The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) Wednesday announced that it has automated the processing of Visa on Arrival (VoA) and Temporary Work Permit (TWP) to deliver better services in line with the reform policy of the current administration and the Federal Government’s Ease of Doing Business.
The Service also issued guidelines in relation to the commencement of international flights by the middle of September.
The Comptroller General of the Service, Alhaji Muhammad Babandede disclosed this while addressing stakeholders during the virtual meeting organized by the Service to address travel concerns of stakeholders on the automation of the Temporary Work Permit.
He said at the meeting which was attended by President Buhari’s Special Adviser on Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Jumoke Oduwole, and the representative of the Minister of Interior, Mr. Stephen Okon that applicants can now apply and pay for Visa on Arrival online and also receive their approvals online.
The meeting had over 100 business stakeholders in attendance and discussed travel concerns during COVID-19, procedures for residency, and entry of migrants affected by the suspension of International flights and Closure land borders.
The Comptroller General said NIS has commenced online processing of Temporary Work Permit to remove the third parties, where officers are involved directly which negates transparency and Ease of Doing Business.
It is also in furtherance of the attainment of the Reform target set for NIS by the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) in its National Action Plan (NAP 5.0) on Entry and Exit of People, he said.
According to Babandede, the automation reduces the cost of traveling, the extra cost incurred by Human Resource Managers, and Public Relations Officers of companies and organizations who travel to Abuja in an effort to process Visa on Arrival and Temporary Work Permit.
He said today marks the end of such unnecessary costs and delays witnessed in the process and delivery of services. NIS has taken the steps of removing bottlenecks in the spirit of Ease of Doing Business by ensuring that all applicants for VoA and TWP are treated online.
Meanwhile, in a statement by the Service spokesman, Mr. Sunday James, the Service has given guidelines regarding the commencement of international flights in the country.
The Service said in the statement “In line with Federal Government’s approval to commence international flight operations from 5th September 2020, at Murtala Mohammed International Airports (MMIA) Lagos and Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airports (NAIA) Abuja, and the earlier approval of the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, vide letter Ref. No. MI/PM/16012/S.366/Vol.ll/ dated 6th April 2020 on the waiver for visa payment due to COVID-19, closure of land borders, and suspension of international flights, the Service in the exercise of its statutory mandate wish to implement as follows:
“All Migrants in Nigeria whose permits expired from 23rd March to 5th September 2020 with evidence of confirmed return tickets scheduled to travel out of the country are to be issued with free extensions to enable them to depart on or before 15th September 2020;
“All Migrants whose permit/visitor’s pass expired before 23rd March 2020 shall pay overstay penalty for the number of days stayed before the lockdown on 23rd March 2020;
“All resident Migrants, whose permits expired outside the country from 23rd March 2020 shall be allowed entry into Nigeria with the expired permits on or before 25th September 2020. Such returning holders of expired permits and their dependents are to renew the permits within thirty (30) days of arrival to Nigeria to avoid sanctions under relevant Immigration laws;
“All migrants who processed payments for Visa on Arrival and other categories of visas from the Nigerian Missions before 23rd March 2020, are to apply for revalidation by uploading a copy of the previous payments via email@example.com not later than 15th September 2020 and
“All migrants who obtained Visa on Arrival Pre-approval Letters and other categories of visas from the Nigerian Missions before 23rd March 2020, whose approvals/visas expired before 5th September 2020 are also to apply for revalidation without fresh payments by uploading copies of the expired pre-approval letters/visas via firstname.lastname@example.org not later than 15th September 2020”.
It said; “the Service has equally activated Visa on Arrival and e-Visa payment portals to enable the intending migrants to Nigeria process entry visas as from 5th September 2020.
“In a situation where migrants have obtained a TWP approval and the Mission where such visas are to be issued are closed, they should submit the complaint through email@example.com
“These two (2) International Airports, MMIA, and NAIA are to commence issuance of visas in line with Nigeria Visa Policy 2020 with effect from the period of the opening of the designated Airports.”