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Nigeria Update: Guidelines for Visa Re-validation and Migrant Travels

Lynn Mackenzie, J.D., LLM

Courtesy of  Advocaat Law Practice

Upon resumption of international flights in Nigeria on September 5, 2020, the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) issued guidelines for visa revalidation and migrant travels affected by the suspension of international flights and closure of airspace. The guidelines provide as follows:

  1. All migrants in Nigeria, whose Permit expired between March 23, 2020 to September 5, 2020 will upon presentation of their confirmed return tickets, be granted a free extension to enable them to depart the country on, or before September 15, 2020.
  2. All migrants in Nigeria, whose Permit or Visitors’ pass expired before March 23, 2020 will pay overstay penalty for the number of days stayed before the suspension of international flights and border closure, which commenced on March 23, 2020.
  3. All resident migrants whose residence permits expired, while outside the country from March 23, 2020 shall be allowed entry into Nigeria with the expired permit on or before September 25, 2020. These returning migrants are required to renew their residence permit within thirty (30) days of their arrival in Nigeria to avoid sanctions under the relevant Immigration laws.
  4. All migrants who processed payments for Visa on Arrival (VOA) and other categories of visas from the Nigerian Missions before March 23, 2020 are to apply for revalidation. A copy of the previous payment must be sent to; Cisevisa@immigration.gov.ng no later than September 15, 2020.
  5. All migrants who obtained VOA pre-approval Letters and other categories of visas from the Nigerian Missions before March 23, 2020, whose approvals/visas expired before September 5, 2020, are to also apply for revalidation. The revalidation process requires that copies of the expired pre-approval letters/visas be sent to cis-evisa@immigration.gov.ng not later than September 15, 2020. These categories of migrants will not be required to make fresh payments.
  6. VOA and e-Visa payment portals have been activated to enable intending migrants to Nigeria process entry visas as from September 5, 2020.
  7. Migrants who have obtained Temporary Work Permit (TWP) approval addressed to Missions that are closed for visa issuance should submit a complaint through cisevisa@immigration.gov.ng. The NIS will, upon receipt of the complaint, revert with appropriate options for visa issuance.
  8. All intending passengers are required to register via a Nigerian International Travel Portal online accessed through https://nitp.ncdc.gov.ng/onboarding/guidelines.
  9. While on the portal, passengers are required to complete the ‘Health Declaration/SelfReporting’ form, upload COVID-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test conducted in the country of departure and make payment for a repeat PCR test to be done upon arrival in Nigeria, with the options of where and when to carry out the test.

The content of this article is provided for general information purposes. The provision of this article does not constitute legal advice or opinion of any kind; no advisory or fiduciary relationship is created between Relocation Africa and any other person accessing or using this article. Relocation Africa will not be liable for any damages or loss arising from using any part of this article.

 

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email info@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: [1], [2].

Nigerian Government Shifts Resumption of International Flights to September 5

The Federal Government of Nigeria recently announced a shift in the resumption of international flights to September 5.

According to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), the federal government postponed the resumption date, earlier fixed for Saturday, because of its inability to put in place non-aviation logistics for flights resumption.

The government has also said it has deployed a Gene Expert machine at the National Hospital Abuja and University of Abuja Teaching Hospital Gwagwalada (UATH) to reduce the turnaround time for COVID-19 diagnosis to one hour.

It has also unveiled two transparency dashboards to enhance accountability in national COVID-19 response.

Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, had said international airports in the country would reopen effective August 29 to resume international flight operations.

But at a press briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 yesterday in Abuja, NCAA Director General, Capt. Musa Nuhu, said there were non-aeronautical logistics that needed to be put in place before the country’s airspace could be reopened to international flights.

He said: “Since the announcement by the honourable minister of aviation a few weeks ago that international flights will resume anytime from 29th of August, the aviation sector has worked assiduously to be ready for this date.

“The aviation sector, including the airports, is ready to resume on the 29th. However, we have other non-aviation logistics we are still working on mostly to do with the COVID-19 protocols, tests and online platforms. We need to get this in place so that we will have a smooth and efficient resumption of international flights without difficulties for all the passengers.

“So, for this reason, unfortunately, I have to let you know that the resumption date has been shifted by one week to the 5th of September, which is now a sacrosanct date. “The initial announcement was anytime from August 29. Now we have fixed a date – 5th of September- ensure that resumption of international flights.

“In due course, once these logistics are done, we will be announcing the protocols for the resumption and also we will be giving further details on the principle of reciprocity we have mentioned. So, hopefully, early next week, we will release this.”

Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, also said the federal government had deployed a Gene Expert machine in the National Hospital Abuja and University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, to shorten the turnaround time for COVID-19 diagnosis.

He said with the new development, cases of suspected COVID-19 emergencies could now be diagnosed on-site, thereby “reducing the turnaround and waiting time to one hour.”

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email info@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: [1], [2].

Updated Level 2 Lock-down Rules for South Africa: Flights, Home Affairs, Transit, and Weddings

Government has gazetted a number of directives which clarify and update a number of rules around the country’s move to a level 2 lock-down.

This includes changes around events such as weddings, rules around travelling as well as a new list of services which will be offered by Home Affairs.

These changes are outlined in more detail below.


Home Affairs services

Home Affairs minister Aaron Motsoaledi has confirmed that the following additional services will be available at Home Affairs offices during the level 2 lock-down:

  • Applications for first issue of Identity Card or Green Barcoded Identity Documents;
  • Applications for Identity Cards or Green Barcoded Identity Documents by persons who have been issued with a Temporary Identity Certificate during the national state of disaster, which certificates have expired;
  • Applications for amendments of personal particulars;
  • Applications for rectification of personal particulars;
  • Back Office records retrieval services.

The directive also states that all temporary identity certificates issued during the period of the national state of disaster that have not yet expired on the date of commencement of this Directions, are hereby extended up to 31 October 2020.

Weddings and other events 

Tourism minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane has published a new directive clarifying the rules around weddings and other events.

The regulations state that attendance at a venue for a wedding, exhibition or any other function is limited to 50 persons and all hygienic conditions and physical distancing measures must be adhered to, for the limitation of exposure of persons to Covid-19.

The directive further states that the person organizing the wedding, exhibition or function and the owner or manager of the venue must ensure compliance with the requirement relating to physical distancing of at least one and a half metres and the wearing of a cloth face mask, a homemade item or another appropriate item that covers the nose and mouth, by all attendees.

Other requirements include:

  • Set up screening stations at entrances to facilitate the screening of persons before entry;
  • Not allow access to a person who is not wearing a cloth mask, or homemade item that covers the nose and mouth or another appropriate item to cover the nose and mouth;
  • Ensure that every person wears a cloth face mask, a homemade item or another appropriate item that covers the nose and mouth at all times except when eating or drinking;
  • Ensure that every person sanitizes before entry;
  • Sanitize microphones and podiums after use by every person.

Flights 

Transport minister Fikile Mbalula has published a new directive indicating that domestic passenger flights are permitted at the following airports:

  • Bram Fischer International Airport;
  • Cape Town International Airport;
  • East London Airport;
  • George Airport;
  • Hoedspruit Airport;
  •  Kimberly Airport;
  •  King Shaka International Airport;
  •  Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport;
  • Lanseria International Airport;
  • Margate Airport;
  • Mthatha Airport;
  • OR Tambo International Airport;
  • Phalaborwa Airport;
  • Pietermaritzburg Airport;
  • Port Elizabeth International Airport;
  • Richards Bay Airport;
  • Skukuza Airport;
  • Upington International Airport.

The directive also confirms that all international passenger flights are prohibited, except those flights authorized by the Minister of Transport.

Public transport 

In a separate directive, Mbalula  confirmed that all long-distance intra-provincial and inter-provincial travel by private vehicles and public transport services are permitted.

  • Minibus, midibus or minibus taxi -type services are permitted to carry not more than 70% of their maximum licensed passenger-carrying capacity for long-distance intra-provincial travel and inter-provincial travel;
  • Bus services are permitted to carry not more than 70% of their licensed passenger-carrying capacity for long-distance intra-provincial and inter-provincial travel;
  • Bus, minibus, midibus, minibus taxi -type services, e-hailing services, meter taxis, shuttle services, chauffeur driven vehicles and scholar transport vehicles are permitted to carry 100% of their maximum licensed passenger capacity for short-distance travel;
  • Rail operations are permitted to carry not more than 70% of their licensed passenger capacity.

The directive also confirms that the transportation of liquor is now permitted.

 

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email info@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: [1], [2].

Nigeria to Reopen Airports for International Flights From 29 August

Nigeria will reopen its airports for international flights from Aug. 29, its aviation minister said on Monday.

The airports have been closed since March 23 to all but essential international flights as part of the country’s efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika said four flights would begin landing daily in Lagos, and four in Abuja, with strict protocols. He did not say where they would be coming from.

“It is safe to fly, if we observe all those protocols in place,” Sirika said at a briefing in Abuja.

Africa’s most populous nation, which recorded its first confirmed coronavirus case in late February, now has 49,068 confirmed cases and 975 deaths.

It resumed domestic flights on July 8 and Sirika said there had been no confirmed virus transmissions on flights.

Passengers on international flights will need to provide a negative COVID-19 test in order to board and pay for another test after they arrive in Nigeria, Sirika said. They will also be required to fill in an online health questionnaire and present it to authorities when they land.

Those currently returning to Nigeria aboard repatriation flights are required to self-quarantine for 14 days, and authorities retain passports for that period. Sirika said on Monday they could “gradually” stop keeping passengers’ passports.

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email info@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: [1], [2].

Department of Tourism: Best and Worst Case Scenarios for When South Africa Will Reopen for Tourists

The Department of Tourism has published a new draft recovery plan, outlining the country’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and how the tourism industry is likely to be impacted over the coming year.

The document is a detailed breakdown of international and local projections for when tourism will likely open up, using modelling that takes into account various infection patterns and recovery scenarios.

South Africa’s projections are predicated on international trends, which modelling shows is likely to open up for travel in a wide window of between August 2020 and May 2021.

