FG liberalises visa, immigration regime to boost economic revival
The Federal Government has streamlined visa and immigration processes to spur inflow of foreign direct investments in a bid to hasten the recovery of the nation’s economy.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, in a statement yesterday in Abuja, said the measure was part of the action plan for ease of doing business in line with the current administration’s economic diversification agenda.
According to him, other measures that had been taken by the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) to facilitate tourism alike include harmonisation of airport arrival and departure forms/cards to save foreigners the stress of having to file several documents as well as the decentralisation of services to make state commands undertake some hitherto concentrated tasks.
His words: ‘’Re-issuance of passports for change of names due to marital reason or misplacement has been decentralised to save passport holders the additional costs and inconvenience of travelling to the service headquarters in Abuja. Also, additional 28 offices have been opened for issuance of residence permits in Nigeria, thus bringing the issuance of Combined Expatriate Residence Permit And Aliens Cards (CERPAC) closer to the doorstep of employers of expatriates in all the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory.”
He said the reforms perfectly fit into the 60-day national roadmap approved recently by the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC).
Mohammed went on: “The NIS has reviewed the requirements for Nigerian visas to make them more customer-friendly and details of this review are available on the official website, www.immigration.gov.ng. Types of visas currently reviewed include Visa on Arrival (VoA) processes, business, tourist and transit visas.”
The minister clarified that business visas were available for foreigners who wish to travel to Nigeria for meetings, conferences, seminars, contracts, marketing, sales, purchase and distribution of locally made goods, trade fairs, job interviews, training, emergency/relief work among others.
Tourist visas, on the other hand, according to him, were handy for travellers who may want to tour or visit families and friends while the VoA, issued at the port of entry, is available to frequently travelled high-net-worth investors and intending visitors who may not be able to obtain visas at Nigeria’s missions in their countries of residence.