By KPMG Analysts
The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has announced procedures for implementation of entry, exit and visa revalidation following the resumption of commercial flight operations at the Lagos and Abuja international airports on 5 September 2020.
According to the information contained in a press release issued by the Public Relations Officer, the procedures to be implemented by the NIS are as follows:
- All expatriates, with confirmed return tickets, whose permits expired between 23 March and 5 September 2020 and had been scheduled to exit Nigeria during that period would be granted an extension free of charge. However, they must exit the country by 15th September 2020.
- All expatriates whose permits or visitor’s passes expired before 23 March 2020 are liable to pay a penalty for overstaying based on the number of additional days spent in the country before the lockdown commenced on 23 March 2020.
- All resident expatriates whose permits expired while they were outside the country from 23 March 2020 shall be allowed entry into Nigeria with the expired permits, provided they arrive in Nigeria by 25 September 2020. However, they must renew their residence permits within thirty days of arrival in Nigeria to avoid sanctions under relevant Immigration laws.
- Expatriates who had processed payments for Visa on Arrival before 23 March 2020 but had not been issued the visas are to apply for re-validation. This also applies to applications for other categories of visas from the various Nigerian Missions abroad. For the re-validation process, copies of the previous payment receipts should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org not later than 15th September 2020.
- Expatriates who had obtained Visa on Arrival Pre-approval Letters and other categories of visas from the Nigerian Missions before 23 March 2020, but whose approvals or visas expired before 5 September 2020 are also to apply for revalidation. They are required to send copies of the expired pre-approval letters/visas to email@example.com not later than 15 September, 2020.
- Expatriates who had obtained Temporary Work Permit approvals but were unable to obtain the visas from the relevant Nigerian Mission abroad due to COVID-19 lockdown should submit a complaint through firstname.lastname@example.org.
The announcement by the NIS is a welcome development. This will provide relief to many expatriates, especially those who could not exit the country during the imposition of the travel ban, and who may have been concerned about the extension fees and penalties ranging from US$400 to US$4,000.
The affected expatriates should visit the NIS Command close to them to obtain the relevant extension stamp on their passports prior to their date of travel. This will prevent them from being barred from exiting the country and/or subjected to applicable penalties for overstaying.