of employee;
  • 4 copies of educational/professional certifications of employee;
  • Valid international health certificate showing vaccination against yellow fever
  • Flight itinerary; and
  • Visa fees paid.
Combined Expatriate Residence Permit and Aliens Card (CERPAC):
CERPAC is a green card issued to expatriate employees once they have regularized their STR visa in-country. The CERPAC is valid for 12 months and can be renewed for a further 12 months as long the expatriate quota position is valid.

It is pertinent to state that the employer must accept immigration responsibility of the expatriate employee in all the classes of visa listed above.

ECOWAS citizens working in Nigeria:
Citizens of ECOWAS states seeking employment in Nigeria are to apply (through their employer) to comptroller of immigrations in the state where the expatriate will be employed for an ECOWAS card which grants the employee leave to live and work in Nigeria for 2 years.

Written By: Busayo Adedeji
Twitter: @thestreetloya

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