Nigerian Immigration Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- What does a company in Nigeria require to employ an expatriate?
A company in Nigeria is required to apply for and obtain expatriate quota positions before it can employ an expatriate.
- When can a company apply for expatriate quota positions?
A company can apply for expatriate quota positions anytime. To succeed in its application, the company needs to meet the basic requirements for the grant of the expatriate positions.
- Are expatriate quota positions granted automatically in Nigeria?
Expatriate quota positions are not granted as a right in Nigeria. Approvals are granted by the Minister of Interior upon due consideration and on the merit of each application. The Minister of Interior has discretion to determine the kind and number of quota positions to be granted subject to availability of required skills in Nigeria.
- What is the validity period of an expatriate quota position?
An expatriate quota position is granted for a period of 3 (three) years at the first instance and subject to renewal upon expiration for a period of two (two) years.
- After obtaining expatriate quota positions, are there any other requirements for an employer?
Yes, after obtaining expatriate quota positions, an employer is required to apply for STR (subject to regularisation) visa on behalf of the expatriate employee. STR application is required to be submitted at the Nigerian mission in the home country or country of residence of the expatriate employee. Upon obtaining STR visa, the expatriate employee is entitled to come into Nigeria and take up employment on a long term basis. The expatriate must however, ensure to have his/her immigration status regularised within 90 (ninety) days of entry into Nigeria.
- How long does an expatriate have to work in Nigeria in a year for taxation purposes?
The bases for taxation of personal income in Nigeria are residence and derivation/source. For the purposes of taxation, an employee will be regarded as resident in Nigeria in an assessment year if he is domiciled in Nigeria for an aggregate period of 183 days or more in any 12 month period (including period of annual leave or temporary absence). An expatriate who has a residence permit is liable to tax in Nigeria even if he/she spends less than 183 days in Nigeria.
- What is a Temporary Work Permit? Is it extendable in-country?
A Temporary Work Permit (TWP) is a work authorisation issued to an expatriate to work for a short period of time. Approval for the TWP is issued in the form of a cablegram by the Comptroller General of Immigration to permit a foreign national to come into the country to carry out technical work or expert services for a short period of time up to 90 (ninety) days. It is extendable once in country upon an application for extension, subject to the discretion of the Comptroller General of Immigration.
- Where an expatriate’s employment is terminated or expired, what should an employer do?
The employer is required to notify the Nigeria Immigration Service by filing an application for deletion of the expatriate from its expatriate quota. Where this application is promptly filed, it absolves the employer of tax liability and other immigration responsibilities to the expatriate, whose contract of employment has been terminated or expired.
- Is a visitor’s visa sufficient to attend business meetings in Nigeria?
A tourist or visitor’s visa is usually issued for non-business related engagements i.e. tourism and family visit. The appropriate visa required to attend business meetings in Nigeria is a Business Visa.
- What is a Visa on Arrival?
A Visa on Arrival is an entry visa issued on arrival in Nigeria. The visa was introduced to encourage business executives and high net worth individuals who are frequent travellers to obtain entry visa on arrival in Nigeria rather than applying for a business visa overseas. The VoA is issued for an initial period of 90 days extendable in country.
- What is ECOWAS and what categories of persons are covered by ECOWAS?
ECOWAS is the acronym for Economic Community of West African States. The category of persons regarded as citizens of ECOWAS are citizens of countries that are signatories to the ECOWAS Treaty. The countries are; Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Cote d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo.
With the ratification of the ECOWAS Protocol on the Free Movement of Persons, Residence and Establishments, effective from May 29, 1979, citizens of ECOWAS are entitled to enter and stay in Nigeria for up to 90 (ninety) days without an entry visa.
- What is e-pass registration and what categories of expatriate does it apply to?
The e-pass registration applies to all non-ECOWAS visitors to Nigeria who have either stayed or intend to stay beyond 56 days aggregate and up to 365 days in a year. The registration is done by purchasing an e-pass registration form at the designated bank and obtaining an endorsement on the applicant’s passport at the Immigration offices on approval.
A stay beyond the stated days without authorisation or regularisation is deemed an “overstay” and a defaulter is liable to pay a penalty equivalent to 100% of the prescribed fee in addition to payment of the original registration fee.
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