The European Union parliament has proposed to introduce Humanitarian Visas for refugees in the region. The main objective is to improve the well being of irregular migrants.
They approved the proposal in Strasbourg in order to reduce the death toll and improve the management of refugees. The initiative was approved by four hundred and twenty nine members of the parliament against one hundred and ninety four members and forty one abstentions. In November 2018, a similar proposal failed due to technical error during voting and also because they couldn’t get absolute majority of votes cast.
The parliament mandated the European Commission to present a legislative proposal establishing European Humanitarian Visa latest by 31st March 2019. The main purpose is to allow the member state issuing the visa access to submit an application for international protection of refugees. Members of European parliament lamented about their numerous requests for safe and legal migration of asylum-seekers into Europe yet the European Union lacks the legal framework for the protection of those that fall within that category.
The Humanitarian Visas would reduce to the barest minimum the death toll in the Mediterranean and other irregular migration routes. The visa will also combat human trafficking and smuggling. It will enhance the management of asylum claims. Member states have the sole responsibility of issuing humanitarian visas.
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Nigeria Immigration Service is a government agency, a para-military outfit charged with the responsibility of migration management in Nigeria. NIS was extracted from the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) in 1958, but by 1963, Immigration Department (as it was then called) was formally established by an Act of Parliament CAP 171, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria. Then, the head of the department was known as the Director of Immigration. On October 1st 1992, the designation of Director of Immigration was changed to “Comptroller General of Immigration Service” (CGIS), thereby granting the service a para-military status. The service has come a long way in its march towards reformation and restructuring to be better positioned for the implementation of modern migration management. NIS core responsibilities includes the following:
I. Control of entry, exit of all persons entering and leaving Nigeria and monitoring of all Non-Nigerians in Nigeria.
II. Manning all Nigeria’s border posts (Land, Sea and Air)
III. Border patrol and surveillance.
IV. Implementation of Nigeria’s extant visa regime
V. Issuance and control of all travel documents
VI. Execution of deportation and repatriations orders
VII. Implementation of various treaties (bilateral, multilateral) entered into by Nigeria with other countries.
Nigeria Immigration Service is a regimented organization that has two (2) broad categories of officers:
A. Commissioned and
B. Non-Commissioned Officers.
Both categories are grouped into cadres comprising different ranks. Currently there are four (4) cadres of ranking in the organizational structure. The cadres in ascending order are as follows:
Immigration Assistant Cadre
Superintendent Cadre; and
1. IMMIGRATION ASSISTANT CADRE (NON-COMMISSIONED)
School Certificate holders belong here. The I.A Cadre comprises of five (5) ranks of non-commissioned officers, which includes:
I.Immigration Assistant III (IA3):
IA3 is the least rank in the service. It is on CONPASS 03, i.e Consolidated Para-military Salary Scale Three (or GL. 03). Their badge of rank is ONE STRIPE.
II. Immigration Assistant II (IA2):
Refers to CONPASS 04, identified with TWO STRIPES.
III. Immigration Assistant I (IA1):
Refers to CONPASS 05, identified with THREE STRIPES.
IV. Senior Immigration Assistant (SIA):
Refers to Immigration personnel on CONPASS 06, identified with ONE STRIPE THAT HAS A SHIELD WITH A WAVY PALL AT THE MIDDLE OF THE STRIPE (The shield symbolizes the meeting of the Niger and Benue Rivers at Lokoja, just like the one on Nigeria Coat of Arm).
V. Chief Immigration Assistant (CIA):
On CONPASS 07, identified with THREE STRIPES, TWO OF WHICH HAS A SHIELD WITH A WAVY PALL
Chief Immigration Assistant
2. INSPECTORATE CADRE (NON-COMMISSIONED):
This cadre comprises of eight (8) ranks of Non-Commissioned Immigration Personnel. It ranges from personnel’s on CONPASS 06 through CONPASS 13. CONPASS 08 and above in this category are non-commissioned officers due to HND and B.sc disparity in the Nigeria Public and Civil Service. Although there are calls for the removal of the disparity, Nigeria Immigration Service is yet to scrap the HND/B.sc dichotomy. The ranks under this cadre are as follows:
I. Assistant Inspector of Immigration (A.I.I):
The AIIs are on CONPASS 06. Their rank insignia is TWO STRIPES, EACH HAS A SHIELD WITH WAVY PALL. They are personnels employed with Ordinary National Diploma or NCE (National Certificate in Education).
