NIS addresses travel concerns during COVID-19

THE NIS hosted over 100 business stakeholders in a virtual meeting where issues of travel concern during COVID-19, procedures for residency and entry of migrants affected by the suspension of International flights and closure of land borders were addressed.

The minister of interior was represented by the Director of Citizenship and Business, Stephen Okon, and the Senior Special Adviser to the President on Industry, Trade and Investment, Jumoke Oduwole, participated in the virtual discussion.

The Nigeria Immigration Service in a bid to deliver better services to its publics in line with the reform policy of the current administration and the Federal Government’s Ease of Doing Business, has successfully automated the processing of Visa on Arrival, VoA, and Temporary Work Permit, TWP.

Addressing the stakeholders in the virtual meeting on Wednesday  September 2, 2020, the Comptroller General of Nigeria Immigration Service, Muhammad Babandede, said that “applicants can now apply and pay for Visa on Arrival online and also receive their approvals online”.

He explained that the NIS has commenced online processing of Temporary Work Permit to remove third party, where officers are involved directly which negates transparency and Ease of Doing Business. It is also in furtherance of the attainment of the Reform target set for NIS by the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council, PEBEC, in its National Action Plan (NAP 5.0) on Entry and Exit of People.

Babandede further stated that automation reduces the cost of travelling, extra cost incurred by Human Resource Managers and Public Relation Officers of companies and organizations, who travel to Abuja in an effort to process Visa on Arrival and Temporary Work Permit.

He said that “today marks the end of such unnecessary cost and delays witnessed in the process and delivery of services. NIS has taken the steps of removing bottlenecks in the spirit of Ease of Doing Business by ensuring that all applicants for VoA and TWP are treated online”.

The CGI directed that an e-mail address, be dedicated for the process of TWP.

According to the statement by Sunday James, Service Public Relations Officer, NIS, all categories of visas for work must be obtained from Missions not in Nigeria. “The Nigeria Visa Policy 2020 is explicit on the categories of visas to be obtained at the point of entry into Nigeria and from the Missions. VoA are of 2 categories, for Africans, which can be issued at the point of entry and for business which should be applied for online, paid for online and approval received online. There shall be no extensions for TWP and other short visit visas except on special cases to be approved by the Comptroller General of Immigration,” it said.

In line with Federal Government’s approval to commence international flight operations from 5th September, 2020, at Murtala Mohammed International Airports (MMIA) Lagos and Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airports (NAIA) Abuja, and the earlier approval of the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, vide letter Ref. No. MI/PM/16012/S.366/Vol.ll/ dated 6th April, 2020 on waiver for visa payment due to COVID-19, closure of land borders and suspension of international flights, the Service in exercise of its statutory mandate wish to implement as follows:

“All Migrants in Nigeria, whose permits expired from 23rd March to 5th September, 2020 with evidence of confirmed return tickets scheduled to travel out of the country are to be issued with free extensions to enable them depart on or before 15th September, 2020;

“All Migrants whose permit/visitor’s pass expired before 23rd March, 2020 shall pay overstay penalty for the number of days stayed before the lockdown on 23rd March, 2020;

“All resident Migrants, whose permits expired outside the country from 23rd March, 2020 shall be allowed entry into Nigeria with the expired permits on or before 25th September, 2020. Such returning holders of expired permits and their dependents are to renew the permits within thirty (30) days of arrival to Nigeria to avoid sanctions under relevant Immigration laws;

“All migrants who processed payments for Visa on Arrival and other categories of visas from the Nigerian Missions before 23rd March 2020, are to apply for revalidation by uploading copy of the previous payments via not later than 15th September, 2020; and

All migrants who obtained Visa on Arrival Pre-approval Letters and other categories of visas from the Nigerian Missions before 23rd March, 2020, whose approvals/visas expired before 5th September, 2020 are also to apply for revalidation without fresh payments by uploading copies of the expired pre-approval letters/visas via not later than 15th September, 2020.

“The Service has equally activated Visa on Arrival and e-Visa payment portals to enable the intending migrants to Nigeria process entry visas as from 5th September, 2020.

“In a situation where migrants have obtained a TWP approval and the Mission where such visas are to be issued are closed, they should submit the complaint through

“These two (2) International Airports, MMIA and NAIA are to commence issuance of visas in line with Nigeria Visa Policy 2020 with effect from the period of the opening of the designated Airports.”

It added that any violation will attract penalties and that the Comptroller General has approved that the meeting will be quarterly with stakeholders.

– Sept. 3 2020 @ 14:55 GMT |

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