In a bid to attract foreign investors, professionals, and businesses into the country, the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) has launched an online Visa on Arrival system. The announcement was made at the federal capital last Thursday by Mr. Muhammad Babandede, the Comptroller-General of the NIS.
According to Babandede, the new system is part of the resolution of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) to create a conducive environment to attract foreign investors into the economy. Visitors, particularly business executives can swiftly apply for a visa online and collect it on arrival 48 hours later.
“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 said. Adding that the NIS has automated its visa application and visa processing services at all entry points.
The online VOA system is also a product of ongoing visa reforms to bring Nigeria to par with standard practices worldwide with the elimination of unnecessary bureaucratic visa processing procedures in Nigerian Missions abroad. All of which have prompted complaints from foreign executives that they made entry difficult.
But with the new system, all travellers have to do is register with the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) online and provide travel details, after which a letter of approval may or may not be issued, and the visa collected on arrival. The NIS has also deployed a dedicated e-mail address – [email protected] – for visa applicants, their representatives or companies to send their requests and details.
To ensure a smooth process, the Comptroller-General advised applicants to use functional e-mail addresses that approval letters can be sent to upon a successful process and payment. However, “applicants are to note that successful payment online is not an approval and should not proceed to Nigeria until you have received a “Visa on Arrival Approval letter” duly issued by the NIS Headquarters, Abuja,” he said.
The VOA desk is currently operational at all international airports in the country, and visas would be issued upon the presentation of visitor’s approval letter, all other necessary travel documents, and evidence of visa payment.