Visa issuance simplification, reissuance of passports after change of name at missions and harmonisation of airport arrival and departure cards, are among the new administrative steps taken by Africa’s most-populous nation to make things easier for citizens and foreigners travelling to the country, reports Kola Tella from Lagos.
The Federal Government of Nigeria has reviewed the visa processes for foreigners who wish to visit the country for business and tourism purposes.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, explained in a statement released at the weekend that the review was aimed at removing bureaucratic bottlenecks and encouraging business travellers and tourists.
He said the measures were part of the government’s action plan to boost tourism and the economy.
“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), Business Visas, Tourist Visas and Transit Visas,” the minister said.
Mohammed hinted 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 added that tourist visas are also available to foreign travellers 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.
The minister noted that the Visa on Arrival 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.
He noted that other actions taken by the Immigration Service 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 three different forms or more, and the decentralisation of services to the State Commands.
“Reissuance 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.
“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,” the Information Minister said.
He stated that the measures taken by NIS fit perfectly into the 60-day national action plan for ease of doing business in Nigeria which he said was recently approved by the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC), as well as the Federal Government’s efforts to boost international tourism.