STR simply stands for Subject To Regularization and is offered to expatriates with the required qualifications outlined by the EQ of an employing company. Expatriates employed by individuals, corporate firms or the government qualify for this type of visa. The visa name may sound a little bit daunting, but that should not worry you. It is only a name given to the permit and gives you the permission to seek employment as an expat in Nigeria and the Delta region.
Why the Name “Subject to Regularization.”
It is possible that some requisite skills are not available locally and so the company in question gets the need to seek foreign expertise to bridge the gap. Nigeria is a huge economy but with an infrastructure deficit. The country, therefore, depends highly on international skills and enterprise.
The Nigerian government gave this permit the name to help control the number of expatriates who take up employment in the country. Foreigners who get job offers from the private sector, the government, non-profit organizations or individuals get this type of visa.
The country has, however, laid some rules and regulations to minimize chances of abuse of this opportunity. The STR visa, in this case, has the regulations that the holder must adhere. The expatriate takes employment as indicated by the Employment Quota of the employer. The visa is issued in line with the commencement date of employment stated in the employment letter.
STR Visa Issuance
Nigerian Embassy, Mission or High Commission on the expatriate’s home country is responsible for issuing the STR visa. The company seeking to employ the expat applies for its interest to hire the individual. The Nigeria Mission, in this case, issues the permit without necessarily consulting the Immigration Controler General.
In the application letter, the hiring company must include interest to take full responsibility of the expatriate staff. Once the STR visa is approved, the expat is provided with a “Brown Pack” which contains all the certified and vetted documents. The expat is required to submit these to the Nigeria Immigration Service upon arrival to the country.
SRT Visa Issuance Requirements
The STR Visa applicant must be in a position to prove to the issuing officer that there is a slot in the position the company’s EQ. He/she must also confirm that they indeed possess the required skills needed for the job. Also, one must also produce the following documents to the approval officer;
- Employment letter
- Valid passport with a minimum of six months validity
- Copies showing acceptance for the job
- Applicants credentials
- IMM 22 form completed in time
- A resume/ C.V
- CEOs must be in possession of Board Resolution
- A copy of Expatriate Quota Certificate
- Recent passport photos
- Birth certificate and marriage certificate copies where applicable
- Online Visa fee payment, payable at http://www.immigration.gov.ng
STR Visa Issuance Process
The relevant Nigerian Embassy stamps the Entry Visa on the applicant’s application visa and following issues the “Brown Pack.” These are forwarded to The Nigeria Immigration Service upon arrival to the country. STR visa application time depends on the High Commission or the Nigeria Mission. However, in most cases, it usually takes ten days.
After approval, the STR visa is valid for 90 days within which the permit holder takes up the position in the company. The visa validity stay is non-extendable.
Difference between an STR and Business Visa and Temporary Work Permit
A business visa is only applicable for business purposes, and the employer cannot use it for employment. It is valid for six months and is available either in single or multiple units.
Temporary visa, on the other hand, is available to skilled experts, contractors or workers who are hired by corporations to offer their services for a short period. Temporary visa indicates the return dates. To apply for this visa; one must provide a return ticket.
An STR visa is a single entry and has a 90 days validity. Once the STR visa holder lands in Nigeria, he/she is asked for the permit together with the “Brown Pack” which contains the other SRT documents. The SRT visa expires on the applicant’s first entry to Nigeria.
An STR visa is officially converted into a Combined Expatriate Residence Permit and Aliens Card (CERPAC) through the Regularization process. The card grants the expatriate the right to reside and work in Nigeria.
The regularization process involves submission of the “Brown Pack” to the NIS which finalizes the CERPAC issuance to the expatriate. For the regularization process to complete, one needs to submit the following documents to the Immigration Comptroller General.
- An application letter from the employer requesting Regularization of stay and accepting Immigration Responsibilities for the expatriate.
- Employment and acceptance letter
- IMM22 Form accompanied with three passport sized photos
- Credential copies
- Quota approval
- STR visa with copies of required pages and a valid passport
The Nigeria Commission, Embassy or the High Commission must thoroughly vet the documents
Rights Conferred by the STR Visa
Once the STR visa is regularized into CERPAC, the holder is entitled to work and stay in Nigeria for an initial period of 1-2 years. This time is subject to expansion once the initial period expires.
Unlike the Temporary Work Permit which doesn’t require to be supported by EQ and only offers the applicant a short time to work in the country, the STR Visa permits the applicant permission to work in Nigeria on long term basis.
Also, the STR can be granted to dependants of the applicant. This happens on condition that evidence is provided to prove the dependents are either spouse, children or parents to the STR visa holder.
An STR Visa can be divided into different categories depending on the requirements of the applicant.
- Private organizations STR
- Government, NGO, Red Cross and Doctors without Borders STR Visas
- STR for Nigerians foreign wives
- For students
- For dependants.
While applying for an STR visa, most official documents are provided by the employer. You are, however, responsible for carrying out the online visa application and payment and provision of other materials. In case you feel like it is going to be tricky to provide the documents, you can seek the help of a travel agent.