The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) recently released a simplified guideline (The Guideline) for a successful migrant e-registration. This was necessitated by the need to ensure a credible, reliable and comprehensive database for all foreign nationals due to challenges associated with the current global migration process. Furthermore, NIS released the Guideline to give directions to foreign migrants, in line with the provisions of the Immigration Act.
We have provided key highlights of the Guideline below:
- Migrants are to register with NIS. A migrant for this purpose is any person who is a non-Nigerian, has attained the age of eighteen (18) years and intends to stay in Nigeria for over ninety (90) days;
- All migrants are expected to register in their respective state of residence and declare the names of all their dependants;
- Foreigners who are under the age of eighteen years, or staying in Nigeria less than ninety (90) days, or those enjoying diplomatic immunity, are exempted from the e-registration exercise;
- The registration process has two options as follows:
- Self-service application: This is an optional web-based pre-registration option, which allows a migrant to log on to the relevant portal on the NIS website and complete the enrolment form online. Migrants who opt to pre-register on the portal are thereafter required to proceed to the Registration Office for document verification and biometric capturing.
- Desktop registration at designated registration centre: This is a compulsory process whereby migrants visit the e-registration centre in their state of residence, with relevant documentation and information, to initiate and complete the registration and biometric capturing process.
Upon completion of the registration process, migrants will receive an acknowledgement slip showing registration details.
- Any migrant who fails to register is liable
to imprisonment for a term of three years, or a fine of five hundred thousand
N500,000), or both.
Please note that two registration centres have been opened in Lagos State (Ikoyi and Ikeja) and they have commenced the registration exercise as expected. Foreign nationals in these locations are thus encouraged to visit the nearest centre for their registration.
However, we observed that the self-service option which is designed to ease and accelerate the registration process is currently not available as the web-based portal has not been created on the NIS website. We expect that NIS would rectify the issue to promote accountability and ease of doing business.
In the meantime, employers are encouraged to work with employees to ensure they are properly registered at the nearest registration centre.