SWITZERLAND, FEBRUARY 04 – President Muhammadu Buhari has officially presented to the public the Nigeria Visa Policy (NVP) for the year 2020.
He presented the document at the State House in Abuja, on Tuesday. The document is a revised version.
President Buhari said the review of the visa policy is intended to attract innovation, specialised skills and knowledge from abroad to complement local ones.
The 2020 visa policy is to enhance business opportunities and achieve African integration through the visas on arrival for holders of passports of African Union countries.
There are 79 visa classifications in the revised policy, one of which is the Visa on arrival.
The revised policy is a sequel to Buhari’s pronouncements in November 2019 that a new policy of visas on arrival would be granted to all African travellers starting from January 2020.
The new policy favours Africans with a valid passport who wish to come into the country for a short visit, for businesses and for tourism, as the Visa grants them legal stay for up to 90 days.
According to a tweet by Tolu Ogunlesi, special assistant on digital/new media to President Muhammadu Buhari, the visa is available to people who renounced their Nigerian status to become citizens of other countries.
Journalists, entertainers and sportsmen wishing to visit Nigeria will now also get single-entry, short-visit visas.
“If you’re a Nigerian by birth but have had to give up your citizenship because your new country doesn’t allow dual citizenship (China, Isreal, India etc), you are now eligible to get a multi-year, multiple entry visa that allows you to visit Nigeria easily,” Ogunlesi tweeted.
“[Israelis by birth can acquire dual citizenships but people acquiring Israeli citizenship by naturalization — which is what would apply to a Nigerian who acquires Israeli citizenship — must first renounce their original citizenship].
“Nigeria today launched special Short Visa classes (single entry) for the following categories of people: journalists, clerics, sportspeople, artists/entertainers/musicians, religious tourists, humanitarian workers, etc,” he added.
NVP 2020 is also designed to support the attainment of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (2017 -2020) and is a pathway to achieving the Security, Economy and Transparency (SET) Agenda of the present Administration.
The Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola while speaking at the launch of the NVP 2020 at the State House, Abuja on Tuesday 4th February 2020, stated that its operation is cardinal to the Ease of Doing Business in Nigeria. The new visa regime is expected to boost economic activities in the areas of tourism, aviation, entertainment, commerce and other areas where Nigeria has comparative advantage over other African countries. It also presents Nigeria with the opportunity to apply the principle of reciprocity with her visa policy in the nation’s bilateral and multilateral relations.
“The NVP 2020 introduces special visas for Nigerians in diaspora who either by birth, marriage or nationalization have assumed dual citizenship. Such category of Nigerians will now be able to make use of the passports of their adopted countries to visit Nigeria without the need for short stay visa”, he said. The Minister expressed the commitment of his Ministry to the implementation of the NPV 2020 in view of its supervisory role on the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS).
Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola assured that the NIS would adhere to the published conditions of issuance of visas in a professional, timely and transparent manner. He assured that NIS would invest heavily in the training of the officers and men that will be charged with the responsibility of processing visas in all our visa issuing centers and passport control at our points of entry. The Minister emphasized that NIS would also work with all stakeholders within and outside Nigeria to ensure that the policy is not abused and the security of Nigeria and indeed other countries is not compromised.
“The implementation of the NVP 2020 will not compromise national security as adequate control measures have been provided both before and after entry into Nigeria”, the Minister stressed. While encouraging Nigerians in Diaspora to respect the provisions of the immigration laws of their new countries as well as those of Nigeria, the Minister congratulated the Nigeria Immigration Service for the landmark policy and also invited all prospective visitors, investors and residents to a new and refreshing experience in Nigeria and with Nigeria Immigration Service.
“The implementation of the NPV2020 will require collaboration with several MDAs involved in diplomacy, trade, investment, education, tourism, manufacturing, monetary policies, security, intelligence and many more”, the Minister reiterated.
Some of the features of NVP 2020 include, Visa On Arrival for African Union nationals, increase in the classes of visas from 6 to 79, creation of visa codes for all classes of visa and introduction of e-visas.
The benefits of the new NVP 2020 are many. It presents a good opportunity for Nigeria to be a major consideration for investment in Africa and hosting of international events particularly the ones scheduled to hold in Africa. It also serves as a major boost for Nigeria’s aviation, entertainment and tourism industries.
The new visa policy is expected to take Nigeria some steps up in the Africa Visa Openness Report published annually by the African Development Bank (AfDB) which would be a further boost on the global Ease Of Doing Business league table.
The Comptroller General of Nigeria Immigration Service Muhammad Babandede MFR who spoke on the technical aspect of the New Nigeria National Visa Policy 2020 spoke elaborately on the objectives, benefits and classes, with emphasis on the control aspect without compromising National Security.