UAE Lifts Visa Bans On Nigerians

The visa restrictions for Nigerian travelers to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have been lifted following a two-year diplomatic dispute. The UAE Embassy in Abuja, alongside the Nigerian government, expressed a mutual commitment to enhancing cultural exchanges and fostering economic and social collaboration through a joint statement. This agreement came after meetings between Nigeria’s President Bola Tinubu and UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, leading to the introduction of a new verification process for Nigerian visa applications.

The diplomatic row between Nigeria and the UAE, which had led to Emirates Airline suspending its flight operations to Nigeria due to trapped funds amounting to $85 million since 2022, seemed to have been resolved through dialogue. Former Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari had appealed for the lifting of the travel ban on Nigerians during a phone call with UAE’s President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Buhari assured Nahyan of increased foreign exchange allocation to the airline and efforts to address the trapped funds.

In response to Buhari’s directives, the Nigerian government released $265 million to airlines operating in the country to settle outstanding ticket sales. Additionally, the Central Bank of Nigeria promised to release another $120 million to international carriers by the end of October 2022 to partially offset the trapped funds. Despite these efforts, Emirates Airlines announced the suspension of inbound and outbound flights to Nigeria, citing the need to mitigate further losses.

Despite the challenges, the UAE Embassy emphasized ongoing efforts to strengthen ties with Nigeria, hinting at potential resolutions to outstanding issues. However, whether the potential resumption of Emirates Airlines operations in Nigeria was discussed remains unclear. The diplomatic negotiations between the two nations signify a shared commitment to resolving disputes and promoting mutual cooperation in various spheres, including trade, culture, and tourism.

In conclusion, the lifting of visa restrictions marks a significant step towards normalizing diplomatic relations between Nigeria and the UAE. The joint efforts to address the underlying issues demonstrate a willingness to overcome challenges and foster a conducive environment for bilateral cooperation. Moving forward, both countries are poised to explore opportunities for enhanced collaboration and deeper engagement across diverse sectors, benefiting their respective citizens and economies.

“All Nigerian applicants for UAE visas are required to first obtain a Document Verification Number. This essential step is to be completed by visiting the dedicated online Document Verification Hub platform (official link,” the UAE Embassy said.

UAE Ambassador to Nigeria, Saleem Saeed Al-Shamsi, said the introduction of the Document Verification Number will enhance the integrity of the application process and ensure prompt processing for applicants.

“We encourage all prospective travellers to adhere to the guidelines and initiate the applications promptly, ensuring and smooth transition to the new system,” Al-Shamsi said.