Nigeria Alert – New Immigration Regulations in Effect

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 was prepared using information from Bloomfield-Law.