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Requirements for Nigerians in Diaspora Travelling Home On Foreign Passports

Nigerians who wish to go home to Nigeria using another country’s passport are charged the same fee that is charged to all foreigners applying for a travel Visa to Nigeria.

They are also required to submit to biometric data enrollment as is the case for all foreign visa applicants – just as other countries ask Nigerians who wish to travel abroad to go through biometric visa enrollment.

This is also based on the fact that a significant number of Nigerians in diaspora are dual citizens – they are citizens of the country where they reside while retaining their Nigerian citizenship also.

It is very important to note that any Nigerian who resides abroad who wishes to come home can obtain or renew a Nigerian passport at the same relative price as that paid by Nigerians in Nigeria. But if the Nigerian residing abroad chooses to use their foreign passport to travel to Nigeria, they must then obtain a visa just like every other holder of a foreign passport wishing to travel to Nigeria.

This is not unique to Nigeria. This is the same rule that applies with every country that allows its citizens to have dual citizenship.

This response is aimed at providing a proper background into the recently introduced Nigerian biometric visa issuance in order to clear some misconceptions such as that which alleges that it is an exploitative policy targeted at Nigerians in diaspora wishing to “come home” for a visit.

It is imperative to highlight the need for the introduction of biometric processes in the visa issuance process as a means of addressing contemporary migration issues and challenges. Foremost in this regard, is the issue of security within the context of international terrorism as well as internal insurgency problems.

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SOUTH AFRICA | Hardcopy Police Clearances No Longer Required for In-Country Applications

Effective December 31, the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) of South Africa is automating the process of checking a foreign national’s South African criminal record, It will then no longer be necessary to apply for a hardcopy South African Police Clearance Certificate (“SA PCC”). The DHA will continue to accept hard copy SA PCCs until December 31; but the automated verification process will become mandatory starting January 1. Welcomed news for foreign nationals residing in South Africa, the new automated process is expected to significantly reduce document procurement time, in some cases trimming months from the processing times.

All foreign nationals who have resided in South Africa for twelve months or more since their 18th birthday require an SA PCC to support any application to renew their visas, change visa conditions, change visa status, apply for a Permanent Residence Permit, or submit a new application for a long-term Temporary Residence Visa from abroad.

Note that this new automated process is only applicable to SA PCCs being obtained to support applications filed from within South Africa. Foreign nationals who require SA PCCs for applications submitted at South African Missions abroad are still required to provide hardcopy SA PCCs as part of their applications processes.

Currently, it is necessary in all cases to obtain a hardcopy SA PCC through the Criminal Records Centre of the South African Police Service (“SAPS CRC”), a process that can take six weeks or more. This oftentimes results in applicants failing to meet the requirement of submitting their applications no less than 60 days prior to the expiry of their existing visas.

Under the new process, the DHA will check the foreign national’s biometric fingerprints – which are digitally recorded at the Visa Application Centre (“VAC”) at the time of application submission – against the police database to check for any recorded criminal convictions in South Africa. An additional fee of R175.00 (including VAT) will be levied by the VAC per applicant for the new service.

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