Ecowas Nationals and Right of Residence

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avoid irregular migration

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.

C.E.R.P.A.C: eligibility and general requirements

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.
ELIGIBILITY:
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

REQUIREMENTS:
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:
The Comptroller-General,
Nigeria Immigration Service,
Sauka village,
Abuja. (For those applying at the service headquarters)
Or:
The Comptroller,
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
IV. Resume
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
(Where applicable)

FEES:
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.

Special Immigrant Status (eg Niger Wives)

 

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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:

  1. Application letter for Residence Permit by the Nigerian spouse accepting Immigration Responsibilities.
  2. Copy of Special Immigrant Status approval letter by the Minister of Interior
  3. Husband’s consent letter requesting for Special Immigrant Status/ letter of consent from the Niger wife stating willingness to stay with husband in Nigeria.
  4. Nigerian passport biodata page of spouse
  5. Copy of passport biodata page of the applicant
  6. Marriage certificate
  7. CERPAC form
  8. Three (3) recent passport photographs

CERPAC: categories of Expatriates

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C.E.R.P.A.C/ Green card

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
V. Resume
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.

Fee:
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.

Fee:
Gratis

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.

Fees:
INGOs: Gratis
NGOs: $1000 per annum

C.E.R.P.A.C: eligibility and general requirements

 migrate.cerpac1_img      src="http://www.migratetonigeria.com/cerpac.jpg"alt="cerpac">

The above acronym means Combined ExpatriateResidence 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.

ELIGIBILITY:

  1. Expatriate employees of companies and their dependants.
  2. Foreign students
  • Expatriate technical officials
  1. Missionaries/clerics and their dependants
  2. Research fellows
  3. Expatriate staff of non governmental organizations (NGOs) and their dependants
  • Government officials (Gos) and their dependants
  • Expatriate staff of International non governmental organizations (INGOs)
  1. Expatriates employed by companies operating in Free Trade Zones (FTZ) and their dependants

 

REQUIREMENTS:

  1. 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:

The Comptroller-General,

Nigeria Immigration Service,

Sauka village,

Abuja. (For those applying at the service headquarters)

Or:

The Comptroller,

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.

  1. The biodata page of the expatriate’s passport
  2. Four passport photographs of the expatriate
  3. Copy of STR (Subject to Regularisation) visa page
  4. Copy of arrival endorsement page iethe SOA (seen on arrival) stamp endorsement made on the passport at the point of entry.
  5. Form IMM 22 (visa application form)
  6. Expatriate’s valid national passport (ie the physical booklet, which must not have less than six months validity)
  7. 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:

  1. Expatriate technical officials of missions
    1. Letter of employment
    2. Letter of acceptance of employment
  2. Expatriate employees of companies and their dependants
    1. Letter of offer of employment
    2. Letter of acceptance of employment
  • VETTED academic credentials/qualifications
  1. Resume
  2. Copy of valid Quota approval
  3. Certificate of incorporation
  • Marriage certificate (for married women)
  • Board of directors resolution (applicable for the appointment of CEOs and managing directors)
  1. Evidence of registration with relevant professional bodies in Nigeria (where applicable)
  2. Business Permit of the company
  3. Foreign Student
  4. Admission letter
  5. Letter of acceptance of admission

III. Evidence of payment of school fees

  1. Missionaries/ clerics and their dependants
  2. Letter of offer of employment
  3. Letter of acceptance of employment
  4. Research Fellows
  5. Letter of offer of Research fellowship
  6. Letter of acceptance of Research fellowship
  7. Expatriates employed by companies operating in Free Trade Zones (FTZ) and their dependants
  8. Letter from the FTZ management
  9. Certificate of registration with the Nigerian Export Processing Zone Authority (NEPZA) or oil & gas FTZ

III. Operating license

  1. Letter of employment
  2. Letter of acceptance of employment
  3. 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 inNigeria

(Where applicable)

 

FEES:

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.

