The Federal Government (FG) through the National Immigration Service (NIS) on Friday has declared foreigners who overstay the approved limit on their visas would pay a $4000 fine.
The extent of the fine is also going to be dependent on the number of days overstayed by any particular foreigner with the range from $200 to $4000.
Sources inside the NIS confirmed this policy was implemented by the Ministry of Interior in order to serve as an alternate means of revenue generation for the FG.
The implementation of the policy has been contracted to Concec Limited who is charged with the revenue generation and its implementation.
A source in the NIS who spoke under anonymity said, “This policy has been implemented and it is not a secret. It is even on the notice for everyone to see.
“But Nigerian Immigration Service is not directly in charge; a company known as Concec Services Limited is in charge, though it is under Immigration.
“So this is punitive measure but if you wish to regularise your stay you pay for it. It is stated in clear terms.”
However, this new development is not binding on visitors from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) zone.
In a document recently signed by the Ministry of Interior, a foreigner would be adjudged to have overstayed in the country if he exceeded the number of days approved for him in the visa he obtained from Nigeria.
The document also explained a non-ECOWAS visitor who intended to stay in Nigeria for a period exceeding 56 days, but not beyond 90 days aggregate would be sanctioned with a fine of $200 or the naira equivalent.
A non-ECOWAS visitor who stays over 90 days but not exceeding 180 days aggregate would be fined a sum of $1000 or its naira equivalent.
Besides, any non-ECOWAS visitor who intended to stay in Nigeria or who stayed for a period exceeding 180 days, but not beyond 365 days aggregate in the country would pay to the government the sum of $2000 or its equivalent.
Also, any non-ECOWAS visitor who overstayed in the country without authorisation or regularisation would pay penalty equivalent of $4000.
The source continued saying, “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. This, the government will not agree with and will do everything humanly possible to stop such abuse.
“However, in order to prevent corruption or leakages in the system, the government gave out the concession to a firm, Concec Services Limited, which liaises with officials of Immigration 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.”