The Nigerian government published the new Immigration Regulations 2017 on March 20, in which it raised compliance issues, noted in the below summary:

Business Permit

  • Must be issued in the name of a local registered entity in Nigeria;
  • Foreign national must apply for a permit to reside in Nigeria as the business permit alone does not grant resident status;
  • A penalty will be introduced for failing to renew a business permit, however, guidelines have not been published yet.

Residence Permit

  • The Comptroller General of the Nigerian Immigration Service (CGI) is now responsible for the issuance of residence permits;
  • Valid for a duration for up to two years, subject to validity of expatriate quota;
  • The Residence Permit can be used for re-entry into Nigeria within 90 days of the date of endorsement in the foreign national’s passport.

Temporary Work Permit

  • Permit will be issued outside the expatriate quota provision;
  • Valid for two to three months subject to discretion of the CGI;
  • Possible to extend in country for 30 days;
  • Failure to renew permit may result in a fine of N$500,000, equivalent to USD$1,500, or three year imprisonment.

Visa on Arrival

  • Previously, Visa on Arrivals were only available to frequent business travelers;
  • Currently available to all foreign nationals, subject that they receive a pre-approval in country before boarding the flight to Nigeria.

Expatriate Quota

  • The Foreign national must obtain prior authorization from the Minister before establishing a business or profession, in which the approval would be received in the form of a business permit, expatriate quota, or both;
  • Employers may now apply for a stay of action letter to allow the foreign national to stay in Nigeria while their quota is renewed and work permit is extended.

Spousal Permits

  • New category introduced for spouses of Nigerian nationals;
  • Served as a multiple entry visa.

Control of Movement

  • New system to be implemented to identify, register, and monitor movement of foreign nationals;
  • Registration would take place in foreign nationals state of residence in which a registration certificate would be provided;
  • The foreign national must carry the registration certificate at all times;
  • Changes in circumstances or residence must be notified to the NIS office where the foreign national was registered within seven days;
  • Boarding houses and hotels must also keep a register of all foreign nationals to include such information as:
    • Full passport name
    • Previous address
    • Current occupation
    • Nationality and passport number
    • Date of arrival and intended departure
    • Destination
    • Signature
  • Immigration officers are authorized to request the information contained in the register.

Employers should be aware of the recent changes as they place a high compliance among companies and foreign nationals.

Please note that this is general information only and not intended as advice on a specific matter. Please feel free to contact Fakhoury Global Immigration directly with questions exclusive to your situation. This news alert may have been prepared using information from Peregrine Immigration Management, which is licensed to Fakhoury Global Immigration.