The sources of the Nigerian
Immigration Law are divided into primary and secondary sources. The primary
sources mainly consist of the Immigration Act, 2015, Immigration Regulations,
2017 and the Nigerian Visa Policy, 2020, while the secondary sources are the
1999 Constitution as altered and Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content
Development Act 2010. Embedded under these laws are visas and permits that must be obtained by
foreigner desirous of entering into the country for one reason or the other.
The Nigerian Immigration Service is the body statutorily mandated and empowered
to issue or grant such visas and permit.
This article serves as a summary exposition of these relevant visas and
2.0. Classes of visas
available under the Nigerian Law
The categories of visas existing and
obtainable by expatriate under the Nigerian law include the following;
Visa/ Entry Permit
visa is applicable to foreigners travelling to destinations other than Nigeria
but having reason to stop in Nigeria with visa to their destination. To be
eligible, such foreigner must have a confirmed ticket to his/her final
destination with adequate fund.
Visa is meant for foreigners who are interested in establishing business or
investment in Nigeria. It is valid for the period of three months but is
invalid for employment purposes.
Foreigners wishing to visit
Nigeria for the purpose of tourism or to visit family and friends are required
to obtain tourist visa. Requirement for issuance of tourist visa includes;
evidence of sufficient funds, evidence of hotel accommodation and flight
itinerary. The visa is not valid for employment.
from being entitled to diplomatic immunity, diplomats and member of their
families are also entitled to diplomatic visas. Eligibility to diplomatic visa
also extends to visiting head of states and their families, top officials of
government and their families, members of accredited international
non-governmental organisations and international organisations.
Visa on Arrival channel is available at the port of entry into the Country.
This is available for those whose visa application falls within the qualifying
classes of visas; these include frequent business travellers, emergency relief
workers and holders of passports of African Union countries.
to Regularisation Visa (STR)
who seek to work with individuals, corporate bodies or governments in Nigeria
need a STR to do so. Where the position to be occupied by the foreigner is
Chief Executive Officer of the Corporate Organisation, there will be need for
the extract of the minutes of the Board’s resolution.
Work Permit Visa
is a short-term employment (TWP visa) is a single entry work visa issued to
foreign nationals to carry out short-term specialised work such as; Audits and
accounts, consultancy services, installation and repairs of specialised
equipment and machineries , maintenance repairs and feasibility studies. A TWP
may be extended for two months with the approval of the Comptroller General of
Quota is an approval granted to companies or registered firms to employ the
services of expatriates with relevant competences. One significant use of the
expatriate quota is that it is meant to create an avenue for Nigerian employees
to understudy their expatriate counterparts during the validity of its
The two types of expatriate quota
Until Review (PUR)
PUR expatriate quota is granted on a permanent basis usually to the benefit of
a person occupying a top management position in the company e.g. Chairman or
The essence of applying for and obtaining the PUR is to exclude these employees
from the hassle that may be experienced in the course of periodic renewal of
residence permits and also to ensure that the local company is able to protect
type of expatriate quota is usually reserved for the position of Director and
other employees of the company for between one and three years.
Expatriate Residence Permit And Aliens Card (CERPAC)
The CERPAC is a
permission granted to Foreigners to live and work in Nigeria for up to two
years, which is subject to renewal and validity of the expatriate quota. It is
a work and resident permit required for any foreigner to reside in Nigeria for
any lawful purposes excluding Diplomats; Government Officials, Niger Wives;
and Non- Governmental Organizations (NGOs) who are granted CERPAC gratis. The
card is valid for two years, after which application for revalidation must be
The two type of CERPAC are;
CERPAC Green Card
This card allows foreigner to reside in
Nigeria and carry out an approved activity as stated on the permit or to
accompany a resident or citizen of Nigeria as a dependant.
CERPAC Brown Card
This card is mainly a movement chart for
every foreigner in Nigeria or visiting with the intention to remain in the
country beyond 56 days in accordance with registration requirement under the
law. It is also applicable to crew members leaving their ship and staying
ashore in excess of 28 days.
3.0. Concluding Remarks
this piece has basically dealt with some of the required visas and/or permits
that foreigners seeking to come in to the Country must obtain. Where any
foreigner is found wanting or guilty of non-compliance with the requirements as
set out under the Immigration Law would be subjected to stringent penalties –
ranging from administrative fines to imprisonment and deportation.
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 Section 37(9) of the Act and Regulation 6(1)- (3)
 Section 37(8) of the Act.
 Section 36(1) of the Act and Regulation 12 (1) and (2) of the
Regulation. Also, under Section 33 (1) of the Nigerian Oil & Gas Industry
Content Development Act 2010 operators shall make application to, and receive
the approval of, the Nigerian Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring
Board before making any application for expatriate quota to
the Ministry of Internal Affairs or any other agency or Ministry of the Federal
 It is instructive that there are circumstances where additional
expatriate quota may be granted and that an expatriate quota may also be
 Adekunle Obebe, “Nigeria Immigration Law & Practice” (1st
Edition, 2017 BLP Publication Service) 54
 In practice, the ‘Grantee’ of a PUR Quota applies for revalidation
after 10 years of its grant even though no law provides for such revalidation. Ibid.
 Niger wives is a residence permit for wives of Nigerian National