Work permits in Nigeria

Work permits in Nigeria
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You want to expand your business across the world, especially in Africa. What better way to hire remote teams in Africa than to start with the continent’s biggest economy?

Besides its unique labor laws, Nigeria’s immigration policies can be challenging for local and foreign employers hiring expatriates. A work permit or visa is one of the major requirements for working in Nigeria. Hiring expatriates without these documents is illegal and can be detrimental to the company’s image and ability to legally operate in Nigeria. Likewise, the employee may lose their legal alien status.

This guide will help you discover how getting a work visa works in Nigeria. You will also identify the eligibility requirements, duration, and crucial factors to consider when getting Nigeria work permits.

Types of Nigeria work visas

According to information on the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) website, there are two types of Nigeria work permits. They are both temporary documents that permit an alien to reside for a definite work period. These visas suit professionals who like to travel while working remotely and are not valid for more than two years. They can, however, be renewed when they expire.

F8A temporary work permit

The first category of Nigerian work permits is the F8A work visa. This visa type is for temporary residence and permission to work in Nigeria. The F8A is a single entry visa a foreigner gets when invited to the country for a short period. When a corporate body helps facilitate this visa, they employ skilled individuals in specific positions. These positions may be in virtually any sector.

The visa allows a foreigner to perform specialized duties for their employer for no more than 90 days. The F8A work permit ensures that the incoming employee can only work for the employer.

When applying for the F8A, applicants must possess the following:

  • A pre-approved visa
  • A return ticket
  • Proof of enough funds to cover the duration of their stay
  • Evidence of temporary residences, such as hotel reservations
  • A valid passport of at least six months before the expiration

Also, note that applicants cannot get this visa online. They must visit the Nigerian embassy in person to tender their application.

Finally, the F8A is for foreigners who have already gained employment with a Nigerian-based organization while abroad. Thus, the incoming employee must apply for and obtain this visa before their Nigeria immigration.

The R11 (6 months) temporary work permit

This work permit or visa is similar to the F8A in certain aspects. It is also a temporary work visa for foreigners wanting to work in Nigeria. Your employee must make sure they apply for this visa before moving. They can apply at any Nigerian embassy or consulate in their country.

The Comptroller General of Nigeria’s immigration service authorizes the issuance of this visa. Once granted, it is valid for six months. Besides the similarities, this visa type differs from the F8A in various ways.

The R11 visa is a multiple-entry visa. Unlike others, this work visa is not renewable once it expires. An alien can work temporarily within the country's shores with this visa. According to the NIS, here is what you need to get an R11:

  • An offer or appointment letter issued by the employer in Nigeria
  • Proof of sufficient funds for the duration of the stay or proof of a sponsor’s ability to financially support the individual
  • A valid international passport of at least six months with two blank pages
  • Curriculum vitae or proof of academic qualifications
  • A completed R11 visa application form from the employer or organization

Who needs a work visa in Nigeria?

Only Nigerian natives and citizens can work in this country without a work permit or CERPAC ID. Non-indigenes or citizens must have a work visa and a CERPAC identity card to earn a living in Nigeria. For further discussion of the ID, see the section on getting an ID card for your new employees below.

It is important to note that the Nigeria Immigration Service grants work visas to foreigners with specific skills. According to the official NIS website, foreigners permitted to get work visas must be skilled in the following areas:

  • Machinery maintenance
  • Equipment installation
  • Machinery auditing
  • Machinery repairs
  • Training for the local workforce
  • Financial records auditing
  • Machinery upgrading
  • Equipment commissioning

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Requirements for Nigeria work visas and permits

The requirements for both types of Nigeria work permits are identical. The NIS wants to know the identity of the foreigner. Likewise, they want to be sure that the individual’s reasons for moving to Nigeria are genuine.

Thus, they request documents detailing personal information. The applicant must also prove that they can cover the cost of temporarily living in Nigeria.

Employers wanting to expand globally by facilitating a foreign employee's Nigeria immigration must prove they requested the employee’s services. The Immigration Service attempts to determine if employers meet the Nigeria visa requirements for hiring foreigners.

Consult previous headers to discover the requirements for each visa type.

How to apply for a Nigeria work visa

When applying for a Nigeria work permit, make sure you follow these steps:

  • Search the official homepage of the NIS
  • Select the visa type you want to apply for on the website
  • Fill out the application form
  • Make sure to tick the check box with the inscription "I ACCEPT FULL RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE INFORMATION PROVIDED IN THIS FORM "
  • Apply and pay the appropriate visa application fee
  • Track the visa application online at the NIS official website
  • Reschedule your application date if the need arises

Processing time

The processing time for the Nigeria work permit varies. In best cases, processing any visa into the country may take 10 working days. When you partner with an employer of record in Nigeria like Skuad, we can help speed up the process.