 

EMERGENCY TRAVEL CERTIFICATE (Issued to Nigerians that lost their passports abroad)

This is being issued to Nigerians who lose their passport while abroad. Emergency Travel Certificate helps them to RETURN to Nigeria. An Emergency Travel Certificate is usually valid for ONE JOURNEY to Nigeria ONLY and MUST be surrendered to Immigration authorities at the Port of Entry.
Requirements for one to qualify to be issued with Emergency Travel Certificate:
i. Proof of Nigeria Citizenship
ii. Return Ticket to Nigeria
iii. Police Report

So, if you are a Nigerian residing anywhere in the globe and you happen to lose your Passport, kindly locate any Nigerian embassy or high commission whenever you want to return to Nigeria, you will be issued with Emergency Travel Certificate.

ECOWAS RESIDENCE CARD

This is a kind of ‘residence’ permit issued to ECOWAS nationals to allow them reside legally in Nigeria. Residence Card grants it’s holder all the Rights and Privileges as contained in the ECOWAS PROTOCOL. For one to qualify to obtain Residence Card from Nigeria Immigration Service, he or she must meet-up with the following requirements:
i. Letter of Identification from Employers (for an employee) stating clearly of their relationship with the applicant and also willingness to accept Immigration Responsibility (I.R) on behalf of the applicant. The same is applicable to students from Ecowas countries studying in Nigeria.
ii. Valid travel documents eg ETC or countries national passport (preferably countries passport).
iii. Two passport photographs
iv. Evidence of business registration with the Corporate Affairs Commission in accordance with C.A.M.A of 1990 (for a business owner)
v. Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) must be satisfied that the applicant entered Nigeria through approved Port of Entry or Border (with evidence(s) of ‘proper’ endorsements/documentation by Nigeria Immigration Service).

Front View
Inside View

ECOWAS TRAVEL CERTIFICATE (E.T.C)

This is a type of travel certificate issued to Nigerians (by Nigeria Immigration Service) who intend to travel WITHIN Ecowas subregion. It is ONLY valid for travel within the Ecowas subregion. Ecowas Travel Certificate (E.T.C) serves dual purpose, namely:
i. Passport: it is a recognized travel document valid for travels WITHIN countries that are signatories to the Ecowas Treaty.
ii. Form of Identity: It can be held concurrently with the Standard Nigeria Passport (or any of our National Passports). This proves that the holder is a ‘community’ (Nigerian) citizen.
The certificate can be obtained at the service headquarters, thirty-six (36) state commands and F.C.T office of NIS. E.T.C has a validity of two (2) years and shall be renewable for a further period of two (2) years. ETC could be replaced or amended if:
i. It is mutilated in any form or requires amendment
ii. If it is confirmed lost or stolen
iii. If the pages are exhausted while the Certificate is still valid
iv. If it has lasted for the four (4) years total validity period.

 

ECOWAS TREATY
Economic Community of West Africa States (E.C.O.W.A.S) was established in May 1975 to foster the economic integration and shared development of West African subregion. It’s member States includes:
1. Togo
2. Liberia
3. Mali
4. Niger
5. Nigeria
6. Senegal
7. Sierra Leone
8. Equitorial Guinea
9. Benin Republic
10. Burkina Faso
11. Cape Verde
12. Cote d’ Ivoire
13. Gambia
14. Guinea Bissau
15. Guinea
16. Ghana.

ECOWAS PROTOCOL STIPULATES:
A. Free Entry within 90 Days: all nationals of member states are entitled to ninety (90) days of stay in another member state. Provided the person has a valid travel documents e.g country’s passport or Ecowas Travel Certificate (issued by the Ecowas national’s country). Admission into the host country MUST be through approved Port of Entry.
B. Right of Residence: All Ecowas nationals with valid travel document who enters the host country through approved Port of Entry has the right to reside there upon procurement of residence card (valid for five (5) years subject to passport validity).
C. Right of Establishment of Business: All nationals (ECOWAS) in possession of ETC or country’s passport, admitted into the host country through approved Port of Entry and haven procured Residence Card are entitled to this Right of Establishment of Business. In addition to registration of business with the Corporate Affairs Commission (in accordance with Companies and Allied Matters Act of 1990).