Business visas-on-arrival gain traction

28 Jan 15

NIGERIA

IMPACT – MEDIUM

What is the change? Nigeria has issued guidance that clarifies procedures for obtaining business visas-on-arrival for business travelers and investors.

What does the change mean? Business visas-on-arrival are available for limited business activities, and travelers must get a pre-approval letter from the Nigerian Immigration Service.

  • Implementation timeframe: Immediate.
  • Visas/permits affected: Business visa-on-arrival.
  • Who is affected: Business visitors and investors entering Nigeria for qualifying business activities.
  • Impact on processing times: The process requires pre-approval by immigration authorities but eliminates consular application procedures.
  • Business impact: The business visa-on-arrival will greatly ease travel and processing for business travelers and for visitors from countries where Nigeria does not have an embassy.
  • Next steps: Travelers planning to rely on business visas-on-arrival should work with their BAL representative to obtain pre-approval from the Nigerian Immigration Service before travel.

Background: Nigeria first announced plans to introduce the business visas-on-arrival in September 2013. Following some confusion about procedures, the Nigerian Immigration Service has now issued guidance and has expanded business visa-on-arrival services at Murtala Muhammed International Airport.

To qualify, business visitors must intend to conduct limited business activities, such as visiting a local branch office, holding a business meeting or lecture, attending a seminar or training, participating in a show or exhibit, or visiting a government agency by invitation.

Travelers must obtain an approval letter from the comptroller general of the Nigerian Immigration Service addressed to the immigration officials at a port of entry that grants approval of visas-on-arrival. Travelers must also present a letter of invitation, airplane tickets and hotel reservations. Business visas-on-arrival are usually valid for up to 90 days and provide for multiple entries. They may be extended for up to another 90 days.

Work activities are prohibited, and business visas-on-arrival cannot be converted to work visas.

BAL Analysis: Business visas-on-arrival are a welcome option for frequent business travelers and those traveling on short notice. However, they should not be used as a substitute for work authorization by those intending to enter Nigeria to perform work.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Nigeria. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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