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Visa Requirements for Nigeria

Moving to Nigeria is a big challenge for many expats. The InterNations Expat Guide offers information on the country’s paperwork-heavy immigration process, Nigerian cities, and other useful info you should be aware of before relocating to Nigeria.
The visa application process is a rare instance in which no cash is needed.

Visas

Nigeria offers four different types of visas, each valid for three months. They differ in the purpose of visit and their requirements. If it is your first time in Nigeria, you have to visit the Nigerian embassy in your home country – or a country where you’ve lived for at least the last six months – for a personal interview. The different types of visas are as follows:

  • Tourist visa: This visa is valid for touristic purposes or social visits only.
  • Business visa: for all business-related purposes except actual employment (e.g. conferences, contract negotiations).
  • Temporary Work Permit: This permit is intended for specific short-term work only, e.g. repairs to equipment, research, auditing, or installation work. It is employer-led, that is, the employer pays for the entire process and takes care of the application.
  • Subject to Regularization (STR) visa: This is the one you need for taking up paid employment as an expat in Nigeria. Please keep in mind that having an employment contract is a requirement for this visa!
  • Other visas: These relate primarily to those transiting through Nigeria or visiting for diplomatic reasons and include the transit visa, direct transit visa (airside), and official diplomatic visa.

STR Visas

Please be aware that taking up employment in Nigeria involves a fair bit of red tape. Fortunately, the STR visa is employer-led, i.e. your future company will provide you with the necessary paperwork. You still, however, have to apply for the visa yourself. The application involves two steps: One can be completed online on the website of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS); the other involves the embassy in your home country.

Getting an STR visa is only the first step towards working and living in Nigeria. The desired outcome is the CERPAC, Combined Expatriate Residence Permit and Aliens Card, which is a combined residence and work permit, and valid for two years.

The STR visa alone does not entitle you to take up employment in Nigeria right away; your employer must first apply for the regularization of your stay after you arrive in Nigeria. If everything is in order, you will be given the CERPAC. Then, you are able to start working. It is very uncommon for expats to be denied the CERPAC once the STR visa has been granted, so there is no need to worry.

Planning ahead is a wise decision, as is being quick about the necessary steps once you arrive in Nigeria. Both the regularization and the CERPAC also involve a number of forms. Additionally, you have to apply for an Aliens Registration Card at the immigration office of your destination within 21 days.

Overview

In summary, there are six steps to be taken before you can start working and living in Nigeria.

Steps to be taken from home:

  • Sign an employment contract
  • Fill out the online application on the NIS homepage
  • Contact your local embassy with the necessary paperwork

Steps to be taken in Nigeria:

  • Apply for Regularization
  • Apply for CERPAC
  • Apply for the Aliens Registration Card

We realize this might seem like a lot, but your employer will help you with most of the process. 

 

We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete. 

Paul Zimmerer

"InterNations is a fantastic community for expats and a must for anyone preparing to move abroad. I recommend it to all my fellow Germans overseas."

Stella Munúa

"This site is just what I was looking for when I moved to Lagos. Thanks for all the advice and support that helped us to settle in Nigeria."

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