The Combined Expatriate Residence Permit and Aliens Card (CERPAC) grants a foreigner the permission to live and work in Nigeria for up to two years, which is subject to renewal and validity of the expatriate quota. Therefore the Nigerian CERPAC can simply be defined as work and resident permit required for any foreigner to reside in Nigeria for any lawful purposes.

The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) is the government agency in charge of issuing and renewing CERPAC in Nigeria. This function is carried out by NIS in hands in hands with the Ministry of Interiors since the Minister of Interiors is also the supervising Minister for the NIS.

Essentially, there are different categories of resident permits & visas issued by the NIS. Also, there are two major types of CERPAC cards, which are CERPAC Green Card and the CERPAC Brown Card.


The CERPAC GREEN CARD is a bonafide document that allows a non-Nigerian to reside in Nigeria and carry out an approved activity as specified in the permit, or to accompany a resident or citizen of Nigeria as a dependant.


Every Alien resident in Nigeria or visiting with the intention to remain in Nigeria in excess of 56 days and crew members leaving their ship and staying ashore in excess of 28 days are required by law to register. Unlike the CERPAC GREEN CARD, the BROWN CARD is, essentially, a movement chart.


An application for the CERPAC in Nigeria must be accompanied by the following documents:

  • Expatriate quota approval
  • International passport with STR visa endorsement
  • A duly completed CERPAC statutory form
  • An STR package containing STR documentation received from the Nigerian embassy/consulate
  • Company’s board of directors’ resolution confirming appointment as director (where applicable)
  • Application letter from the employer requesting Regularization of stay and accepting Immigration       Responsibility (IR) on behalf of the expatriate.
  • Letter of Appointment/Employment
  • Acceptance of the offer of Appointment/Employment.
  • Payment of prescribed fees

By virtue of Section 18(2) of the Immigration Act 2015, a foreign national granted a residence permit does not require an entry visa. It 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 CERPAC application requires a due diligence and avoidance of unnecessary mistakes. By and large, every applicant needs to be aware of the following important information about the application procedure:

  • Fees paid to obtain forms are not refundable.
  • In the event of loss of form(s), a replacement will be treated as a new issue and will attract the original fees.
  • Any erasures, cancellation, or defacement of any sort shall render the statutory form(s) void.
  • Any form(s) voided as in (above) must be returned as a complete set to the bank of purchase for replacement.
  • Such replacement will attract a service charge and pack cost of N2,500(Two Thousand, Five Hundred Naira) payable to the Bank.
  • Three (3) Nos. 2 x 2 passport photographs on a white background should be submitted with the completed forms.
  • One of the photographs should be attached to the bottom right-hand side of the CERPAC form titled Receipt and Temporary Card
  • Applicant must append his or her signature beside the photograph attached on the form
  • Applicant must enclose one (1) No. facial portrait measuring 4′ x 3′ (inch) with white background


The following categories of people are exempted and are therefore qualify to be issued CERPAC as Gratis:

  • Diplomats
  • Government officials
  • Niger-wives
  • Non-Governmental Organizations


  • Application letter from the employer requesting for renewal/replacement of Residence Card and accepting immigration responsibility
  • Quota approval
  • The Expiring Resident Card (Original)
  • Valid Passport and photocopies of relevant pages

In conclusion, any foreigner who desires to obtain CERPAC Nigeria needs to meet the above requirements. This CERPAC permits a foreigner to live and work in Nigeria for a maximum of two years. The application for CERPAC in Nigeria must have been preceded by application and approval of expatriate quota from a company employing the expatriates.

The CERPAC or Nigeria resident permit is renewable every two years.

Written by Immigration Law Unit at Resolution Law Firm, Nigeria

Tel:     +2348099223322

Email: [email protected]