NIGERIAN RESIDENT PERMIT PROCESS AND REQUIREMENTS
WORK PERMIT IN NIGERIA
The current laws guiding immigration processes in Nigeria are the Immigration Act 2015 and the Immigration Regulations 2017 that was issued by the Honorable Minister of Interior in 2017. The immigration laws together with Nigeria Immigration Guidelines provide for the procedure and requirements for obtaining the Nigerian Resident permit. Work permit in Nigeria is only issued within the Nigeria territory upon the arrival of expatriate or foreigner in Nigeria.
Essentially, the major method for acquisition of a Nigeria Work Permit is by employment by a Nigerian Company. The company seeking to employ a foreign employee must have acquired the Expatriate Quota on behalf of such employee. Another method of obtaining Nigeria Resident Permit, otherwise known as CERPAC (Combined Expatriate Residence Permit and Aliens Card) is by a marriage to a Nigerian male citizen. Any woman who is married to a Nigerian man is entitled to special CERPAC known as a Niger-Wife. Unfortunately, men marrying Nigeria females do not enjoy such privileges. A foreigner marrying a Nigerian woman can only obtain a Special Immigration Status, which must be approved by the Minister of Interiors.
Upon the obtainment of Expatriate Quota, a foreigner seeking to come to Nigeria must obtain a Subject To Regularization(STR) Visa.
SUBJECT TO REGULARISATION VISA
Subject to Regularization is issued primarily based on the availability of expatriate quota, especially in the case of private organizations. STRs are issued on request by sponsoring organizations and individual investors coming to Nigeria to reside. It is required by foreigners coming to take up employment in Nigeria. It usually allows for one single entry to foreign nationals who have the intention to obtain a long-term work permit upon arrival in Nigeria.
However, an STR Visa in itself is not a work permit. It is usually granted for 90 days within which an application must be made to regularize the recipient’s stay. Failure to do this will cause for reapplication of another STR visa.
Foreign nationals who generally are eligible to obtain the STR visa include:
The major documents required for the application of an STR visa include:
NIGERIAN RESIDENT/WORK PERMIT (CERPAC)
A Nigerian work permit is a document or card required allowing a foreign holder to reside in the country within the fixed or indefinite length of time. In Nigeria, the Comptroller General of Immigration is empowered to issue Nigerian residence permit under the Federal Ministry of Interior’s supervision. The Nigerian resident/work permit is official known or called the Combined Expatriate Residence Permit and Aliens Card (CERPAC).
The CERPAC grants a foreigner permission to live and work in Nigeria for up to two years, which is subject to renewal and validity of the expatriate quota.
An application for the CERPAC Nigeria should be accompanied by the following documents:
By virtue of Section 18(2) of the Immigration Act 2015, a foreign national granted a residence permit does not require an entry visa. The section provides thus “A resident or work permit granted to a foreign Immigrant shall be
treated for purposes of entry into Nigeria as a multiple entry permit”.
The Nigerian residence permit (CERPAC) is renewable every two years.
ECOWAS RESIDENCE CARDS
The ECOWAS Treaty of Lagos 1975 provides for the free movement of citizens of ECOWAS member states within other member states. Member states of the Economic Community of West African States include the following countries:
The implication of this Treaty is that no citizen of any member state is required to obtain a visa from any other member state to cross such state’s border. However, for the purpose of residency, an ECOWAS Residence Card would be required by any ECOWAS nationals seeking to reside in Nigeria.
The following are the requirements for the grant of Expatriate Quota
For citizens taking up employment, the following documents in addition to the above are required:
NIGERIAN SPOUSE VISA (NIGER WIFE)
Foreign spouses of Nigerians are eligible to a resident permit. The Nigerian spouse visa is the type of permit classified as s Niger- wife. The application for Nigerian spouse visa must be made to the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Immigration Service, Abuja or the Comptroller of Immigration Service at various state commands.
The Nigerian Immigration Service stipulates the following requirements for the processing of the spousal visa in Nigeria:
Apart from the processing fee that may be charged by any professional helping to process the application, the Niger-wife visa is Gratis i.e. government do not charge for its issuance.
The Immigration Act, as well as Immigration Regulations, lay down the necessary requirements for the immigration processes for foreigners who wish to reside and work in Nigeria. Nigerian Immigration Service enforces Nigerian permits among other visas and is very strict about such enforcement. Consequently, an illegal immigrant or anyone who breach or break the Nigerian immigration laws may be liable for immediate removal from the country.
Written by Immigration Law Department at Resolution Law Firm, Nigeria
Email: [email protected]