Immigration: Focus on Nigeria

The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has witnessed a series of changes since it was extracted from the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) in 1958. The Immigration Department, as it was known then, was entrusted with the core immigration functions under the control of the Chief Federal Immigration Officer (CFIO). At inception, the department had a narrow operational scope and maintained a low profile and simple approach in attaining the desired goals and objectives of the government. During this period, only the Visa and Business sections were set up.
In 1975, the structure of the NIS changed to the policy we recognize at present. In 2007, Nigeria became the first country in Africa which introduced the e-passport. The adoption of the e-passport has become a major tool in the fight against trans-border criminality. As a result of this policy, most applications are carried out digitally.

Nigeria Immigration: Available Visas and Registration

  • Short-Term Tourist Visa
  • Short-Term Business Visa
  • Temporary Work Permit
  • Subject to Regularization Visa
  • CERPAC and Alien Card Registration

Subject to Regularisation (STR) Visa – An Overview
An STR Visa is the type of visa required by foreigners seeking to take up long employment in Nigeria. 
The application must be made to the Controller General Immigration (‘CGI’) by the prospective employer, in writing, confirming that the company has a vacancy on the expatriate quota and at the same time stating the position in which a prospective employee is to be employed and confirming acceptance of immigration responsibility. The employer company applies to the Nigerian embassy or consular office in the country where the intending employee/applicant resides, requesting a grant of the STR visa.
The STR visa is issued at a Nigerian mission without reference to the CGI, provided that the applicant presents specified documents. The STR visa is granted for 90 days during which an application must be made to the CHI, to regularize the stay of the prospective employee.

The Combined Expatriate Residence Permit and Alien Card (CERPAC) Process – An Overview
Once an employee arrives in Nigeria with an STR Visa, they must apply to the Nigerian Immigration Service for the issuance of a CERPAC. CERPAC is an acronym for Combined Expatriate Residence Permit and Alien Card. This is a green card that allows the expatriate employee to live and work in Nigeria for 12 months, after which he/she can apply for a renewal of his/her resident permit for a further period, provided the quota position they are occupying remains valid.
In addition to the green card, non-commonwealth expatriates are issued with an alien (brown) card. The alien card is processed after the green card has been issued, and physical presence of the expatriate is required for the purposes of interview and biometrics.