II. Inspector of Immigration (I.I):
Inspectors are on CONPASS 07. Assistant Inspectors upon promotion move to Inspector of Immigration. Their rank insignia is THREE STRIPES THAT HAS A SHIELD WITH A WAVY PALL AT THE MIDDLE OF EACH STRIPE.
III. Senior Inspector of Immigration (S.I.I):
Senior Inspectors are Immigration personnel’s promoted from the rank of Inspectors, or those employed with Higher National Diploma into the service. They are on CONPASS 08, their rank insignia is a SHIELD WITH a WAVY PALL.
IV. Principal Inspector of Immigration II (P.I.I. 2 ):
Senior Inspectors upon promotion, moves to principal inspector 2 on CONPASS 09. Their rank insignia has ONE STRIPE ADDED TO THE SHIELD WITH A WAVY PALL.
V. Principal Inspector of Immigration I (P.I.I 1):
Upon promotion PII2 moves to PII 1 on CONPASS 10. Their rank insignia has the SHIELD AT THE MIDDLE OF TWO STRIPES.
VI. Assistant Chief Inspector of Immigration (ACII):
Consequent upon promotion, PII 1 moves to ACII on CONPASS 11. Their rank insignia has TWO SHIELDS WITH A STRIPE IN-BETWEEN.
VII. Deputy Chief Inspector of Immigration (DCII):
ACIIs who are being promoted moves to DCII on CONPASS 12. Their rank insignia has TWO SHIELDS WITH A WAVY PALL.
VIII. Chief Inspector of Immigration Technical (C.I.I.T):
This is the limit where personnel’s on Inspectorate cadre can attain. They can’t move beyond this rank unless they are CONVERTED to superintendent cadre. DCIIs upon promotion moves to CIIT where they are meant to remain and wait for retirement unless they are converted with their Bachelors degree (B.sc, BA, B.ED, B.Tech, etc). That’s for those who might have obtained it through further studies. Their HNDs can NOT take them beyond Chief Inspector. The rank insignia has TWO SHIELDS WITH TWO STRIPES IN-BETWEEN THE SHIELDS. Chief Inspectors of Immigration are on Grade Level / CONPASS 13 and they wear brown Gorget Patches on their collar, just like their fellow CONPASS 13 counterparts in Comptroller cadre. The Gorget patches are similar to ‘Red Neck’ in the military (like we normally call it in Nigeria).
Most atimes when ECOWAS nationals migrate to any of the member states for business, Residence or whatever reason. It is very important that they know what it entails to enforce their ‘Right of Residence’ as enshrined in ECOWAS Protocol. To avoid being regarded and treated as irregular Immigrant, the migrant should be in possession of necessary travel documents. For instance, In Nigeria it is required of every ECOWAS national upon migrating to Nigeria to be in possession of his or her National Standard Passport (International Passport) or ECOWAS Travel Certificate (of their country). They should also endeavour to enter Nigeria through a recognised port of entry in order to get proper endorsement (seen on arrival, S.O.A) on their ‘international passport’ or ECOWAS Travel Certificate. They should locate the nearest Nigeria Immigration Service state Command when they get to their destination in Nigeria, to regularise their stay. Regularisation of stay in this context refers to the Ecowas citizen being issued with ‘Ecowas Residence Card’. Ecowas Residence Card has a validity of two (2) years, renewable for another two years. This Residence Card enable the Ecowas citizen to reside in Nigeria legally. Note that any Immigrant who is not a citizen of any of the Ecowas member states would be required to get Combined Expatriates Residence Permit & Aliens Card (C.E.R.P.A.C) from Nigeria Immigration Service.
