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UAE Lifts Visa Ban On Nigerians After Diplomatic Row

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Two years after the United Arab Emirates (UAE) imposed a visa ban on Nigerians and automatically rejected pending visa applications, the Nigerian government and of the UAE have announced the resumption of visa services for Nigerian citizens wishing to visit the UAE.

A joint announcement by the governments of Nigeria and the UAE entitled, “Resumption of Visa Services for Nigerians Travelling to the UAE’, dated March 4, 2024, stated that the commencement of visa issuance which commenced on March 4, 2024, is a milestone, reflecting the successful outcome of in-depth talks between the two nations and underscoring, “Our shared commitment to strengthening ties, enhancing cultural exchanges and fostering opportunities for economic and social collaborations.”

Both nations stated that the achievement follows the discussions between President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates, marking a significant step forward in their bilateral cooperation.

To ensure a seamless and efficient visa application experience, the UAE has introduced an enhanced document verification process.

Starting from March 4, 2024, all Nigerian applicants for UAE visas are required to first obtain a document verification number. This essential step according to the UAE is to be completed by visiting the dedicated online Document Verification Hub platform https/

The UAE Ambassador to Nigeria, Saleem Saeed Al-Shamsi highlighted the importance of this updated procedure.

He said, “We are committed to facilitating straightforward and expedited visa applications for Nigerians. The introduction of the Document Verification Number is designed to enhance the integrity of our application process and ensure prompt processing for all applicants.”

After obtaining the Document Verification Number, applicants can proceed with their visa applications through designated travel agents, after which the process will be completed at the Embassy of the UAE in Abuja or Lagos.

The announcement, the UAE said signifies, “our ongoing efforts to enhance the strong ties between the UAE and Nigeria, contributing to the prosperity and well-being of our people.”

Recall that the UAE had in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and behavior of some nationals of other countries in 2022 banned nationals of some 20 African countries including Nigeria from entering its capital city, Dubai.

This was followed by a spat between Nigeria and UAE over the procedure for handling travellers entering Dubai during the pandemic which Nigeria frowned at.

The decision among others forced Emirates to exit Nigeria including claims of millions of dollars belonging to the country trapped in Nigeria.

Since assumption of office, President Tinubu has worked tirelessly and ordered the immediate resolution of a diplomatic spat with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) over the suspension of Nigerian visas in retaliation for Lagos’s retention of funds owed to the Emirates.

Tinubu told the ambassador that both nations should agree on core aviation and immigration issues: “We are a family with the UAE. We only live in separate rooms, but we are in the same house.

“We should look at the issues as a family problem and resolve it amicably. As you know, in every family, there are peculiarities. You can have an erring son or daughter, but we must work together. We need to agree on core aviation and immigration issues.”

Emirates first suspended flights on September 1, 2022, but reinstated them ten days later after the Central Bank of Nigeria released USD265 million to international airlines to settle outstanding ticket sales.

However, by November 2022, the UAE flag carrier suspended flights again citing unsuccessful multiple negotiation attempts with the Nigerian authorities. The airline sought the repatriation of at least 80% of its remaining frozen funds and a guaranteed mechanism to avoid future remittance delays.

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