The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) launched the Nigeria Visa Policy 2020 (the NVP 2020) on February 4, 2020. This was created as part of the continuous effort of the Federal Government to support the country’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) by ensuring that local visa policies reflect global best practices. The NVP 2020 seeks to improve the ease of doing business, attract foreign direct investment, tourists, and individuals with specialized skills without compromising national security. In detail Key highlights of the NVP 2020:
• New visa classes – The NVP 2020 expands the previous six classes of visas to 79 classes. Each visa class is intended to cover every conceivable travel purpose. Nigerians who were born abroad with dual citizenship or who renounced Nigerian Citizenship also have special visa classes. Each visa will have a unique code for ease of identification and processing.
• Visa on Arrival – The Visa on Arrival is available for short visits to passport holders of African Union member states. • Visa application process – It reviews the visa application process to include embassies, application centers, Visa on Arrival, e-Visas, and the automation of Temporary Work Permit (TWP) application. The effective date of the NVP 2020 was not announced at the time it was launched.
The Comptroller General of Immigration has now published an effective date. Effective date Though introduced earlier in the year, the NVP 2020 comes into effect at all ports of entry and Nigerian Missions from October 1, 2020. New visa classes There are four visa exemption classes: 1. Citizens of any Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS); Insights 2 PwC 2. Visa abolishment agreement countries; 3. International organizations; and 4. Reciprocity visa waiver agreement countries.
There are 75 new visa mandatory classes (previously six) broadly in three groups as follows:
• Short Visit Visas (24 classes) – Allows people visit for no more than three months on tourism, business travel, seminars, etc.
• Temporary Residence Visas (36 classes) – Allows individuals to reside in Nigeria for a period not exceeding two years on employment, also for students, interns, etc.
• Permanent Residence Visas (15 classes) – Caters to long-term stay by retirees, investors, highly skilled immigrants and their spouses.
Permits for principal applicants ranging from five years to an indefinite period. The purpose of the expansion is to ensure specific visa needs are met by the applicable visa class. Where visitors to Nigeria were generally categorized as business, work, tourist, or transit persons, the NVP 2020 has created visa classes to suit the varied status of visitors.