By Dipo Olowookere
Following controversies trailing the new biometric visa-on-arrival for foreigners entering into the country, the Nigerian government has suspended the policy.
The exercise, which was introduced by the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), took effect on Tuesday, June 12, 2018, but its implementation delayed till Monday, 25, 2018. It ensured that foreigners arriving into the country obtain a biometric visa at the point of entry.
Few days ago, there were reports of pandemonium at the Lagos airport over the demand of $90 to $110 from foreigners entering Nigeria for the biometric visa-on-arrival.
Worried by the controversies surrounding the new policy, the NIS has indefinitely suspended the exercise.
Quoting a source, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) said at present, exemption from visa, charges apply to people carrying official and diplomatic passports from countries like China, Brazil, Venezuela, Morocco and South Africa, which have bilateral agreements with Nigeria.
The source said the visa-on-arrival policy had improved the Ease of Doing Business in Nigeria, adding that it was now applicable to all countries of the world.
“It is not true that the NIS is collecting money from foreigners coming into the country for the issuance of biometric visas,” the source told NAN.
“The fees for the biometric visa-on-arrival is being collected by Online Integrated Services (OIS) and New Works, who are service providers appointed by the ministry of interior to collect the charges.
“OIS collects $90, while New Works collects $20 for the issuance of the biometric visas. The payment can be made online before coming to Nigeria or with a credit card upon arrival.
“However, there were complaints from people who have already paid to obtain visas before coming into Nigeria and were now also being required to pay for the biometric visa upon arrival.
“The issue was brought to the notice of the CG, who directed that the policy should be suspended until further notice.”
The source said countries like the United States of America, the United Kingdom, China and South Africa were already issuing biometric visas to foreigners.
He said what Nigeria was doing was simply to reciprocate the fees charged Nigerians visiting these countries, stressing that for instance, Kenya and Nigeria had a bilateral agreement to charge their citizens $25 dollars for visa-on-arrival.
“It is very good for business purposes. Instead of applying for a visa from the embassy, a foreigner can send an application to the NIS attaching his valid passport, the point of entry, the purpose of visit and the certificate of incorporation of his business partners.
“The person’s return ticket will also be attached and the application is processed and approved by the CG and a visa will be issued to him upon arrival at his point of entry if he meets the requirements.”
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