The Federal Government has introduced a sanction to discourage foreigners from overstaying in the country without visa approval.
A source within the Ministry of Interior stated that depending on the number of days they overstayed, foreigners would have to pay between $200 and $4,000.
The source said a foreigner would have exceeded his stay by 56 days before he could be said to have overstayed.
According to a document from the ministry, citizens of the Economy Community of West African States are however exempted from the sanction as they can enter and reside in the country without visas.
It added that a non-ECOWAS visitor who wished to stay for more than 56 days, but not beyond 90 days would be made to pay a fine of $200 or the naira equivalent while those who stayed beyond 90 days, but less than 180 days would pay $1000 or its naira equivalent.
Also, non-ECOWAS visitors who intend to stay in Nigeria or who overstays for a period exceeding 180 days, but not beyond 365 days would pay $2000 or its equivalent and those who stay in the country without authorisation would pay a penalty of $4000.
According to the ministry source, the Federal Government had to introduce the system, to check foreigners who abuse visas given to them.
The source added, “It was discovered that some of them intentionally overstay in Nigeria without regularising their papers. The government will not agree with this and will do everything possible to stop such abuse.
“However, in order to prevent corruption or leakage in the system, the government gave out the concession to a firm that will work with officials of the Nigeria Immigration Service at various points for the remittance of the sanction fee.
“What the concessionaire does is that it issues them a sanction ticket, which the visitor pays to a particular bank. So far, the regime is free of any corrupt practices and our men at various stations are cooperating with the officials.”
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