Depending on the local spread of Covid-19 and recovery scenarios, South Africa’s tourism could start opening up as early as August 2020 in the best-case scenario, the department said – but in the worst-case, the industry could remain shut until well into 2021.


International travel

The policy document notes that the reopening of international tourism and the country borders will not only be dependent on South Africa’s coronavirus response, but also 44 primary source markets which drive international tourism to the country.

To help model when these countries are likely to reopen, pandemic data for individual countries was sourced and manipulated to obtain the pandemic duration, maximum number of deaths per day, date of peak daily mortality and days since peak daily mortality.

Date of peak daily mortality and peak value had to be determined for each country, and if a country had not yet reached its peak, these were estimated either by extrapolation or by setting a peak number and peak factor.

A linear recovery equation was found for three benchmark countries: South Korea (plateau), China (steep) and the United States (very steep). Gradients and limitations were adjusted to apply more optimistic or pessimistic assumptions and develop alternative scenarios.

Lastly, using China as a benchmark, where it took 60 days to open partially and a further 30 days for full domestic opening, the Oxford Lockdown Stringency Index (LSI) was used to approximate the number of days it would take from the point of recording zero daily deaths to full opening per source country.

Using this data, the department forecasts a global tourism re-opening between August 2020 and early 2021.

“This scenario assumes that the general observed recovery trajectory persists and that progress towards enhanced treatments for Covid-19 by the end of 2020 continue, with an accessible vaccine coming to market by the end of 2021,” the department said.

“Since indications of international border re-openings remain speculative at the time of writing, these dates represent the earliest likely date at which international travel will resume.”

The below model shows the estimated travel periods for South Africa’s primary ‘source countries’  for tourism.

  • The model is set between August 2020 and May 2021;
  • For domestic travel (travel within the respective country), the opening window is set between August 2020 and mid-February 2021;
  • For international travel (to and from the respective country), the opening window is set between November 2020 and May 2021.

Localised and global reinfection 

While the above model provides a positive picture globally, the risk of localised or global reinfection waves continue to threaten the global economic recovery and the strength and consistency of projected recoveries therefore come with low levels of certainty.

“As countries begin the process of re-opening, there remains a strong likelihood that trajectories out of lockdown conditions will prove far more fragile than hoped and that contagion risk in neighbouring countries or regions will force many nations to remain closed off from the world well into 2021,” the department said.

For this reason, the department provided two further global scenarios:

  • A more fragile recovery that contains isolated setbacks and takes longer, but still reflects an extension of the current global trajectory;
  • prolonged pandemic where the search for a vaccine proves elusive, herd immunity does not successfully contain transmission and multiple re-infection waves result.

Under the first of these scenarios, the timeframe for early Asian/Australasian re-opening moves from July/August 2020 to November 2020, while core markets (the UK, Germany and the US) can only be expected to return after April 2021.

The second scenario paints an even bleaker picture, with international outbound travel from Asia picking up between May and July 2021 and travel from core markets only returning from November 2021.

“In both of the more pessimistic scenarios, the 2020/21 summer season will be seriously affected, with even the following year’s peak months being under threat.

“This will have grave implications for supply-side survival. Given the modelling outputs and qualitative data emerging from the market, however, the stronger international recovery scenario remains the core outlook,” the department said.

It added that containment of the virus ultimately requires effective treatment and vaccine lead times will be a key indicator of the duration of the stabilisation phase.

This will inform visa policies and port of entry protocols as countries without sufficient herd immunity or access to treatment will seek to limit viral vectors, it said.

“In the interim, temporary and semi-permanent restrictions on traveller mobility are inevitable and unlikely to be standardised across markets.

“Measures such as immunity certification, pre- and post-travel quarantine and mandatory visitor tracking will reassure travellers but also impede the visitor experience”


South Africa

The document notes that South Africa’s pandemic curve thus far resembles the ‘plateau’ shape of countries such as South Korea, Australia and Singapore more than it does the ‘exponential growth’ experience of China, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The implication is therefore that, having successfully ‘flattened the curve’ to prevent health services from being overwhelmed, the country now faces a more prolonged, but less acute battle against the pandemic, the department said.

Using the above model it used for foreign countries, it produced the three following scenarios for South Africa:

  • strong recovery scenario where South Africa is able to contemplate re-opening in August;
  • A fragile recovery scenario, where the horizon shifts out to November 2020;
  • low-road, prolonged crisis scenario where the pandemic rages well into 2021.

Citing data from the South African Covid-19 modelling consortium, the department said that the country is on track for a ‘middle-road recovery’.

Under this outlook, South Africa recovers slower than many other parts of the world but does not lag far behind key source markets in Europe and North America.

“It is therefore likely that tourism recovery will experience a number of phases, from hyper-local community attractions, through broader domestic tourism, followed potentially by regional land and air markets, and then the resumption of world-wide international travel,” the department said.

“The implementation of the government’s risk-adjusted strategy is based on sector-level risk assessments that consider transmission risk across a number of dimensions, including; age of workforce, remote working potential, ability to enforce health and safety regulations and travel considerations of employees.”

 

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email info@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: [1], [2].