Minister directs missions abroad to process Nigerian visas within 48hrs

Posted: November 20, 2012 in travel & tourism

Five months after announcing a new visa regime for the country aimed at boosting trade and tourism, the federal government has instructed its missions abroad to ensure that the processing and issuance of Nigerian visas to foreigners intending to visit the country does not exceed 48 hours.

Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Olugbenga Ashiru, who announced the latest directive at the signing of “Performance Contract” with Heads of Nigerian Missions in the United States of America at the Nigeria House in New York, said government would no longer condone cases of delays in visa issuance to investors and visitors

“Heads of missions are to hold their individual officers accountable for the delivery of agreed outcome such as the number and timeliness of visas and passports issued, the periodicity and quality of reports that are rendered, among other deliverables,” said Ashiru.

The minister further warned that any officer who cannot live up to the highest standard of efficient service delivery, would find it difficult to operate in the new environment that the ministry sought to create.

It would be recalled that the country’s highest decision-making body, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) Wednesday, June 13, approved a new visa regime which aims at securing the nation’s borders, boosting tourism, attracting foreign direct investments and opening up the economy for employment opportunities.

Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku, who made the disclosure at a media briefing on the outcome of the weekly FEC meeting in company of the Minister of Interior, Comrade Abba Moro stated that under the new visa  regime, some class of visitors would obtain their visas at the point of entry especially the international airports.

He stated further that depending on the purpose of the visit, foreigners coming into Nigeria are now to be issued visas under the following visa regime, short stay, long term of up to 10 years, temporary stay, permanent residence or the new category of investment or skill transfer visa.

Elucidating further, Moro said that the new visa regime has been approved by the Council, noting that the assumption and dynamics on the basis of which the nation’s old policy was based has changed in line with the realities of the times.

He noted that the recent security challenges facing the country, necessitates multifaceted approach to the problems including a very vital component of fighting internal security such as the mode of entry and exit to and from the country.

“So today, we have a new visa regime that contains some innovations in the sense that new elements are being introduced in line with the strategic interest of Nigeria and of course most other areas still have to be based on the principle of reciprocity. We have a visa policy in place now that is targeted at boosting tourism, attracting foreign direct investments, opening up the economy for employment opportunities and above all, a policy that seeks to secure our borders,” he stated.

Continuing, Moro said: “We now have visa at entry point. So, if a businessman, a tourist or a business delegation or a government delegation has reason to visit Nigeria at short notice to do business with Nigeria and if by any coincidence we don’t have embassy in such country, such delegation or group can come to Nigeria and obtain their visas at port of entry particularly at international airports. Of course, this is without prejudice to ensuring our internal security.

“We have short stay visa, long term visa up to 10 years, we have temporary stay visa, we have permanent resident visa and of course a new introduction now is that we have investment or skill transfer visa category. In this case, if you have a particular level of investment you want to make in Nigeria that can add value to the economy of the country, you can be given certain category of visa. In conjunction with the Federal Ministry of Labour if we classify certain skills as valuable to Nigeria that will don’t have here then we can on the basis of such skills grant you visa,” Moro explained.

The Interior Minister regretted the non-enforcement of expatriate quota, saying that under the new visa regime, government has now introduced appropriate mechanism that will make it easier to monitor compliance.

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