UAE lifts ban on visa services for Nigerians

UAE Visa

The United Arab Emirates has lifted the visa restriction on Nigerian travellers.

The resumption took effect from March 4, 2024.

The Special Adviser on Information and Strategy to the President, Bayo Onanuga, disclosed this in a statement posted on his X on Tuesday.

In October 2022, the UAE implemented a ban on citizens from approximately 20 African nations from entering its borders.

Among the affected countries are Nigeria, Uganda, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Cameroon, Liberia, Burundi, Republic of Guinea, Gambia, Togo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Senegal, Benin, Ivory Coast, Congo, Rwanda, Burkina Faso, Guinea Bissau, Comoros, and the Dominican Republic.

The Emirati authorities issued a notice to trade partners and travel agents, instructing them to reject all applications.

Since the ban, the UAE and Nigeria have been embroiled in a diplomatic dispute concerning flight allocations and travel restrictions.

However, in a notice dated February 26, the suspension was said to be an outcome of discussions between President Bola Tinubu and his UAE counterpart, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayad Al Nahyan.

Part of the statement read, “The government of Nigeria and the government of the United Arab Emirates are delighted to announce a pivotal development in our diplomatic relations: the resumption of visa services for Nigerian citizens wishing to visit the UAE, commencing on 4th March 2024.

“This agreement is the culmination of extensive dialogues between the two nations, highlighting a shared vision for enhanced cooperation and mutual growth.

“To facilitate a smooth visa application journey for Nigerians, the UAE has introduced an innovative document verification process.”

On his part, the UAE Ambassador to Nigeria, Saleem Saeed Al-Shamsi, said, “Nigerian applicants for UAE visas are required to first obtain a Document Verification Number by visiting the dedicated online platform.

“This initiative aims to expedite the application process, ensuring efficiency and integrity. Applicants are advised to follow the new guidelines closely, applying through designated travel agents and completing the process at the UAE Embassy in Abuja or Lagos.

“This visa service resumption is more than a procedural update; it’s a testament to the evolving relationship between Nigeria and the UAE. By easing travel restrictions, both countries anticipate a surge in tourism, business exchanges, and cultural sharing, laying the groundwork for a robust partnership.

“The emphasis on a streamlined, transparent application process reflects a mutual desire for accessibility and trust, setting a positive precedent for future diplomatic endeavours.

“As the doors open for Nigerian visitors to the UAE, the broader implications for international relations, economic collaborations, and cultural exchanges are profound.

“This initiative not only facilitates personal and professional travel but also symbolizes a step towards deeper understanding and cooperation between two dynamic societies. As both nations embark on this renewed journey, the potential for shared prosperity and mutual respect is boundless, heralding a new era in Nigeria-UAE relations.”