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Step-by-Step Guide to Apply for a Nigerian Visa

Are you a foreigner who intends to visit Nigeria soon? If yes, then it is obvious you are on the lookout for details on how to get a Visa that would facilitate your entry into Africa’s most populous nation – Nigeria. This blog post would do justice to every question you have on your mind as I’d want you to sit back and read on.

For Passport Holders of ECOWAS-Member States

If you hold a passport or travel certificate of an ECOWAS member state, then you are eligible to enter Nigeria without a Visa. ECOWAS is an acronym for the Economic Community of West African States and consists of 15 member states: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Ghana, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo. Mauritania, the 16th country in the West African region withdrew from ECOWAS in December 1999 and has not rescinded its decision regarding associations with the organization since then.

Truth is that you should be prepared to face anything in Nigeria as you might be requested to apply for an ECOWAS Residence Card on arrival. The ECOWAS Residence Card allows you to stay in Nigeria for up to 90 days and can be renewed upon expiry. The cost of applying for an ECOWAS Residence Card ranges from ₦500 ($0.8) to ₦25,000 ($35) for fresh applications and about ₦250 ($0.4) to ₦12,500 ($18) for renewals. To see further guidelines and the most recent costs of issuance and renewal of the ECOWAS Residence Card, visit NIS – Nigerian Immigration Guideline Page.

For Passport Holders from Other Countries

For citizens of countries outside the ECOWAS community, there are other alternatives you might consider regarding your visa application process – though some countries have very limited options. If there is no Nigerian embassy, consulate or mission in your home country, you only have to apply for a Visa on Arrival (VoA). If there is a Nigerian embassy or mission presence in your country, you may apply for a Visa on Arrival (VoA) or an Entry Visa. In the next few paragraphs, I shall be highlighting each category of visa with complete information on eligibility and requirements.

Visa on Arrival

The Visa on Arrival (VOA) programme is for travellers who are high net-worth investors and intending visitors who may not be able to obtain visas in their home countries due to the absence of a Nigerian Embassy or to avail urgent business needs. This category of visa is classified as a short visit visa because it allows you to stay in Nigeria for a maximum of 30 days and is issued at the point of entry. The validity duration of the visa can be extended at an extra cost if you decide to stay longer.

After submitting an application for a Visa on Arrival, you would receive a Visa Approval Letter within 48 hours. Upon receiving this letter, you can commence your journey to Nigeria. You are expected to book a return flight ticket as well because it serves as one of the required documents to receive your visa upon arrival. Without proof of securing a return flight ticket within the space of 30 days prior to the expiration of the visa, you may complicate the process of receiving your visa unless you intend to extend the validity duration of your visa.

You are required to head straight to the Visa on Arrival section for approval verification, biometric enrollment, and issuance of your entry visa. You will be required to present your visa approval letter, passport (a scan of your data page will be taken), evidence of payment, proof of accommodation in Nigeria and return ticket.

The following categories of persons are eligible to apply for a Visa on Arrival:

  • Frequently travelled Business Persons of International Repute
  • High net-worth investors
  • Government Delegation Members
  • Companies Executives
  • Holders of United Nations Laissez-Passer
  • Holders of African Union Laissez-Passer
  • NGO’s Members
  • Citizens of all African Countries
  • Tourists or visitors

Ensure you do not leave your country until you receive the Letter of Approval from the Nigerian Immigration Commission in your email (if you applied yourself) or through your agency in Nigeria. Also, make sure to commence your journey to Nigeria within fourteen (14) days of receiving the Letter of Approval to avoid the expiry of the letter. You would be required to submit another application for a Visa on Arrival if the former letter expires.

Entry Visa

The Entry Visa is the regular visa that applies to those who are coming to Nigeria for personal or more specialized purposes. Unlike the Visa on Arrival, you may not receive a decision concerning your application within 48 hours. You would also be subject to an interview or screening which would take place at the Nigerian embassy or consulate in your country of residence.

Some classifications of visas fall into this category. They include a Tourist or Visitor Visa, Business Visa, Temporary Work Permit (TWP) and the Subject to Regularization Visa.

1. Tourist/Visitor Visa

For you to be eligible for this visa, you must not be a passport holder of an ECOWAS member state. Your intention of coming to Nigeria must be to visit people or explore the country – by going on tours. The required documents include the following:

  • Passport valid for at least 6 months
  • Completed visa application form
  • Two recent passport-size photographs
  • A Letter of Invitation from a company/host in Nigeria accepting immigration responsibility
  • Visitors/Tourists are required to show evidence of sufficient funds
  • Nigeria Immigration Service Visa Payment Receipt and Visa Acknowledgement Receipt
2. Business Visa

Eligibility for the Business Visa is based on the premises of not holding a passport of an ECOWAS member state and having proof of sufficient funds. The requirements for the Business Visa application include:

  • Passport valid for at least 6 months
  • Completed visa application form
  • Two recent passport-size photographs
  • Applicants are required to show evidence of sufficient funds
  • Nigeria Immigration Service Visa Payment Receipt and Visa Acknowledgement Receipts.
3. Temporary Work Permit

Citizens of member states of the ECOWAS are not eligible for this visa. It is applicable to those coming with an intention to work in Nigeria – you have more chances for a successful application if you have a job waiting for you in Nigeria. The basic requirements include for this permit include:

  • Passport with at least 6 months validity
  • A printed copy of the completed application form for the visitors’ pass
  • Two recent passport-size photographs
  • Copy of the Letter of Approval from Comptroller General, Nigeria Immigration Service
4. Subject to Regularization

This kind of Visa allows you to become a Nigerian after some time through the regularization process. If you are coming to study in Nigeria, we recommend you apply for this visa. The process requires the following documents:

  • Passport with at least 6 months validity
  • Completed visa form in quadruplicate with four recent passport photographs
  • Four copies of the letter of Expatriate Quota Approval from the Ministry of Interior
  • Four copies of credentials, certificates and curriculum vitae, all vetted by a relevant official of the Nigerian High Commission/Embassy (English Certified translated copy where applicable)
  • Four copies of the offer Letter of Employment
  • Four copies of the Letter of Acceptance of employment, signed by expatriate
  • Nigeria Immigration Service Visa Payment Receipt and Visa Acknowledgement Receipt


For the Visa-on-Arrival, all applications would be made online while the Entry Visa would require you to appear at the Nigerian Embassy for an interview after submitting your visa application online. You are required to go to the embassy with complete documents as highlighted above to avoid rescheduling your interview.

Also note that citizens of Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Afghanistan, Syria and Yemen are restricted from Visa on Arrival – Delegates from these countries should visit the Nigerian Embassy/High Commission in their country for more information.

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