Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari has launched Nigeria’s new visa policy.
The policy allows citizens of other countries to visit Nigeria without visas.
On arrival, the visitor would commence the process of securing visa for the duration of their stay.
In attendance at the launch were the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Mohammed Babandede, former Borno governor, Kashim Shettima, among others.
Aregbesola told reporters at the presidential villa that the new visa policy has expanded Nigeria’s visa from 6 categories to 79.
He explained that the visa on arrival could only be obtained in four international airports.
They are Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano and Port Harcourt International Airport.
Enugu International Airport, which is undergoing renovation, would be the fifth.
Nigeria Immgration had explained that the current type of visa classes, which are Transit, Tourist, Business, Subject to Regularisation (STR), Temporary Work Permit (TWP) and Diplomatic, were limiting.
Reports that the new policy covers Investors Visa under Permanent Residence Visas for small and medium enterprises, large corporations, ultra large corporations, oil and gas with importation and investment capital, among others.
The new short visit visa covers ECOWAS member states, Visa abolition agreement countries, holders of official travel documents of the United Nations Organisation, the Africa Union and few others.
President Buhari explains benefits of Visa on Arrival policy to Nigerians
President Muhammadu Buhari Tuesday in Abuja explained that the new Nigeria Visa Policy 2020 aims at attracting innovation, specialized skills and knowledge from abroad to complement local capacity.
He stated during the official public presentation of the Nigeria Visa Policy (NVP) 2020, in Abuja on Tuesday.
The President said, “The implementation of the Nigeria Visa Policy 2020 will support the attainment of a globally competitive economy for Nigeria by building on the efforts of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council.’’
President Buhari said the policy will improve the business environment, attract Foreign Direct Investment and boost tourism without compromising national security.
“Earlier in the course of this Administration, we introduced the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (2017-2020) with one of the objectives being to minimize bottlenecks that impede innovation and market-based solutions for building an inclusive economy.
“The Nigeria Visa Policy 2020 is intended to attract innovation, specialized skills and knowledge from abroad to complement locally available ones,’’ he added.
The President also noted that the Nigeria Visa Policy 2020 provides an avenue to achieve African integration by the introduction of visas on arrival for short visits to Nigeria for holders of passports of African Union countries.
“I, therefore, commend the document to the international community, foreign and local business entities. We are open for business,’’ he said.
In his remarks, the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola, said the visa policy took into consideration the specific needs of foreigners who would want to visit the country, without compromising the security of the country.
The minister said the policy had followed a process that considered the security, economy and territorial integrity of the country, and would only be issued after due diligence with other security components of the country.
“Especially, the new visa policy will be helpful to diaspora Nigerians by birth who can now use other passports to visit the country because some countries do not allow dual citizenship,’’ he added.
In a technical presentation, the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Muhammad Babandede, said the service had already put in place a technological hub, called the Migrants Information and Data Analysis (MIDAS), to ensure strict compliance with the conditions for the issuance of the visa.
Babandede assured that issues of corruption or bribery will be controlled by the automated system while allaying fears of possible infiltration of the economy by criminals and terrorists.
He said the new policy has 79 categories, which include health, education, tourism etc, pointing out that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, National Intelligence Agency (NIA) and the Interpol also made inputs into the system, and would be carried along in the processing before approvals.