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.
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.
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.