If you have a business opportunity or job offer in Nigeria, you may have been urged by your host or company to start applying for an STR permit, otherwise known as a Subject to Regulation visa. The name sounds very daunting and a little bit dangerous, but this is just the name for the visa that permits paid employment as an expat in Nigeria including the Delta region. The reason for the name is that the Nigerian government restricts the number of expatriates who take up paid, permanent employment in the country. This visa is available to foreigners with offers from private firms, non-profits and governments and to individual investors.
How is an STR visa different from a business visa and a Temporary Work Permit? A business visa is for business purposes such as meetings, contract negotiations, training etc. but not for paid employment. These Nigeria visas are available with single or multiple entries and are only valid for up to six months.
Temporary Work Permits (TWP) are available to skilled workers, contractors or experts offering their services for a limited amount of time to corporations or non-profits already operating in Nigeria. A contract and confirmed return ticket are required to apply for this visa. As the name implies, this visa is for TEMPORARY work with set end dates.
The length of the STR visa will be valid for 90 days when issued from the Embassy and it will be for single entry. Upon landing in Nigeria you will be asked to present the authorities with not only your visa, but a packet from the Embassy which contains the rest of your STR documents. After the authorities have reviewed your documents you will be eligible for a Combined Expatriate Residence Permit and Alien Card (CERPAC) which will give you residency rights and the actual right to start work.
So the critical first step is the STR. The whole process takes 5 to 10 business days, but keep in mind that the Nigerian embassy is only open Mondays through Thursdays and is closed on Fridays. You will need the following documents:
- Current Passport (with at least 6 months validity)
- 4 Completed visa application forms
- 4 Copies of confirmation of online payment
- 4 passport size pictures
- 4 Copies of employment offer letters
- 4 Copies of acceptance of employment letters
- 4 Copies of Nigerian Immigration approval quota
- 4 Copies of resume, degrees, and certificates earned
- Holders of non–US passports must provide proof of legal residency (photocopy of green card)
- 4 copies certificate of incorporation of the Nigerian company.
- 4 Copies of business permit issued by the Ministry of interior (for companies that have foreign shareholders)
Most of the official documents will come from your employer, but the visa application, online payment and other documents are usually procured individually. It is advised that you work with a private firm such as Travel Visa Pro which can assist with these documents. The STR visa is a daunting process and requires personal connections and face to face time to with the Consular staff. It is important to work with a reputable agency who can arrange this for you.
Good luck with your move and new job and congratulations!