The Nigerian law has created an enabling environment for foreigners who want to embark on a voyage to Nigeria and work, do business or take over a business. Amongst this privilege is the grant of Expatriate Quota(EQ) to the foreigner upon application. Subsequent to a successful application of the Expatriate Quota in Nigeria, the company can be able to process a Subject to Regularization(STR) Visa for its expatriates, which will enable such expatriates to obtain the mandatory Combined Expatriate Residence Permit and Aliens Card (CERPAC) that will enable them to live and work in Nigeria.

The expatriate quota in Nigeria is the approval granted by the Minister of Interior Affairs to foreign-owned or indigenous companies to enable them to employ or recruit foreign employees or directors of the company to legitimately work and live in Nigeria

The Ministry of Interior Affairs is saddled with the responsibility of issuing EQ approval in Nigeria. A Business Permit is often processed together with expatriate quota in the case of wholly-owned foreign company. Every company that wishes to employ a foreigner is expected to obtain the Expatriate quota approval before processing the work permit, which is also known as the Combined Expatriate Residence Permit and Alien Card (CERPAC). It is pertinent to note that Regulations 11 of the 2017 Immigration Regulations exempts member states of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) from obtaining CERPAC, provided that the citizens of member countries shall register with the service as nationals of ECOWAS.

The Expatriate Quota does not automatically grant CERPAC except that it may serve as a temporary stay during the pendency of an application to renew the CERPAC.


The grant of Expatriate Quota depends largely on the nature, relevance and duration of the position to be held by the expatriate. However, the Federal Ministry of Interiors currently issues Expatriate Quota for a period of 3 years. The application for renewal can be made upon the expiration of the quota.


  • Duly completed registration form
  • Incorporation documents to include a memorandum, articles of association, the share capital and the particulars of director
  • Feasibility report to be registered with CAC.
  • Certified current audited account and bank reference letter
  • Proposed annual salary to be paid to the expatriate worker indicating their designation, names, and duration of employment
  • Joint Venture Agreement (JVA) for partnership ventures between Nigerians and foreigners, where applicable
  • Company’s Tax Clearance Certificate
  • Lease agreement or C of O for operating premises, where applicable
  • Particulars of training programs for Nigerians
  • List of Nigerians working in the company to understudy the expatriates
  • License permit from government agencies where company engage in specialized sectors such as the oil and gas sector, telecommunications, health, etc.
  • Evidence of capital importation, where applicable.
  • Business permit
  • Payment of prescribed fees


Expatriate Quotas(EQ) is usually valid for 3 years. Where the quota has expired, it must be renewed by the company before the expatriate can obtain or renew his or her CERPAC. The requirements for the renewal of Expatriate Quota are as follows:

  1. Copy of the expiring Quota
  2. Certificate of Incorporation & other incorporation documents
  3. Payment of prescribed fees
  4. Other documentation accompanying the application, including the report of the usage of the expiring quotas.

Application for expatriate quota can be made upon commencement of business or immediately after incorporation of a company and can also be granted subsequent to an initial grant in a circumstance where a company needs to employ more expatriate.

In certain sectors of the economy, such as oil and gas, the government agency supervising employment works together with the Minister of Interior to regulate the employment of expatriates in the sector of the economy. The minister carries out his function of regulating foreign employment in the oil and gas sector through the Nigerian Local Content Development Board (the Board). Applicants are required to obtain the approval of the board in the form of a “Certificate of no objection” before applying for the expatriate quota.

Applicants can apply for as many quotas depending on the slots required, although expatriate quota in Nigeria is strictly controlled and not just easily approved to companies in other to protect the Nigerian working population.

Companies are mandated to allow their expatriates pass on the knowledge of relevant skills entailed in the job to Nigerians understudying for the purpose of minimize the unemployment situation of the country and avail indigenes the opportunity to gain requisite skills and take up available jobs in future from foreign employees relying on temporary expatriate quotas.


Finally, the measure of expatriate quota approval put in place by the Nigerian government has enabled the government to control the influx of foreign workers in different sectors of the economy where the local expertise can easily fit in.

The approval for a grant of an expatriate quota has been simplified so as not to stifle the neck of investors willing to invest in the Nigerian economy to work or monitor their businesses.

Therefore, the government has ensured that the foreign directors or owners of businesses can have such expatriate quota easily and permanently until it is reviewed.

By Immigration Law Department at Resolution Law Firm, Nigeria

Tel:      +2348099223322

Email: info@resolutionlawng.com