Nigeria has officially launched an online system aimed at enabling business executives to apply for a visa online and collect it on arrival 48 hours later. The development comes two weeks after unveiling a new immigration policy for the country.
The move to ease visa rules in the country follows complaints from foreign executives that obstructive embassy officials made it difficult to enter the country.
Under the new Visa on Arrival (VOA) system, travellers must register with the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) and provide details including travel document information, after which a letter of approval may be issued and the visa collected on arrival.
Comptroller General of the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) Mohammed Babandede, explained that the facility was in line with the government’s “policy on creation of a conducive environment to attract foreign high net worth investors and professionals into the economy”.
“As a critical member of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC), the NIS has automated its visa application and processing services at all entry points.
“This is to ensure that all genuine requests for Visa on Arrival facility from any part of the world are processed and issued within 48 hours (two working days).”
According to Babandede, the new process was designed to eliminate all unnecessary bureaucratic visa processing procedures in Nigerian Missions abroad, adding further that it was also to serve the interests of would-be visitors from countries where Nigeria does not have a Mission.
He said that a dedicated e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org had been deployed where visa applicants, their representatives or companies could forward their requests and details.
“Applicants are, however, to note that successful payment online is not an approval and should not proceed to Nigeria until you have received ‘Visa on Arrival Approval letter’ duly issued by the NIS Headquarters, Abuja.”
Overseas investors have mainly stayed away from Africa’s largest economy after being put off by a gap of around 30 percent between the official rate of the naira currency, controlled by the central bank, and rates on the parallel market.