Nigerians Face Increased Visa Denials as Ethiopia, Turkey, and UAE Tighten Entry Rules


Nigerian Passport Holders Face Increasing Visa Restrictions from Ethiopia, Turkey, and UAE

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Ethiopia, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have revoked previous visa privileges for Nigerian passport holders, including visa-on-arrival, e-visa, and other passport-related advantages.

Turkey has discontinued the e-visa option for Nigerian citizens, a process that was previously straightforward and widely utilized. In 2022, the UAE banned Nigerian nationals, along with citizens of a few other African countries, from entering Dubai. Despite efforts by the Nigerian government, this ban remains in effect. While Aviation Minister Festus Keyamo announced that the UAE would lift its ban on Nigerians in October, it remains uncertain whether this will materialize.

Ethiopia ceased issuing visas-on-arrival to Nigerians two years ago and has not reversed this policy. Airlines have advised passengers to obtain visas from the Ethiopian embassy in Abuja before traveling.

Bolanle Olukanni, daughter of former Nigerian Commissioner to Australia Ambassador Ayoola Olukanni, recently shared her frustration on social media, revealing that her parents were denied visas due to concerns they would not return. Despite her father’s extensive diplomatic service, he and his wife were refused a Schengen visa by the Austrian embassy.

Nigerians also face increasing difficulties in obtaining visas for South Africa, with significant delays and denials. Visa applications to the US have seen a decline, with a reduction in the number of nonimmigrant (F-1) visas issued last year.

Oritseweyinmi Oritsejafor, a client advisor at Henley & Partners, highlighted the limited mobility of Nigerian passport holders. The Nigerian passport grants visa-free access to only 45 destinations, restricting holders to just 1.5 percent of global GDP. Oritsejafor emphasized the need for enhanced passport power to allow Nigerians to better tap into global economic opportunities.

The Henley Opportunity Index, which evaluates investment migration countries on various parameters, indicates that Nigeria scores low in opportunity compared to other nations. Nigeria was ranked among the 20 worst passports to hold in 2023, with visa-free access to only 46 countries. The Henley Passport Index, which bases its rankings on data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and Henley & Partners’ research, confirmed this status.

Industry experts argue that developed countries are strict about documentation, and many Nigerians face visa denials due to inadequate or incorrect documentation. Former NANTA president Susan Akporaiye noted that while Nigerian passports are weak, some Nigerians continue to thrive abroad. She called for more engagement from foreign affairs to reduce visa denials and emphasized the importance of following proper procedures for relocation.

Babatunde Akinsola
Babatunde Akinsola
Babatunde Akinsola is aNaija247news' Southwest editor. He's based in Lagos and writes on the Yoruba Nation political issues, news and investigative reports

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