Nigeria’s New Visa on Arrival
By Helen E. Ijewere, Nolands Nigeria
Nigeria launched the Visa On Arrival (VOA) in March 2017. The process is:
1. Obtain Visa On Arrival Approval Letter
2. Pay for VOA Online
3. Arrive at the Port Entry and Proceed to Immigration
In order to obtain the VOA Approval Letter, the expatriate can apply via email or instruct a representative in Nigeria to apply on his behalf. The application letter must be addressed to the Comptroller General of Immigration and sent to oa@ immigration.gov.ng.
The letter must state: the name of the applicant, nationality of the applicant, purpose of the visit (must have letter of invitation from company or individual in Nigeria), proposed date of the visit, proposed port of entry, flight itinerary and address in Nigeria or hotel reservation. A copy of the passport data page and airline return ticket reservation must be attached to the email.
Upon approval of the application, a copy of the VOA Approval Letter is sent to the expatriate, the airline and Immigration port of entry. Next, the expatriate goes to pay for the VOA online. The cost is USD 250.
On arrival in Nigeria, the expatriate should proceed to the VOA desk for issuance of the Visa. Hard copies of the following documents must be presented at the VOA desk: VOA Approval Letter, Evidence of Online Payment, Passport with 6 months’ Validity, Return Airline Ticket, 2 recent Passport Photographs.
If applying through a representative in Nigeria, the representative must send a letter on behalf of the expatriate to the Comptroller General of Immigration. In addition to the information listed above that must be stated in the application letter, the following information must be stated: the email address of the expatriate and the acceptance of the representative for all immigration responsibilities in respect of the expatriate. A copy of the passport data page and airline return ticket reservation for the expatriate must be attached to the email.
Upon approval of the application, a copy of the VOA Approval Letter is sent to the expatriate, the airline and Immigration port of entry. Next, the representative or expatriate goes to pay for the VOA online.
The timeline for the VOA request to be processed and approved is 48 hours.
Validity of Visa
The VOA is valid for 14 days from the date of arrival at the port of entry.
Who can Apply for the VOA
The Nigerian Immigration Service has listed the persons who can apply for, and who will be issued the VOA. They are:
- Business travellers of international repute
- Executives of multinationals
- Members of government delegations
- Holders of United Nations Laissez Passer
- Holders of African Union Laissez Passer
- Holders of ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) Laissez Passer
- Holders of any other travel documents of other recognised international organisations.
Citizens of ECOWAS countries (Rwanda, Tanzania and Kenya) do not need to apply for a VOA to visit Nigeria.
Prior to the launch of VOA, the process of getting a visa to Nigeria was a harrowing experience. After the application was submitted, the applicant or representative of the applicant was never sure of when the visa application would be approved. It took from 2 days to 14 months.
The VOA was the resolution of the Presidential Enabling Business Environmental Council to reduce bureaucratic bottlenecks, encourage business travellers, and improve Nigeria’s ranking in the World Bank’s “Doing Business Report” and “Global Competitiveness Report”.
Published: November 2017 l Photo: natanaelginting - Fotolia.com