11 September 2008
New e-visas compulsory for travel to Nigeria
The Comptroller General of Nigeria Chukwurah Udeh announced at a media brief in Abuja that the Government will now be issuing e-cards instead of visas in an attempt to purge visa fraud, reports AllAfrica.com.
The e-cards will have visa-holders' biometric information (a fingerprint), a photograph and signature. The specifications of the e-card will make it tough for fraudulence to continue, and will hopefully remonstrate all illegal Nigerian visa applications.
Mr Udah said, "they have commenced discussions with some companies that will do the work for them and they have reached advanced stage in their discussions so that Nigerians will start collecting visas that are world class standard."
The Nigerian Government also recently introduced e-passports for Nigerian nationals. The Nigerian e-passport is a passport that contains a micro-chip containing the biometric data of the passport holder. Last year, the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) introduced the measure to curb the illegal use of passports. The number of Nigerian e-passports issued by the Nigeria Immigration Service is expected to reach 1 million by the end of the year, reports The Tide Online.
New e-passport services are available now in South Africa, New York and London.
Udeh, told BBC News the program will eventually expand into 48 countries. "The service acknowledges that Nigerians are among the most travelled people in the world and our intention is to make it easy for Nigerians, wherever they find themselves, to conduct their passport and other services," he said.
For all non-Nigerian nationals who are not from the Economic Community of West African States and wish to visit Nigeria for tourism and business purposes, a Nigerian Tourist Visa or Nigerian Business Visa is needed.
The Worldwide Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in Nigerian visa and immigration services.
Article by Jessica Bird, Worldwide Visa Bureau.