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Applying for a Nigerian Subject to Regularization (STR) 2022

You have a new business project or employment offer in Nigeria and your hiring organization requires you to obtain a Subject to Regularization (STR) visa before you can take on the role. 

In line with section 8(1) of the Immigration Act, “no person who is not a citizen of Nigeria, may take up employment in Nigeria other than employment with the Federal or State Government without the consent of the Comptroller General of Immigration. 

STR is therefore the prerequisite needed before one can take on a job offer in Nigeria. Let us go a little deeper to learn more. 

What is a STR Visa? 

The acronym STR simply means “Subject to Regularization”. It is a single-entry visa that is issued to expatriates who have been invited to Nigeria on business or employment offers. 

STR allows for knowledge and skill transfer from competent expatriates to Nigerians while also helping businesses to grow and expand their operations. Once the STR is issued, the expatriate will be placed on the hiring organization’s Expatriate Quota (EQ) in line with the duration of the expatriate employment contract.

What is an Expatriate Quota (EQ)?

An expatriate quota is granted to Nigerian registered organizations by the Nigeria Immigration Services (NIS) to reserve or provide job opportunities to expatriates with a specific number of job positions to be offered. This gives a hiring organization the opportunity to seek foreign expertise to handle certain job assignments.

What is the difference between a Temporary Work Permit (TWP) and STR visa?

A Temporary Work Permit (TWP) is a short-term visa for workers or contractors who are assigned to work for a limited amount of time in Nigeria. The duration is normally 90 to 180 days. This class of visa does not need an approved EQ. 

STR visa on the other hand is placed under an approved EQ and can be converted to CERPAC (Combined Expatriates Residence Permit & Aliens Card). Hence an expatriate on an STR visa can reside in Nigeria for a period of 1-2 years and can have it renewed or extended based on the hiring organization’s discretion or the contract duration.

How will I obtain a CERPAC?

A CERPAC can be obtained through the process of REGULARIZATION after your STR visa has been stamped on your passport and a “Brown Pack “has been issued to you by the Nigeria Embassy or Consulate in your country of residence. 

The “Brown Pack “will be submitted to the NIS upon arrival in Nigeria and that automatically confers on you the right to work and reside in the country. While submitting the ‘Brown Pack’ to the NIS, the following documents need to be added for the issuance of the STR visa;

  1. An application letter from the hiring organization requesting regularization of stay and accepting Immigration Responsibility (IR) on behalf of the expatriate
  2. Letter of Employment 
  3. Acceptance of Employment Letter 
  4. Three (3) Passport photographs on Form IMM22
  5. Quota Approval 
  6. Valid Passport with STR visa and photocopies of the relevant pages

How long will it take to have a STR visa issued?

The timeline for issuance of an STR visa depends on the Nigeria Embassy in your country of residence but it usually takes about 10 working days.

What is the validity period of STR Visa?

The STR validity period is 90 days and during this period, an application is sent to the Comptroller General of Immigration (CGI) to regularize your stay in order to obtain CERPAC and gain an extended stay period in Nigeria.

What are the requirements for STR visa?

The following are the required documents for obtaining STR in Nigeria; 

  1. A valid passport with minimum of 6 months validity  
  2. Letter of employment ∙ 
  3. Copies of Employment Acceptance Letter
  4. Expatriates Credentials
  5. Completed Application form IMM 22 
  6. Expatriate Resume
  7. Hiring Organization CEOs Board Resolution
  8. Hiring Organization Certificate of Incorporation
  9. Copy of the Expatriate Quota Certificate 
  10. Passport photographs
  11. Pay for the visa fee via the NIS portal
  12. Copies of Birth Certificate and marriage certificates (Optional)

What is the cost of an STR visa?

The cost of STR visa is in accordance with the NIS new visa fees and New Visa Policy (NVP2020) which can be found on their portal below;

https://portal.immigration.gov.ng/pages/visaguidelines

In conclusion, you should be aware that your dependents i.e., spouses, children, and parents can be awarded an STR visa after you the principal applicant has been issued your STR. The principal holder must provide proof that they are his/her dependents. This may include a marriage certificate, birth certificate, etc all in the English language. 

I believe this piece is quite self-explanatory enough to answer your brain-racking questions but if you feel you still need some answers, please feel free to send us a message and we are happy to respond.