by Dolapo Adelana
The Federal Government has reviewed the visa processes for foreigners who wish to visit Nigeria for business and tourism purposes, with a view to removing bureaucratic bottleneck and encouraging business travellers and tourists, thus giving a boost to the economy.
In a statement issued in Lagos on Sunday, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said the measures were part of the action plan for the ease of doing business as well as efforts to boost tourism, within the overall context of the Administration’s economic diversification agenda.
”The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has reviewed the requirements for Nigerian visas to make them more customer friendly, and details of this review are available on the NIS official website, www.immigration.gov.ng. Types of visas currently reviewed include Visa on Arrival (VoA) processes, Business Visas, Tourist Visas and Transit Visas,” the Minister said.
Alhaji Mohammed explained that Business Visas are available for foreign travellers who wish to travel to Nigeria for Meetings, Conferences, Seminars, Contract Negotiation, Marketing, Sales, Purchase and distribution of Nigerian Goods, Trade Fairs, Job Interviews, Training of Nigerians, Emergency/Relief work, Crew members, Staff of NGOs, Staff of INGOs, Researchers and Musical Concerts.
He said Tourist Visas are also available to foreign travelers who wish to visit Nigeria for the purpose of tourism or to visit family and friends while Nigeria Visa on Arrival is a class of short visit visa issued at the port of entry, and it is available to frequently-travelled High-Net-Worth Investors and intending visitors who may not be able to obtain visa at the Nigerian Missions/Embassies in their countries of residence due to the absence of a Nigerian mission in those countries or exigencies of urgent business travels.
The Minister said other actions that have been taken by the NIS for the ease of doing business and facilitation of travelling for Nigerians and foreigners alike include the harmonisation of multiplicity of Airport Arrival and Departure Form/Cards into a single form for all agencies of government to save foreign visitors from the current frustrating practice of filling 3 different forms or more and the decentralisation of Immigration services to the State Commands.
”Re-issuance of passports for change of names due to marital reasons or lost cases have been decentralised to all State Commands and Foreign Missions to save passport holders from additional costs and inconvenience of travelling to the Service Headquarters in Abuja, while additional 28 offices have been opened for issuance of Residence Permits in Nigeria, bringing the issuance of Combined Expatriate Residence Permit And Aliens Cards (CERPAC) closer to the doorstep of employers of expatriates at all 36 states and FCT,” he said.
Alhaji Mohammed said the measures by NIS fit perfectly into the 60-day national action plan for ease of doing business in Nigeria that was approved recently by the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC), as well as the Administration’s efforts to boost international tourism.
Dolapo is a writer and journalist who works with YNaija. He has interests in Christianity, politics and sports.