Nigeria Standard Passport generally referred to as International Passport or ECOWAS Passport by some people, currently have five (5) years validity. Upon expiration, the bearer may wish to renew it for purposes of identification or for traveling abroad. Your International Passport is due for RE-ISSUE whenever it’s validity gets to six (6) months or below. This is because, NO embassy would issue you with a VISA in a Passport that has six (6) months or less validity. Based on the above, the requirements for RE-ISSUE of Ecowas passport, International Passport or Nigeria Standard Passport, which ever one you choose to call it, includes the following:
I. The expired or about-to-expire passport booklet
II. Photocopy of the data page of that Passport
III. In the case of filled-up pages, photocopies of ALL the pages of the passport booklet.
IV. APPLICATION FOR RE-ISSUE of the expired; about to expire or filled-up Passport. Which should be addressed to:
The Passport Schedule Officer,
Nigeria Immigration Service,
****** State Command.
V. Two passport photographs of the applicant.
In the application mentioned in IV. above , you MUST State the passport number, whether expired or not, other relevant informations and why you want to be re-issued with a Passport. The process is referred to as RE-ISSUE as against renewal because you are to be issued with a new passport booklet and no longer extension endorsement when renewal was practiced.
For the purpose of obtaining Nigeria Standard (International) Passport, the new International Passport regime classified Nigerians into three groups based on age:
A. 0-17years of age: referred to as Minors
B. 18-59years of age: referred to as adults, and
C. 60 years and above: referred to as adult-minors
A. MINORS (0-17 years):
One of the parent or both parent MUST accompany the minor to the nearest Passport office with the following:
I. Birth certificate of the minor, obtained from National Population Commission only. In the case of foreign birth, the birth certificate must be translated to English language if written in foreign language. Note: baptism card or birth certificates from any other source other than National Population Commission is NOT acceptable.
II. Marriage certificate of the parent, obtained from the registry or affidavit of marriage from the court in a situation where the parent did only traditional marriage.
III. Affidavit of single motherhood where applicable
IV. Valid means of identification from both parent. For instance, International Passport, drivers license, national ID card , voter’s card (any one of the documents will suffice)
V. ‘Letter of Consent’, duly signed by both parent. The letter should be addressed to: The Passport Control Officer,
Nigeria Immigration Service,
***** State Command.
VI. Four (4) passport photographs of the minor and two (2) passport photographs EACH from both parent.
B. ADULTS, 18 years to 59 years of age:
I. Local government identification from the applicant’s state of origin
II. Birth certificate from National Population Commission for adults born on or after November 1992. Any adult born before then may present affidavit of age if he or she doesn’t have birth certificate from National Population Commission. Baptism card or any other birth certificate is not acceptable.
III. Three (3) Passport photographs from the adult.
In addition to the above, the adult MUST also get a Guarantor, who must be an adult Nigerian. The Guarantor is expected to provide the applicant with the following:
IV. Photocopy of his or her valid International Passport
V. Photocopy of his or her valid driver’s license; national ID card; or voter’s card ( any two of the aforementioned documents) , and
VI. Two (2) passport photographs ( signed at the back)
C. ADULT-MINOR (60 years and above):
The requirements is like that of adults as stated above. The only difference is that they pay the same fees with minors.
The above acronym means Combined Expatriate Residence Permit and Aliens Card. It is also referred to as ‘Regularisation of Stay’ (Residence Permits). It’s a (green) card issued to Expatriates and their dependants, foreign students, missionaries/clerics and their dependants, research fellows and other categories of foreigners (other than ECOWAS nationals) who wishes to reside in Nigeria and carry out their trade legitimately.
I. Expatriate employees of companies and their dependants.
II. Foreign students
III. Expatriate technical officials
IV. Missionaries/clerics and their dependants
V. Research fellows
VI. Expatriate staff of non governmental organizations (NGOs) and their dependants
VII. Government officials (Gos) and their dependants
VIII. Expatriate staff of International non governmental organizations (INGOs)
IX. Expatriates employed by companies operating in Free Trade Zones (FTZ) and their dependants
a. Letter of application for regularisation of stay and acceptance of immigration responsibilities by the employer/ school/ embassy or high commission/ international organisations/ NGOs/ INGOs/ MDA (in the case of government officials).
