A Foreigner who desires to invest in the Nigerian Economy or a Nigerian that wishes to engage the services of a foreign expert must make certain that a business entity is registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) as a Limited liability Company (LTD).
Upon completion of the incorporation process with CAC, there are steps the Foreigner or his proposed Nigerian employers must take to make sure that the foreigner secures a residential address in Nigeria.
Below is the step by step guide, requirements, and Cost of processing an Expatriate quota application, Subject to Regularization (STR) Visa and Combined Expatriate Residence Permit and Alien Card (CERPAC).
STEP 1(Expatriate Quota)
The First step a wholly Foreign company, a Joint venture Company( between a Nigerian and a Foreigner) or a Nigerian company wishing to have a foreigner in its employment will take in order to secure an officially permitted residence permit for its foreign employees are as follows:
1. An application for an expatriate quota slot: This has to be on the letter headed paper of the company, addressed to the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Interior, Old secretariat Garki, Area 1, Abuja, FCT. It is important to note that an application for expatriate quota must only be made by a Company. Therefore, a Nigerian or an Alien individual is prohibited from such activity.
2. Certificate of incorporation issued by CAC upon completion of the incorporation process. The certificate is a prima facie evidence showing that a Business entity has fulfilled the most important requirement prior to the issuance of an Expatriate quota Slot(s) and a business permit.
3. Form CAC 2 and 7 or 1.1 the essence of these Forms is to establish the company details as relates to the composition of the Board of Directors, shareholders, and shareholding structure of the company as well as the registered office address of the company and its secretary.
4. Memorandum and article of association: This document is relevant for the processing of an expatriate quota because it confirms the true nature of the business of the company in relation to the title of the position the expatriate will occupy in the company.
5. Feasibility report: is basically required by the Ministry to assess the practicability and viability of the projects of the applicant.
6. Tax clearance certificate: is an official document from Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS) that establishes the fact that the tax assessed on all income of the company has been paid thus leading to the issuance of the certificate
7. Bank reference letter: This letter demonstrates the fact that the applicant has a banking relationship with credible banks in Nigeria, and has not defaulted on any mutually negotiated terms.
8. Lease agreement: Confirms that the applicant has the right to the use of a property. It will suffice if the applicant can establish title to a property for the use of their business.
9. Joint venture agreement (in case of a foreign partnership)
10. Evidence of capital and machinery importation: A Certificate of Capital Importation is a Certificate issued by Banks in Nigeria on the mandate of the Central bank of Nigeria CBN which proves that the company imported some foreign currency through an authorized dealer for their business in Nigeria. It aids the repatriation of dividends and profits by the foreign investor as well. On the other hand, if the applicant is importing any machinery for use in their business, it must be established that the due process laid down by Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and Nigerian Custom Services (NCS) is strictly adhered to.
11. Proposed salary, job description, designation, and qualification of Expatriate.
1 Online registration/Automation- 51,000
2 Processing fee- 31, 000
3 Business permit-
4 Singe Quota position- 30, 000
After the grant of an Expatriate quota by the Minister of Interior, the next step to take before a Nigerian green card is issued is to apply for a Subject to Regularization (STR) VISA from the Nigerian embassy in the country of origin of the expatriate where he or she has been residing for the last 6 months and the requirements and cost are
STEP 2: Requirements For The Processing Of a Subject to Regularization STR VISA.
1. Valid passport with a minimum of 6months validity
2. Letter of employment from the Nigerian employer of the expatriate
3. Expatriatequotaapproval issued by the Minister of interior
4. Credentials/CV of the expatriate
3. For the Chief Executive Officer position, evidence of the extract of the minute of the Board of Directors must be attached.
4. Proof of Online payment of Visa fee must be attached.
STEP 3: CERPAC (Residence permit application)
After the grant of an STR Visa, the expatriate can come into Nigeria and Regularize the Visa with the following documents and fees
1. Purchase of CR (Concessionary) Forms
2. Four(4) Nos “2×2 passport photograph on white background.
3. Application on the letter headed paper of the employer indicating acceptance of Immigration Responsibilities I.R endorsed by the Nigerian High Commissioner.
4. National passport of the applicant with STR Visa endorsement and photocopies of relevant data pages.
5. Letter of appointment and acceptance of the offer by the employee.
6. Expatriate quota approval of the company issued by the Minister of Interior.
7. Photocopies of applicants credential
8. Duly completed forms IMMA 2.1 and E.20
9. Particulars of incorporation documents as contained in the requirements for expatriate quota application.
10. Qualifying certificate and Resume of expatriate
11. Company Profile of the applicant.
Cerpac fee- 2,000 Dollars per expatriate. (The new rate was introduced by the Minister of Interior since 2018)
After submission of the application, a temporary card valid for one year will be issued pending when the permanent card is ready(usually for a period of 2-3 months)
2. The application is submitted at the office of the Comptroller-General of Immigration (immigration HQ, airport road Sauka, Abuja)
3. The presence of the expatriate is required.
4. The expatriate can travel in and out of Nigeria with the Temporary card pending when the original would be ready for pick up.
Okpi, Ibe Chinedu is the Principal Partner in the Law Firm of Ibe, Chido and Associates, with extensive knowledge in Corporate and Commercial Law Practice. He can be contacted via phone: or email: