By Harrison Arubu
The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) says it issued 11,771 Visas on Arrival (VOAs) between July and the first week of November.
Spokesman of the NIS, Mr Sunday James, made this known in a statement on Sunday.
A breakdown of the figure shows that 1,604 VOAs were issued in July; 3,732 in August; 1,897 in September; 3,841 in October, and 697 in the first week of November.
James said the statement was in reaction to false claims by some stakeholders in the travel and tourism sector that Nigeria has no VOA programme.
According to him, the NIS started issuing VOAs to eligible foreigners entering the country since 2013.
“The Nigerian Visa on Arrival project, which is similar to several other countries, is subject to pre-approval by the Comptroller-General of Immigration and issued at the NIS headquarters in Abuja
“From March 2017, the Federal Government approved the introduction of online pre-approval for Visa on Arrival.
“This led to the introduction of a dedicated email address (email@example.com) for attending to VOA requests without visiting the NIS headquarters.
“Now, VOAs are issued within 48 hours and the manual option has been virtually eliminated,” he said.
The NIS spokesman added that details of eligibility, requirements, timelines and the application method for VOA had been the subject of several statements by the agency, besides being conspicuously displayed on its website.
According to James, applicants arriving with pre-approvals with specified destinations are granted visas at six ports of entry in the country.
The ports, he said are Lagos, Abuja, Kano, Port Harcourt, Enugu and Kaduna international airports.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Visa on Arrival is a category of short visit visa issued at the port of entry.
It is available to frequently travelled high net worth investors and intending visitors who may not be able to obtain visa at Nigerian missions/embassies in their countries of residence due to the absence of a Nigerian mission in those countries or exigencies of urgent business travels.