Express visas for Nigeria are currently not available due to an internal audit being conducted at the Nigerian consulate, Flight Centre Business Travel has warned. Image: Channels TV
Flight Centre Business Travel, the corporate division of Flight Centre Travel Group, SA’s largest travel company, says that travellers needing to travel to Nigeria need to note that it currently takes up to two weeks to get a visa (if all documentation is provided) – which means last minute or emergency trips are not possible.
Express visas for Nigeria are normally issued within two to five working days while a standard visa typically takes seven to 10 working days.
“Our visa supplier has been informed by Nigeria’s visa processing centre that the Nigerian Consulate is doing an internal audit and as such express visas are not available. That means that last-minute or emergency travel to Nigeria is not possible at the moment and companies needing to do business in Nigeria or planning trips to Nigeria need to take notice and take the necessary measures,” says Michelle Jolley, Corporate Brands Marketing Leader for Flight Centre Business Travel.
Jolley says it is unclear when the Consulate will resume processing express visas.
“Our supplier has been informed that normal service should be reinstated this week, but an exact date has not been identified. We will keep our customers advised,” she says.
Jolley says there was no indication on whether a new online system which is being launched in Nigeria to expedite the processing of visas is available. According to reports, visitors to Nigeria can apply online from 48 hours before arriving in the country and collect their visa on arrival.
“The Nigerian Immigration System (NIS) has declined to comment on the new 48-hour online visa application system and advised they won’t be issuing any express visas yet. We strongly advise South African travellers to proceed as normal for the time being, which is to allow a lot of time to apply for your visa,” she says.
Meanwhile, Abuja’s Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport (ABV) in Nigeria’s capital city, remains closed until 18 April 2017 due to upgrades to the existing runway as well as the building of a new second runway. Repairs have been extended for an additional 18 weeks, but this shouldn’t affect daytime flights as these repairs will be done at night.
South African Airways, British Airways, Lufthansa and Air France have suspended all flights to and from ABV until then.
Passengers have been advised to contact their airlines and Flight Centre Business Travel to discuss alternate arrangements.