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So far I have had little success with questions on TSE. Four of seven have no answers, one where I feel I can’t presently accept the single answer offered and at least one (similar to Where can I report an airport security flaw / weakness?) that was migrated to Aviation, sent back and then closed. I am wary of asking again without first taking advice from meta.

Conceptually it is quite simple: How to obtain a visa for Nigeria, how long (roughly) does the process take and what, approximately, is the cost?

However, being Nigeria, the details are labyrinthine, ambiguous and contradictory. I have tried to assemble relevant research but before polishing/publishing would appreciate advice on how to ask the question. A significant issue may be that, short of recent, first-hand experience that “cuts to the chase” the “question” is really a lot of pieces to be assembled, if possible, into a whole. That is, realistically I may need to ‘construct’ the single answer I seek from a lot of individual elements.

There are two questions on TSE with both and tags but neither relevant to me.

So a draft at present is:


I would be interested to know of the requirements for (and recent experience of) obtaining a single entry visa for a visit of one month to Nigeria by a UK citizen. Since seemingly far from straightforward, I have attempted to deconstruct the elements that may need to be addressed to reach that objective, so have several interrelated questions:

Without accelerated processing and assuming no interview is required, how long should I allow for the process? Travel would be in September.

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The Nigeria Immigration Service [NIS] seems to show the fee as US$144 (whether Tourist or Business, presumably).

VisaHQ shows “Total Cost” at least £287.94 (Tourist) £334.80 (Business) which seems inconsistent with NIS. Although by USA standards the purpose of the visit is the same as “Tourism” (actually, Research) it seems I might as well apply for a Business visa.

What would my total cost likely be?

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Same site has, for business visa application form online:

A   Nigerian visa application form. Upon order completion, please download, print and sign Nigeria visa application, prepared by our system under your account. Nigerian visa application form. Completed application form for Nigeria will be prepared within 5 business hours of order submission, and emailed to you to download, print and sign. 

B   Original, signed United Kingdom passport. with at least 6 months of remaining validity and two blank pages side by side. 

C   Photographs: 2. Two passport size photographs of applicant with name, signature and date at the back 

D   Employment Letter. Copy of a letter from your employer on business letterhead, with contact details, stating that a leave of absence has been granted, purpose and duration of the trip, and that you will be returning to your current job. If you are self-employed, include a copy of your business license and tax return. If you are retired please submit proof of your retirement fund.

E   Business Invitation. A business invitation letter from the sponsoring company in Nigeria. The letter should be printed on company letterhead stationery, addressed to "The Consulate of Nigeria, Visa Section", and signed by a senior manager (an equivalent to Vice-President or above). The business letter must adhere to the following guidelines:
Briefly introduce the applicant (please specify employment status/position held in the company by applicant).
State the nature of the business to be conducted (ie. business meetings, contract negotiations, etc.) and the names and addresses of companies to be contacted in Nigeria.
Specify the type and desired validity of the visa (ie. a one year multiple entry business visa).
Guarantee of sufficient funds for travel.

Re D, is ownership of the business going to be considered “self-employed” and if so, is the Certificate of Incorporation what is meant by business licence, or what is?
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Site also mentions:

Maximum stay in Nigeria: 30 days
“Validity” “up to 90 days” (Tourist) “180 days” (Business)

This is consistent with CIBT site where the only option for “How long do you need your visa to be valid” is “Three Month Validity”.

I interpreted this as the maximum duration of one visit. However NIS has:

Validity of stay is 90 days but extendable

So it seems “validity, because of “stay”,” may not refer to the maximum time between issue of visa and submission of that visa at Immigration Control, as I first thought.

In my case a duration of visit of 30 days is just about adequate but how much time I would have from the time of receipt before it expires if not presented at Immigration Control?

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Incidentally the same site seems to show “6 MONTHS” as the maximum duration of stay and N9700 for the visa fee (about £30 according to a rather lame currency converter).

For fees the CITB site mentions:

The CIBT fees are extra to the above:
Form Fill and/or online payment fee: £55 + VAT
Handling fee: Variable depending upon services requested.

Fees Summary

However the following is also shown:

Fees

I’m guessing the £94.50 might be the Sterling version of $144 and comprises: Nigeria Consular admin fee £20 Postal order payment £2.50 Nigeria Visa Application Centre fee: £60 VAT: £12. and that £105 may be £55 (Form Fill and/or online payment fee: £55) and say £50 for Handling fee.

£94.50+£126 = £220.50 would then be a bit closer to VisaHQ’s £287.94 (Tourist) £334.80 (Business) though in no way explains a Tourist/Business differential.

In researching this (days so far) I came across Visa on Arrival and looked for further details. The latest information there is 8 months old and the overall impression I received is that the whole VOA is all theory – so theoretical that the chances of complying with all the requirements are negligible, while the associated risks are severe. Checking with GOV.UK “All British nationals travelling to Nigeria must hold a valid visa. You can’t apply for a visa on arrival.”

Also “For further information on entry requirements, contact the Nigeria High Commission in London”. The High Commission site (Immigration > Visas > Click here to proceed) shows an Adobe icon but that leads to or download the form but the only sample form I can find there is in connection with obtaining a Nigerian passport.

I have tried “Start Application” but then clicking on Facebook does nothing evident (same via Visa on Arrival).

What particulars does the on-line form demand?

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I did come across a telephone number at one point but did not then record it as it costs £0.92 per minute and I can’t see getting help there quickly (or at all).

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I do not know the rules in Nigeria. But I can offer the things that need to be in any well-formed question about obtaining a visa.

Your nationality
Your current location and status if not in your home country
Country you want to issue a visa
What sort of visa you want 
How long you want it for
The premise of your trip (important)
Prior visa history, prior criminal history
Personal circumstances and what you propose to give for evidence
Why you think there might be a problem
Acknowledgement that you have read the governing rules or country's site

If there is a prior history, that part of the question would need to be expanded. As an afterthought, if you are in South Asia or Sub Saharan Africa (or any other locale where forced marriage or arranged marriage is practiced), and you want to apply as a UK visitor, then for some cases it can be helpful to add your age, gender, and marital status because these demographics are sometimes taken into consideration by the decision-maker.

Having said all of that, looking at your question specifically, the type of visa and the premise are missing, Otherwise fine. It is also ok to expect no useful answers because lots of people on TSE have no knowledge of matters arising under Nigerian law (including me). That does not mean you have a defective question, it just signals that nobody feels competent to answer.

Other comments, but not part of this META answer...

You appear to be 'stuck' on a bug on the High Commission's site. It's a plain ordinary bug on their site and you can write to them telling them that it needs fixing. Until the bug is fixed, you can leave that part out of your question.

You are also mish-mashing information from the Nigerian government and information from a 3rd party commercial service. There is no reason why these two sources should be in sync. You can select which source you prefer and leave the other source out of your question.

  • @pnuts, glad to help but take care that you may well be plowing a lone furrow. – Gayot Fow May 29 '15 at 17:43
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    @pnuts, not likely to get an authoritative answer. The respondent will be surfing the net like you have been so you'll get a rehash. But hey, maybe not. – Gayot Fow May 29 '15 at 18:01

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