Nigeria: NIS Issues Over 13,000 Visas On Arrival in Six Months

28 August 2019

The Nigerian Immigrations Service (NIS) at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, (MMIA) has issued about 13,000 Visas on arrival since last February.

THISDAY gathered that out of this figure, 2,194 was issued in the month of July 2019.

The agency also said it has also improved the process, making it web-based to ensure transparency and has redefined the applicants who are qualified to benefit from the visa on arrival, insisting that it must be those who have concrete plans to do business in Nigeria.

An official from NIS, MMIA told THISDAY that the July figure of Visas on arrival represented an increase of over 30 per cent compared to similar figures the same period last year, noting that there has been increase in requests in 2019 as more foreigners are poised to invest in Nigeria.

The official reiterated that the Visa is targeted at business people and investors and that immigration has upgraded the process that applicants get responses in less than 48 hours from the agency.

He explained that the service was able to record this huge milestone as a result of the service's dedication to training and retraining of its staff, robust digital facilities and low tolerance for corruption.

"Abdullahi Musta Usman, the new Comptroller of Immigration, Nigeria Immigration Service, MMIA has a goal to consistently train and retrain its staff which he has actualised by establishing a training room at the e-arrival point at the airport, which accommodates about 20 people at a time. The Comptroller insists that immigration officers be trained and retrained consistently because their job is dynamic.

"We have a SAVICOM centre at the Lagos airport where passengers who have issues come to complain and we help them resolve the issues. Anti-corruption desk has also been inaugurated at the airport in a bid to ensure service delivery and ease of doing business," the official said.

He also explained that visa on arrival has become very flexible as applicants can sit down in the comfort of their homes and apply and approval would be sent within a timeframe of 48 hours, adding that there is no third party interference in the process.

On how NIS plans to tackle overstay of visitors, the official said the service do not have control over the stay of visitors in Nigeria.

According to him, the service issues visitors business visas that last for 30 days, adding that if visitors want to extend their stay over business reasons, they can go to the nearest immigration office and apply for extension.

He also assured that mechanisms have been put in place to avoid human trafficking at the airport, adding that by next year, technology would be upgraded at the Lagos airport to ease travel experience.

NIS also explained that the applicants that do not get response from the agency within the stipulated time are those who don't abide by the instructions given on the Visa-on-arrival website and upload the necessary documentation as requested by the law.

"Some applicants don't supply the needed requirements and that is why they don't get response from us," the official also said.

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