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Guide to Business in Nigeria




Foreigners entering and residing in Nigeria


Nigerian law requires that every non-Nigerian who wishes to enter and or reside in Nigeria and every company that employs or intends to employ non-Nigerians must comply with the regulations made under the Immigration Act 1990. The Nigeria Immigration Service administers the Act



Entry into Nigeria by Non-Nigerians


As in any other country, non-Nigerians who wish to enter Nigeria must obtain a visa. A Nigerian visa is obtainable from a Nigerian Diplomatic Mission in the country where the intending visitor is domiciled. Where there is no Mission in that country then the visa may be obtained from a Mission in the country nearest to the country of domicile. The various visas are as detailed in the table below


Where ever the term “IR” is used in the table, it means “Immigration Responsibilities”. IR means acceptance (by the Nigerian individual or corporate body that invited the non-Nigerian) of Immigration Responsibility which includes but is not limited to, provision of accommodation, feeding and other logistics and where it becomes necessary, the cost of repartition or  deportation of the non-Nigerian.



Type of Visa or Entry Permit

Who qualifies

Requirements and conditions for issuance





Business men and or Investors coming to Nigeria for purposes of business.

Evidence of sufficient funds


A valid return ticket


Letter of invitation              .


Acceptance of IR  by person or company inviting the foreigner


Evidence of sufficient funds for maintenance while in Nigeria or proof of other satisfactory arrangements for support while in Nigeria.


Obtainable from any Nigerian Mission.


Business Visa is valid for 90 (Ninety) days but can be extended


Employment is prohibited




Temporary Work Permit (TWP)


Experts invited for the purpose of doing specialised job for a short period. An example is the installation or maintenance of specialised machinery

Letter of request or invitation


Confirmed Airline Return ticket


Acceptance of IR


TWP is issued by and obtainable only from the office of the Comptroller General of Immigration, Headquarters, Nigeria Immigration Service. Abuja.


Validity is for the period specified in the TWP




Subject to Regularisation (STR)

Expatriates entering Nigeria to take up an employment

Valid passport with minimum of 6 months validity


Letter of employment


Letter of invitation


Expatriate Quota Approval of the company inviting or offering the employment.


Acceptance of IR


Curriculum Vitae or Resume of the applicant


Evidence of qualifications (Credentials) of the applicant


Duly completed form IMM 22




If applicant is to take up the position of Chief Executive Officers (C.E.O) of company, a copy of the Resolution of the Board of Director to that effect should be provided


STR is obtainable only from the Nigerian Missions in the country where the applicant is and has been domiciled for at least six (6) months prior to the making of the application





Transiting passengers with confirmed Visa to onward destination outside Nigeria.


Airline Pilots and Seamen

Valid passport with minimum of 6 months validity


Valid visa to onward destination outside Nigeria


Confirmed Airline ticket to final destination


Evidence of sufficient funds for maintenance while in Nigeria or proof of other satisfactory arrangements for support while in Nigeria.




Direct Transit

Airline Pilots and Seamen who are signing on


Transiting passengers with confirmed Visa to onward destination outside Nigeria.

Same as for Transit Visa


Validity is for 48 (Forty-eight) hours


Employment is prohibited





Persons visiting Nigeria for the purpose of tourism.


Persons visiting family members who are in Nigeria.

Valid passport with minimum of 6 months validity


Valid Visa to onward destination


Valid Airline return ticket


Evidence of sufficient funds for maintenance while in Nigeria


Evidence of accommodation such as Hotel reservation


Letter of invitation


Acceptance of IR


Employment is prohibited




Official or Diplomatic

Visiting Heads of States and their families


Senior officials of Governments and their families


Diplomats and their families


Holders of United Nations Diplomatic Passport and Laisser passez


Members of accredited Diplomatic Missions


Members of International organizations


Members of accredited International Non Governmental Organisations (NGO’s)

Valid standard, official or diplomatic passports


Note Verbale


Official or Diplomatic Visa’s are obtainable from any Nigerian Mission



The processes for application for any of the visas listed above are generally the same and include


.               A passport valid for at least 6 months prior to application


.               Non-refundable visa application fee


.               Duly completed application form


.               Invitation letter


.               Copies of recently taken 4x4 cm coloured passport size photographs


Nigerian Missions may make country-specific rules. All prospective applicants are advised to first make enquiries from the Missions and further advised to comply with the country-specific rules (if any) made by the Missions.



Residence in Nigeria by Non- Nigerians


Every non-Nigerian who has entered Nigeria legally and who wishes to reside and or work in Nigeria must make an application for a Combined Expatriate Residence Permit and Aliens Card which is generally referred to as a CERPAC. The CERPAC is valid for two years, is renewable and is in two categories, a Green Card and a Brown card.


Possession of a CERPAC Green Card allows a non-Nigerian to reside in Nigeria and carry out an approved activity as specified in the permit, or to accompany a resident or citizen of Nigeria as a dependant.


Possession of a valid CERPAC Green Card does not exempt the holder from having a valid entry or re-entry visa. Holders of resident status in Nigeria who are proceeding on leave or temporary duty outside Nigeria should apply for re-entry visa before their departure from Nigeria.


Non Nigerians resident in Nigeria or visiting with the intention to remain in Nigeria in excess of 56 days as well as members of the crew of a ship leaving their ship and staying ashore in excess of 28 days are required by law to register and obtain a CERPAC Brown Card.



Expatriate Quota


Almost all applicants for a CERPAC are employed by companies or individuals running businesses in Nigeria. The employers must first apply for and be granted an Expatriate Quota. The Expatrtiate Quota scheme is designed by Government to prevent the indiscriminate employment of expatriates where there are qualified and suitable Nigerians to fill those positions.