The letter should be addressed to:
Nigeria Immigration Service,
Abuja. (For those applying at the service headquarters)
Nigeria Immigration Service
****** State Command,
****** State Command. (For those applying through State commands)
The caption should be: Application for CERPAC/ Regularisation of Stay. The body of the application should introduce the expatriate stating his intended designation in the organisation. The organisation should as well State categorically, the acceptance of immigration responsibilities (IR) on behalf of the expatriate. The letter must be written with the organisation’s official letter-headed paper.
b. The biodata page of the expatriate’s passport
c. Four passport photographs of the expatriate
d. Copy of STR (Subject to Regularisation) visa page
e. Copy of arrival endorsement page ie the SOA (seen on arrival) stamp endorsement made on the passport at the point of entry.
f. Form IMM 22 (visa application form)
g. Expatriate’s valid national passport (ie the physical booklet, which must not have less than six months validity)
h. Evidence of purchase of CERPAC form (Bank teller).
There are categories of applicants and the following requirements (in addition to the above requirements) shall be applicable:
a. Expatriate technical officials of missions
I. Letter of employment
II. Letter of acceptance of employment
b. Expatriate employees of companies and their dependants
I. Letter of offer of employment
II. Letter of acceptance of employment
III. VETTED academic credentials/qualifications
V. Copy of valid Quota approval
VI. Certificate of incorporation
VII. Marriage certificate (for married women)
VIII. Board of directors resolution (applicable for the appointment of CEOs and managing directors)
IX. Evidence of registration with relevant professional bodies in Nigeria (where applicable)
X. Business Permit of the company
C. Foreign Student
I. Admission letter
II. Letter of acceptance of admission
III. Evidence of payment of school fees
D. Missionaries/ clerics and their dependants
I. Letter of offer of employment
II. Letter of acceptance of employment
E. Research Fellows
I. Letter of offer of Research fellowship
II. Letter of acceptance of Research fellowship
F. Expatriates employed by companies operating in Free Trade Zones (FTZ) and their dependants
I. Letter from the FTZ management
II. Certificate of registration with the Nigerian Export Processing Zone Authority (NEPZA) or oil & gas FTZ
III. Operating license
IV. Letter of employment
V. Letter of acceptance of employment
VI. Certificate of incorporation
VII. Marriage certificate (where applicable)
VIII. Board of directors resolution (for the appointment of CEOs and managing directors)
Ix. Evidence of registration with relevant professional bodies in Nigeria
Naira equivalent of $1000 (one thousand US dollars) per annum for all categories of expatriate and
Naira equivalent of $400 (four hundred US dollars) per annum for students and missionaries.
Other administrative charges may also be applicable for processing the application.
‘Trafficking in Person’ refers to situations whereby people are coerced, threatened or deceived into exploitative situations, for instance prostitution. Human trafficking also known as Modern Slavery includes forced labour and sex trafficking. Palermo Protocol described compelled service ( forced labour) using a number of terms including: Slavery, or practices similar to Slavery; Debt Bondage and Involuntary Servitude.
On the other hand, Human Smuggling implies that a migrant voluntarily pays to circumvent immigration restrictions, without necessarily being a victim of deception or exploitation. It is often difficult to distinguish between what is voluntary and what is forced except in clear cases of Slavery.
Most atimes, we hear cases where the victims are being asked by friends and relatives to go and acquire Nigerian Standard Passport ( a.k.a International Passport) and also to make available a specified amount of money to aid there trip to the destination. The victims are often promised of a secured job when they get to their destination. Most times, on getting there, they ( the victims) realise that there are no jobs and when they are even provided with jobs, it would be on exploitative arrangements and agreements. Exploitative arrangements in the sense that the victims may be engaged while the proceeds of their labour would go to the Traffickers for an agreed number of years. Meanwhile in such circumstances, the Traffickers would seize the victim’s travel documents on getting to their destination pending when the agreed terms are met.
Human Traffickers employ so many tactics, the one mentioned above is only but one of them. You can share knowledge with us by commenting or writing us to educate people on dangers associated with IRREGULAR MIGRATION. Follow us on social media and help us to SHARE this piece for wider reach.
After the expiration of the CERPAC Card ( green card ) , that is after one (1) year, it must be renewed ( re-issued ). The requirements for the renewal of Residence Permit includes the following:
Application for renewal of Residence Permits by the employer accepting Immigration Responsibilities.
Copy of the valid Quota approval.
