Geoffrey Onyeama, Minister of Foreign Affairs

The Federal Government is reportedly planning to impose new fines on foreigners who overstay their work or visitor visas as part of new measures geared at curbing the breach of the country’s immigration laws by foreigners.

The fines ranges from $200 to $4,000 and is dependent on the number of days a foreigner is deemed to have overstayed his visa in Nigeria.

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However, the sanction would not apply to citizens of Economy Community of West African States (ECOWAS) as the Nigerian government under the ECOWAS free trade treaty permits free movements of citizens of member states with valid passports – without entry visas into the country.

The Daily Sun quoted Immigration sources as saying that a new document signed by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Interior, indicated that a non-ECOWAS visitor who intended to stay in Nigeria for 56 days, but ended up staying beyond 90 days would be sanctioned with a fine of $200 or the naira equivalent.

“For a non-ECOWAS visitor who applied to stay in Nigeria for 90 days, but ended up exceeding his visa by 180 days, the person would be sanctioned with a fine in the sum of $1, 000 or its naira equivalent,” the source added.

The source said: “The Federal Government had to introduce this new regime in order to checkmate foreigners who abuse visas granted them by the government.

“It was discovered that some of them intentionally overstay in Nigeria without regularising their papers. The government will do everything humanly possible to stop such abuse.”

“Besides, any non-ECOWAS visitor who intended to stay in Nigeria for a period exceeding 180 days, but not beyond 365 days aggregate would pay to the government the sum of $2, 000 or its equivalent.

“Also, any non-ECOWAS visitor who overstayed in the country without authorisation or regularisation would, in addition pay a penalty equivalent of $4, 000,” the source added.