The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has announced the introduction of a liberalised online Visa on Arrival (VOA) facility to the public, especially foreign investors willing to invest in Nigeria.
The Comptroller-General of the NIS, Muhammad Babandede, who made the announcement on Thursday in Abuja, said the measure was part of the resolution of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) aimed at attracting foreign investors to the country.
“As a critical member of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC), the NIS has automated its visa application and processing services at all entry points.
“This is to ensure that all genuine requests for Visa on Arrival facility from any part of the world are processed and issued within 48 hours (two working days)”.
He explained that the online VOA application and processing facility is a product of robust visa reforms regime intended to bring Nigeria in tandem with global best practices and attract Foreign Direct Investors and skilled professionals into the country.
Mr. Babandede said the new process was designed to eliminate all unnecessary bureaucratic visa processing procedures in Nigerian Missions abroad and to serve the interests of would-be visitors from countries where Nigeria does not have a Mission.
He said that a dedicated e-mail address [email protected] had been deployed where visa applicants, their representatives or companies could forward their requests and details.
Applicants are, however, advised to use functional e-mail addresses where copies of approval letter shall be forwarded upon a successful process and payment.
”Applicants are, however, to note that successful payment online is not an approval and should not proceed to Nigeria until you have received “Visa on Arrival Approval letter” duly issued by the NIS Headquarters, Abuja.”
He said that a VOA desk had been opened at all international airports in the country where visas would be issued upon the presentation of all the necessary travel documents and evidence of visa payment.
The NIS boss expressed optimism that the VOA process and the introduction of the harmonised arrival and departure cards would go a long way in attracting investors to the country.
In a similar development, the British embassy has recently launched super priority visa service in Nigeria which is aimed at allowing customers process their applications within 24 hours.
The British high commissioner to Nigeria, Paul Arkwright, said the new process will be offered alongside the old one (front of queue processing five to seven-day) and standard (15-day) services,
Mr. Arkwright pointed that those applying in the “Visitors” or “Points Based System Tier 4” are eligible to use the Super Priority Service.
He also said the Super Priority Visa service which is aimed largely at key business customers and those needing to travel urgently, would only be available to eligible customers applying in the Abuja and Lagos Visa Application Centres.