Assessing travel and visa obligations for Nigeria

When traveling to Nigeria, your nationality and the types of activities you will conduct during your trip will determine whether you may travel lawfully as a business visitor or if you must obtain work authorization. Please seek advice from your immigration counsel if you are uncertain about the specific types of activities that constitute business or work.

Traveling for business

What types of activities may I engage in as a business visitor?

As a business visitor to Nigeria, you may engage in the activities below. While this list is not exhaustive and other activities could qualify as business, you may:

  • Attend business and sales meetings
  • Attend conferences, seminars, and workshops
  • Negotiate contracts
  • Attend trade shows

Nationals of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) member countries are generally permitted to perform short-term, non-remunerated professional activities in Nigeria without obtaining work authorization. Please consult with your immigration counsel prior to travel to determine your eligibility for a short-term work authorization exemption.


If I qualify as a business visitor, do I need a visa for Nigeria?

Most foreign nationals, including nationals of European Union member states and the United States, are required to obtain a Business Visa from a Nigerian Consulate or Embassy or an e-Visa through the online portal, prior to travel.

Business visitors may also be eligible for a Visa on Arrival, provided that a pre-approval letter from the Comptroller General of the Nigerian Immigration Service has been obtained. However, to avoid risk of complications at the port of entry, it is recommended that an e-Visa or consular Business Visa be obtained prior to travel.

Only nationals of select African countries, including member states of ECOWAS, are eligible to perform business activities under a visa waiver.

Please consult with your immigration counsel prior to travel to determine your eligibility for a Business Visa, e-Visa, Visa on Arrival or visa waiver.

Working in Nigeria

What types of activities require work authorization?

The activities below, whether paid or unpaid, generally constitute work under Nigerian law. This list is not exhaustive, and many other professional activities are considered work in Nigeria, even if conducted for a short duration.

  • Repairs or maintenance
  • Auditing
  • Consulting


If I am traveling to Nigeria for work, what type of work authorization do I need?

The requirements for work authorization depend on your qualifications, on the nature and duration of your work and on whether your employer has an entity in Nigeria. The most common forms of work authorization in Nigeria are:

  • Temporary Work Permit and Visa (short-term work authorization)
  • Subject to Regularization (STR) Visa and Combined Expatriate Residence Permit and Alien Card (CERPAC) (long-term work authorization)
  • ECOWAS Residence Card (work authorization for ECOWAS nationals)


Is it possible to be exempted from work authorization requirements?

There are no long-term exemptions from work authorization requirements in Nigeria.

What else should I know?

Inevitably, the legal and strategic considerations impacting visa selection, as well as visa waiver and work authorization eligibility, entail the careful consideration of many factors. We recommend that you consult with your immigration counsel before taking any course of action.


Copyright ©2024 Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. Government immigration agencies often change their policies and practices without notice; please consult an immigration professional for up-to-date information. This document does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. BAL maintains comprehensive immigration information and processing specifics for our clients.