What to consider when hiring a foreigner in Nigeria

A temporary work permit is perhaps the most essential document your foreign employee needs to legally work in Nigeria. That's not all. There are other crucial factors to consider before you add a foreigner to your ranks.

These factors include certain rules and procedures you must follow to comply with local laws. Consider these factors when hiring a foreigner in Nigeria:

You will obtain an expatriate quota

Before hiring foreigners, you must consult the NIS for an expatriate quota. An expat quota is the number of foreigners the Nigeria Immigration Service will allow a company to employ. The process can take an extended period of time.

When you decide to hire a non-Nigerian from abroad, you make an official request for an expatriate quota to the NIS. Upon receiving your application, the NIS assesses your company’s needs and allows a quota. This quota is for the whole company.

You can appeal to the service if you get a quota less than what you need. You must know that you can only hire beyond this quota if your appeal has been granted.

New Ministry of Interior regulations

The Nigerian Ministry of Interior enforces the immigration laws of the federal republic. It also provides guidelines for establishing businesses for foreign individuals and employing expatriates. The ministry publishes new regulations to guide new businesses and their owners.

If you plan on hiring or processing work permits for your employees in this country, be aware of the ministry’s updates. According to the ministry’s revised rules on expatriate quota administration, the validity period for work permits will reduce to three years. Employers can renew the employment contract once in two years, within seven years.  

Getting an ID card for your new employees

Every expatriate working in Nigeria must apply for a Subject to Regularization visa. They can apply for this visa at any Nigerian consulate or embassy nearby. While the visa application is in process, you can assist by facilitating their Combined Expatriate Residence Permit and Alien Card (CERPAC).

This is the identity card for all foreigners working in the country. It enables them to work legally in Nigeria. You should know that the CERPAC is only valid for one year. At the end of each year, your employee can renew their ID card.

The new rule also includes guidelines for establishing a Nigerian-based foreign company. Employers wishing to hire a foreigner must employ two home-grown talents for each foreigner they employ.

Companies must also have at least NGN100 million when applying for a business permit. This is an NGN90 million increase since the last publication.

Planning to hire or work in Nigeria? Here’s how Skuad can help

You’re probably planning on hiring a remote team in Nigeria. Although planting a global team in Nigeria can be exciting, it can also be highly challenging. Nigeria is not the most accessible place to do business, and its laws can change quickly. Your best way to ensure compliance is to partner with Skuad.

Working with Skuad saves you time and money and guarantees compliance with local legislation. Hire whoever you want from any country. We’ll be right here to handle the rest, from onboarding to the disbursement of employee salaries globally.

Contact the team today; let us show you how we will help you take your business expansion to the next level.

Frequently asked questions about Nigeria work permits and visas

How can I get a work permit in Nigeria?

To get the Nigeria work permit, your employer must notify the NIS of their intention to hire you. The NIS will assess the company’s legal status and needs before issuing an expatriate quota.

With this quota and the necessary documents, you can apply online on the official NIS portal. Select your visa type and fill out the form. You can track your application status online after you complete your application. Once the Comptroller General of the Service approves your application, you can begin your travel plans.

How much is a work permit in Nigeria?

The fees for a temporary work permit in Nigeria depend on the number of entries and the applicant’s country. For instance, a single-entry visa for Kenyan citizens is $25, while American citizens will pay $160.

By contrast, double-entry visa costs range from $144 to $2360 for United Kingdom citizens. You may refer to the official NIS portal for specific rates for your country and visa type.

What documents do I need to work in Nigeria?

The documents required for working in Nigeria depend on the work permit type for which you are applying. Although similar, the F8A and R11 work visas have unique requirements. For the F8A single-entry temporary work permit, you need the following:

  • A pre-approved visa
  • A return travel ticket
  • Proof of enough funds for the duration of your stay
  • Evidence of temporary residence, such as hotel reservations
  • A valid passport of at least six months before the expiration

To obtain an R11 multiple-entry visa you need the following:

  • A completed R11 visa application form
  • An appointment letter from the employer
  • Proof you have sufficient funds for the duration of your stay
  • Proof of a sponsor’s ability to financially support you
  • A passport valid for at least six months with at least two blank pages
  • Curriculum vitae

Can Americans work in Nigeria?

There are no restrictions on gaining employment in Nigeria for American citizens. A U.S. citizen entering Nigerian soil for work must have a work and residence permit. They must also provide travel, personal, and employment-related documents to prove their eligibility to work in Nigeria.

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