Photocopy of passport biodata page of the applicant
Expatriate’s current CERPAC Card ( ie the expired one)
Purchase of CERPAC Form ( Bank Teller)
Two (2) recent passport photographs of the applicant
Valid national passport
Applications for renewal of Residence Permit shall be submitted to the office of: The Comptroller General, Nigeria Immigration Service Headquarters, Abuja or to the office of: The Comptroller of Immigration Service at the State Command where the expatriate is resident.
The Fees are as follows: Naira equivalent of One thousand US Dollars ($1000) per annum for all categories of Expatriates; and Naira equivalent of Four hundred ($400) US Dollars for students and missionaries.
Failure to renew one’s CERPAC Card after expiration will automatically put the expatriate on the wrong side of the law, thereby making him or her “Illegal Immigrant”. Embarrassment is inevitable for illegal immigrants.
Special Immigrant Status is being conferred to foreign spouses of Nigerians. Niger wife is a term used to refer to a foreigner ( a woman) married to a Nigerian man. Applicants for Special Immigrant Status/ Niger wife shall submit there applications to the office of The Comptroller General, Nigeria Immigration Service Headquarters, Abuja or to The Comptroller of Immigration Service, at the State Command where the applicant is resident with his/ her Nigerian spouse.
The Fee is Gratis, that means it’s free of charge.
The requirements that must be fulfilled to obtain Special Immigrant Status includes:
Application letter for Residence Permit by the Nigerian spouse accepting Immigration Responsibilities.
Copy of Special Immigrant Status approval letter by the Minister of Interior
Husband’s consent letter requesting for Special Immigrant Status/ letter of consent from the Niger wife stating willingness to stay with husband in Nigeria.
1. Government Officials (Gos): expatriates in the employment of federal, state or local government falls under this category.The requirements for one to apply for regularisation of stayunder this category includes:
I. Letter of application for regularisation of stay and acceptance of Immigration responsibilities by the MDAs.
II. Letter of offer of employment
III. Letter of acceptance of employment
IV. Vetted academic credentials/ qualifications
VI. Marriage certificate (for married women)
VII. Evidence of registration with relevant professional bodies in Nigeria (where applicable)
VIII. Copy of passport biodata page of the expatriate
IX. Copy of STR Visa page and arrival endorsement page.
X. Form IMM 22 (visa application form)
XI. Three (3) recent passport photographs
XII. Physical booklet of expatriate’s valid national passport (not less than six months validity)
The application must be addressed toTheComptroller-General, Nigeria Immigration Service headquarters Abuja or to The Comptroller of Immigration Service at the state Command where the applicant is resident.
GRATIS (ie free of charge)
2. Accredited Diplomats: Multiple Journey Re-entry Visa
Accredited Diplomats and their family members are eligible under this category. Their requirements includes the following:
I. Note verbale from ministry of foreign affairs
II. Letter of request from the embassy/ high commission/ International agency
III. Form IMM 22 (visa application form)
IV. Diplomatic staff list
V. Copies of relevant biodata pages of the expatriate’s national passport and
VI. Diplomatic entry visa
VII. Physical booklet of the applicant’s national passport
The applications for Residence Permit (CERPAC) shall be submitted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the office of The Comptroller-General, Nigeria Immigration Service, headquarters, Abuja.
For NON-ACCREDITED staff of Diplomatic Mission, consultants and contractors working for Missions, there application s for Residence Permit shall be submitted by their employer to the office of The Comptroller-General, Nigeria Immigration Service, Headquarters, Abuja.
And the Fee is one thousand U.S Dollar per annum ($1000).
3. Staff of International non-governmental Organisations (INGO) and Non-governmental Organisations (NGOs):
The requirements for those that fall under this category includes:
I. Letter of accreditation from the Ministry of Budget and National Planning
II. Application letter from the organisation accepting Immigration Responsibilities
III. Duly completed Form IMM 22
IV. Memorandum of understanding/ Corporation agreement with National Planning Commission
V. Letter of offer
VI. Letter of acceptance of offer
VII. Vetted credentials
VIII. Contract validity
IX. Copies of relevant pages of the applicant’s national passport and STR visa page
X. Three (3) recent passport size photographs
XI. Physical booklet of national passport of the applicant.
The application for Residence Permit shall be submitted to the office of the Comptroller-General, Nigeria Immigration Service, Headquarters, Abuja.