Virginia, US

Feb 10 2020

New Visa Policy Implemented


At a Glance

  • Key changes of the policy include new categories for visa types, visas-on-arrival for all African Union members, biometrics tracking, investor visa options, and a new visa for Nigerian nationals using dual passports.
  • These changes are part of a greater initiative to modernize the Nigerian immigration system between 2019 and 2023.

The situation

The Nigerian president announced that a new visa policy for 2020 has been implemented which allows for easier travel to Nigeria for business, tourism and permanent residence purposes.

A closer look

Key changes are effective immediately and include the following:


New visa categories. There are now 79 categories (up from six) across the three visa options – short-term visits, temporary residence, and permanent residence.

The expanded categories provide more options for foreign nationals when applying for a work visa in Nigeria.

Investor visa. New investor visa options have been introduced for small, medium, large and ultra-large-scale enterprises, as well as within the oil, gas and power sectors.

The investor visa grants permanent residence for five years. The visa type depends on how much capital the applicant has, and which enterprise or sector they apply for.

Highly-skilled Immigrant Visa. This new visa is available for foreign nationals who possess knowledge, abilities and technical skills classified as highly skilled in areas considered relevant to the current and future needs of the Nigerian economy. This will be determined by a National Scarce Skills Audit.

This new visa option provides a new avenue for employers to send highly-skilled foreign nationals to Nigeria. It grants permanent residence for five years and is renewable.

Visa-on-arrival. All African Union members with an African passport, frequently-traveling executives, and emergency relief workers will be able to obtain a visa-on-arrival when traveling to Nigeria, rather than applying online prior to traveling.

The visa-on-arrival grants legal stay for up to 90 days. The foreign national applies for the visa and submits biometric information at the port of entry, and pays online for the visa.

The visa-on-arrival system eliminates the need to apply and pay prior to traveling to Nigeria.

e-Visa. The Nigeria e-Visa service is an online application process that enables foreign nationals to apply and obtain electronic approval for short visit visas not exceeding three months.

The e-Visa service can be used for short visits including transit, business, tourism, journalism, medical tourism, religious tourism, sports, artists, entertainers, musicians, study purposes, academic exchange programs, cultural exchange programs, humanitarian services, emergency/relief work, international non-governmental organization staff, non-governmental organization staff, and returning Nigeria-born foreign nationals. 

Dual passports. Nigerian nationals who renounced their citizenship due to living in a country that does not offer the option of dual citizenship will be offered a specific visa type for visits to Nigeria.

Dual passport holders will benefit from access to the Nigerian visa-on-arrival.

Biometric tracking. Nigeria’s new visa system is linked to a biometric tracking system, allowing Nigerian authorities to track and monitor all visa applications and conduct security checks against applicants.

All foreign nationals entering Nigeria must appear at a biometric center when arriving at the port of entry.


Impact for employers

Employers sending foreign nationals to Nigeria should benefit from the more specific categories as they should allow for easier and faster visa processing. Similarly, employers moving foreign nationals with African passports will benefit from the new visa-on-arrival option.


The new policy is part of a wider initiative that aims to attract foreign nationals with specialized skills and knowledge and investors to Nigeria and to continue to grow one of the continent’s largest economies. The new policy was introduced in line with the government’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan 2017 – 2020, which aims to remove barriers which historically inhibited innovation and economic development.

Looking ahead

In July 2019, Nigeria signed the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement, committing to creating easier movement and trade between African countries. As a result, movement into Nigeria from other African countries will continue to become easier and more efficient.

This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen or send an email to [email protected].