Nigeria: Immigration Guidelines

The Immigration Act provides that no person other than a citizen of Nigeria shall accept employment (not being employment with the Federal or State government) without the consent in writing of the Director of Immigration; or either alone or in partnership with any other person, practice a profession or establish or take over any trade or business or register or take over a limited liability company without the consent in writing of the Minister.

THE EXPATRIATE QUOTA:

The Expatriate Quota is the official permit given to business organizations operating in Nigeria to employ non-Nigerians into specifically approved job designations. It also specifies the duration of such employment as permitted.

General Requirements for grant of Expatriate Quota:

  • Completed Immigration Form T/1
  • Certificate of Incorporation
  • Minimum Share Capital Requirement - N10million
  • Memorandum and Article of Association
  • Joint Ventures and Partnership Agreements( where necessary)
  • Company's current Tax Clearance Certificate
  • Evidence of imported machinery such as Form M, Proforma invoice, Shipping documents and Clean Certificate of Inspection issued by Government appointed Pre-shipping Inspection Agent.
  • License or Permit or Certificate from relevant Government Agencies for the operation or execution of project for companies that are engaging in oil services, health care services, fishing, mining, constructions etc.
  • Evidence of work at hand, its duration and value attached to the contract(s) if the company is engaged in building, civil engineer4ing, construction etc. (originals are to be presented for sighting)
  • Proposed annual salaries to be paid to the expatriates to be recruited. Names, designations, job descriptions and qualifications must also be indicated.

General Requirements for Renewal of Expatriate Quota:-

  • Completed Immigration Form T/2
  • Corporate Tax Clearance Certificate (original to be presented for sighting)
  • Current Tax Clearance Certificate of the expatriates (originals are to be presented for sighting)
  • Expatriate Quota Returns for the three months preceding the date of approval
  • Detailed Training programmer for Nigerians
  • List of Nigerians understudying expatriate on prescribed format showing date employed, qualifications etc.
  • List of Nigerian Senior/Management staff showing names, designations, qualifications, salaries per annum,
  • Certified Current Audited Accounts
  • Annual Income Tax clearance Certificate of the Expatriate staff (original to be presented for sighting)

General Requirements for Additional Expatriate Quota: - Same document as for renewal of expatriate quota plus:-

  • Evidence of acquired machinery or expansion if the company is engaged in manufacturing in the form of Clean Certificate of Inspection (CCI) issued by Government appointed Pre-shipping inspection Agents.
  • Evidence of new contract for companies engaging in construction/engineering and oil (original to be presented for sighting)
  • Evidence of acquired farm/factory where the company is engaged in agro-allied business (original to be presented for sighting)

General Requirements for Restoration of Quota: -

The Company must give the reason and proof for the reactivation and revitalization i.e. if there had been previously depressed economy, increased demand for the Company's product and acquisition of Inspection (CCI) issued by Government appointed Pre-shipment inspection Agents.

TYPES OF VISAS/ENTRY PERMITS

1. BUSINESS VISA/ENTRY PERMIT:

This is for non-Nigerian businessmen and investors entering Nigeria for business discussions. Validity of stay is 90 days but extendable and this visa is not authorized for employment. This visa is obtainable from Nigerian Missions abroad.

Requirements for grant of Business Permit:

  • Evidence of sufficient funds
  • A valid return ticket
  • Acceptance of IR (Immigration Responsibilities)
  • Evidence of sufficient funds to maintain one's self in the country

2. Subject to Regularization (STR) /Employment Visa:

This type of visa is for non-Nigerians employed by individuals, corporate bodies or Government in order to take up employment in Nigeria.

Requirements for Subject to Regularization (STR) /Employment Visa:

  • Passport with at least 6 months validity
  • Completed visa form in quadruplicate with four recent passport photographs
  • Four copies of letter of Expatriate Quota Approval from Ministry of Interior
  • Four copies of credentials, certificates and curriculum vitae, all vetted by a relevant official of Nigerian High Commission/Embassy (English Certified translated copy where applicable)
  • Four copies of letter of offer of employment
  • Extract of minutes of Board's Resolution (for Chief Executive Officers of corporate organizations)
  • Four copies of letter of acceptance of offer by expatriate
  • Receipt of on-line payment receipt of Visa fee

3. Temporary Work Permit Visa (TWP):

This type of visa is available to non-Nigerian experts invited by corporate bodies to provide specialized skilled services, such as after sales installation, maintenance, repairs of machines & equipment. It is obtainable only from the office of the Comptroller General of Immigration in the Nigeria Immigration Service Headquarters, Abuja.

Requirements for Temporary Work Permit Visa (TWP):

  • Passport with at least 6months validity
  • Printed copy of completed application form for visitors pass
  • 2 recent passport photographs
  • A cabled copy of Comptroller General of Immigration Service's approval
  • Confirmed Return ticket
  • Acceptance of Immigration Responsibility (IR) by inviting organizations or individual.

It is pertinent to note that citizens of member States of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) do not require an entry visa into Nigeria.

THE COMBINED EXPATRIATE RESIDENCE PERMIT AND ALIEN CARD (CERPAC):

Every non-Nigerian who has entered Nigeria legally and who wishes to reside and/or work in Nigeria must make an application for a CERPAC which is valid for two years but renewable and is in two categories, a Green Card and a Brown card.

THE CERPAC GREEN CARD:

The CERPAC green card allows a non-Nigerian to reside in Nigeria and carry out an approved activity as specified in the permit, or to accompany a resident or citizen of Nigeria as a dependent. Possession of a valid CERPAC GREEN CARD does not exempt the holder from having a valid entry or re-entry permit/visa. Holders of resident status in Nigeria who are proceeding on leave or temporary duty outside Nigeria should apply for re-entry permit/visa prior to their departure from Nigeria.

THE CERPAC BROWN CARD:

Every non-Nigerian resident in Nigeria or visiting with the intention to remain in Nigeria in excess of 56 days and crew members leaving their ship and staying ashore in excess of 28 days are required by law to register. Unlike the CERPAC green card, the brown card is a movement chart. Requirements for grant of CERPAC:

  • The company seeking to regularize the non-Nigerian employee's stay in Nigeria would need to make an application to the Controller General requesting for the regularization. The application would also be accompanied with:
  • Employee's International passport with Subject to Regularization (STR) visa,
  • A duly filled CERPAC statutory form,
  • Application letter from the employer requesting Regularization of stay and accepting Immigration Responsibility (IR) on behalf of the expatriate
  • Letter of Appointment/Employment
  • Acceptance of offer of Appointment/Employment
  • Form IMM22 with three (3) Passport –size photograph
  • Quota Approval
  • Vetted Credentials

Requirements for CERPAC renewal.

  • completed CERPAC Application Form
  • copy of the expired CERPAC card must be submitted
  • Application letter from the Employer requesting for renewal/replacement of Residence Card and accepting I.R.
  • Quota approval
  • Valid Passport and photocopies of relevant pages

APPEAL AGAINST IMMIGRATION DECISION

There is no appeal process against an immigration decision for foreigners wishing to come into Nigeria to invest because once an application is made to the relevant Diplomatic mission together with the requirements, it is granted as a matter of course, upon the fulfillment of the requirements and the submission of the necessary documents.

Accordingly, once an expatriate quota is granted and any other requirements fulfilled, then a Subject to Regularization (STR) visa will be granted.

Refusal of an application for business visa and expatriate quota or STR visa is only due to the non-fulfillment of the requirements and non-submission of the relevant documents. In which case, a re-application can be done to meet the requirements.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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