What is the change? Nigeria is offering a longer, two-year Combined Expatriate Residence Permit and Aliens Card (CERPAC or “Green Card”), for fresh quota positions.

What does the change mean? Employers applying for quota positions that qualify as two-year jobs can now apply for Green Cards lasting two years. Upon grant of a fresh expatriate quota approval, employers may apply (on behalf of their foreign employees) for CERPACs with two-year validity. This is because the validity of a CERPAC is tied to the lifespan of an expatriate quota position. The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) may issue a two-year CERPAC where an employer requests purchasing two CERPAC Forms for this purpose.

  • Implementation timeframe: Immediate and subject to availability of expatriate quota position valid for two years.
  • Visas/permits affected: CERPAC Residence Permit (Green Card).
  • Who is affected: Employers applying for two-year quota positions on behalf of employees required to work in Nigeria for over a year.
  • Impact on processing times: None.
  • Business impact: For positions that qualify for the two-year CERPACs, this will reduce the need to renew Green Cards every year. Green Cards would only be subject to renewal at the expiration of their validity.

Background: Earlier in the year, the NIS started allowing employers to obtain Green Cards valid for two years as long as the quota position has been approved for two years. Before this, CERPACs were only available for a one-year duration – even for positions that lasted two years or more.

“This is a big change. It encourages employers who are bringing someone in for a position that is valid for two years to apply for a two-year CERPAC, rather than having to renew the CERPAC every year,” said Afolasade Olowe, an immigration attorney with Jackson, Etti & Edu in Lagos.

The NIS is also planning to issue new Green Cards to replace the old version. The government expected to issue Green Cards by April 30 to all expatriates working and residing in Nigeria who had not already obtained them. The new Green Cards contain additional security features, such as biometric data. Old Green Cards will be gradually phased out, but will remain valid until their expiration dates.

BAL Analysis: The NIS quietly implemented the longer CERPAC at the beginning of the year. Employers can take advantage of the longer CERPAC validity by purchasing two-year CERPAC Forms. The validity period of renewal CERPACs will also be tied to the life span of the position.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Nigeria. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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