Explainer: All about the Nigeria visa and how to get one

Explainer: All about the Nigeria visa and how to get one

Luckily, Nigeria visas have gone digital and over 150 nationalities can now request a Single-Entry travel authorization valid for business or leisure travel for up to 30 days.

Interested in staying in the country for longer or applying for a work permit? A traditional tourist visa valid for up to 90 days can be requested online and delivered in person or by mail to your closest Nigerian embassy or consulate. Work permits can be requested in conjunction with your company in the country. Contact your embassy’s consular section for specific details and to request an appointment.

Additionally, there are 17 Nigeria visa-free countries whose citizens may enter with just a passport valid 6 months from their date of entry. These nations are Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, and Togo.

To apply for the electronic authorization online, all you need is an internet connection, a digital passport-size photo, and some personal and travel information. Before starting the application, it’s a good idea to prepare:

  • Your passport (valid 6 months past your date of entry and with 1 blank page for the entry stamp) along with a legible, digital copy.
  • A letter of invitation from your host. 
  • A scanned copy of the data page of your host’s passport. 
  • A confirmed hotel reservation (if you’re not staying with a host).
  • Proof of a return plane ticket. 
  • Proof of financial means, such as a recent bank statement or Certificate of Employment (COE).
  • Proof of polio and yellow fever vaccinations. 
  • A digital photo, in color, in front of a white background. 

If applying for the Nigeria business visa online, you’ll also require a letter of invitation from the host company stating the purpose of your visit and the duration of your stay.

The above documents should be uploaded as part of the application. In addition to the supporting documents, you’ll also have to provide basic information about yourself such as any former names, your profession, your present and any former nationalities, and details of any past military service.

The penultimate step is to choose your processing speed. In a hurry? The process can be expedited in just 2 business days. Otherwise, you can expect an email with your approved authorization in 6 working days.

Lastly, you’ll need to pay the Nigeria visa fee online. To do this you’ll need a debit or credit card or an active PayPal account. While the fee varies from country to country, most foreign visitors can expect to pay 140 USD.

And that’s it! Get your bags packed and prepare to hop on the next flight bound for Lagos or Abuja, as once issued your authorization will only be valid for 14 days. This means you must kick off your Nigerian adventure and enter the country within this timeframe or else your document will no longer be valid.

Passing through customs with an eVisa is not that different from traveling with a traditional visa. The background checks performed beforehand are essentially the same, the only difference is how you show your authorization. In this case it’s with a printed confirmation email instead of a sticker placed in your passport by the embassy.

While technically your digital pass is electronically linked to your biometric passport, it’s a good idea to carry a printed copy to have that extra proof that you are authorized to enter the country.

You’ll still receive an entry stamp upon arrival to the country, and it’s possible that your customs officer will ask you about your reason for traveling and dates of stay. Fortunately, though, another benefit of the Nigeria e-Visa is that you hold the approved document when you touch down on foreign soil. This offers a degree of certainty when compared to the Visa on Arrival (VoA) which technically is approved once at the airport.

An approved e-Visa is valid for a Single-Entry visit of up to 30 days. Currently, there are no Multiple-Entry authorization schemes in place. However, as more countries jump on the eVisa bandwagon, governments are experimenting with longer, more flexible authorizations. Time will tell if Nigeria will follow suit.

Countries are constantly updating their policies with regard to international travelers, based on bilateral agreements and reciprocity. While there’s no knowing what’s in store in the future of international relations, due to the time and money saved by both applicants and national governments on this new digital scheme, it looks like the Nigerian e-Visa is here to stay.

This is to say that in the future more and more of your travel activities can be managed through your phone. Digital travel authorizations are no exception. However, it doesn’t stop there. Nigeria has officially made the jump online, with many local tourism companies offering digital bookings for seamless experiences.

Who knows? For your next trip you might find yourself managing not just your flight and travel authorizations online but your entire itinerary, too. What are you waiting for? Your next adventure is just a few clicks away.