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President Buhari and other top government officials launching the new Nigeria Visa Policy in Abuja on Tuesday/ Photo: NAN

Nigeria launches new visa policy

President Muhammadu Buhari launched the new Nigeria Visa Policy (NVP) 2020 at the State House in Abuja on Tuesday.

The objective of the NVP 2020 is to strengthen Nigeria’s position as a key economy in Africa by attracting more Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into the country’s economy, he said.

The NVP 2020 features visa-on-arrival for African Union nationals, increase in the classes of visas from six to 79, creation of visa codes for all classes of visa and introduction of e-visas. The 79 visa categories include health, education, tourism, among others.

“I, therefore, commend the document to the international community, foreign and local business entities. We are open for business,” Buhari said.

While speaking at the event, the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, stated that the visa programme was cardinal to the Ease of Doing Business in Nigeria.

He said, “The new visa regime is expected to boost economic activities in the areas of tourism, aviation, entertainment, commerce and other areas where Nigeria has comparative advantage over other African countries. It also presents Nigeria with the opportunity to apply the principle of reciprocity with her visa policy in the nation’s bilateral and multilateral relations.

“The NVP 2020 introduces special visas for Nigerians in diaspora who either by birth, marriage or nationalization have assumed dual citizenship. Such category of Nigerians will now be able to make use of the passports of their adopted countries to visit Nigeria without the need for short stay visa.”

This means that Nigerians in diaspora, who had to renounce their Nigerian citizenship to be able to take up the nationality of their countries of residency where the law so required, will now be able to make use of the passports of their adopted countries to visit Nigeria without the need for short stay visa. This is good news for thousands of Nigerians in Germany who had to relinquish their Nigerian passports to become German citizens before Germany started allowing Nigerians to hold the two nationalities. Until the new policy, these Nigerians and others like them had to apply for visa anytime they’re visiting their home countries with all the inconveniences involved.

The Minister expressed the commitment of his ministry to the implementation of the NPV 2020 in view of its supervisory role on the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS)

Nigeria began issuing visas on arrival to African nationals arriving in the country on 1 January 2020. These exclude citizens of the ECOWAS member countries who do not need visa to visit the country. This means that the affected African visitors do not need to have been issued a visa prior to arriving at any point of entry to Nigeria.

Under the visa-on-arrival policy, Africans wishing to visit Nigeria must however have applied for the visa on the portal of the NIS before arriving in Nigeria. The intending visitors will then be issued a visa approval letter before proceeding on their journey to Nigeria.

Kola Tella

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