The Nigerian Tourist Visa for Americans/USA Passports

by | Oct 18, 2023 | Fail, Getting that VISA, How Did You Do That? | 3 comments


It has never been a secret that a visa to visit Nigeria as a tourist has been one of the most difficult if not impossible to obtain: Traditionally travel companies would instead exploit a loophole and issue a business visas on arrival for exorbitant amounts, which was similar to how tourists had visited Saudi Arabia before their new tourist visa on arrival program.

As of recently, and in a sign of things improving for tourism, Nigeria recently has begun a tourist visa program that refreshingly can be performed online ever since earlier this February the USA had in turn opened up their own visa program for Nigerians. However, given such a new program, we were bound to encounter some kinks.

For our group of 4 going so far, we were presented with the following options:

  • The OG option: Business visa on arrival for $235-$260 where a Nigerian guide and tour company owner can apply for on our behalf, and then generate a visa authorization letter about 10-14 days before arrival so that a tourist can pick up their visa to enter Nigeria at the airport.

Perks: you can apply remotely from anywhere in the USA without having to show up in person at a consulate, embassy, or visa processing office for biometric scanning. Good for people who live outside of cities with a Nigerian consulate or embassy.

Downside: you might have to wait a little longer at the airport, and it’s a little more nerve-racking when you don’t yet have a visa before you get there. Make sure you pay nothing at the airport and only the guide once you meet him at the airport

  • The tourist visa option: Obtain a tourist visa beforehand at a local embassy for $160 (which we’d pay online) and then visit a visa processing facility either in Houston or NYC for biometric scanning. You might have to pay a visa processing facility additional $95 to have them mail the Visa to you.

Perks: you get your visa comfortably before the trip, saving time and drama at the airport when you arrive

Downside: you’d have to travel to Atlanta, Houston or NYC if you live outside those cities, but you’d be able to board your flight with the security of knowing that you already have a visa.

  • The concierge option: Find a third-party concierge visa service such as where they can process your visa for around $500+ without having to visit anyone in person. You simply apply online, mail a third party service your passport, and they send it back to you with a visa by mail.

Perks: you get your visa comfortably before the trip, saving time and drama at the airport when you arrive

Downside: trust issues with a third-party handling your passport and it’s also very very expensive


1. I went with the newer tourist visa options where I first applied on Nigeria’s visa website at

  • Passport Type: Standard Passport
  • Visa Type: It appears that Multiple Entry 1 or 2 years costs the same as a single entry 6 months, so might as well do the maximum (they gave me 5 year multiple just now)
  • Processing country: United States
  • Visa Class: F5A – Tourism Visa
  • Mission: Your closest mission of choice
  • Intended date of arrival: Dec. 28, 2023 (or earlier)
  • Intended date of return: Dec. 30, 2023
  • Type of Reference: Self
  • Full name of Inviting Person: (guide name)
    Organization Name / Contact Name: (tour company)
    Phone Number: +234 (tour company phone number)
    Address: (tour company address)
  • Applicant’s cost of traveling and living covered by: Self

2. Once finishing the application,  the site will prompt you to a screen to pay the $160.

3. After the payment, you’ll see a successful payment screen with your application number and reference number. You’ll use those 2 numbers to book an appointment as the next step (should be an orange button on the “payment successful” screen). You can either click on that to take you to the OIS appointment scheduler (where there were no appointments for up to 3 months), or book an appointment at (where I was able to get an appointment the next day) if you live in Houston or NYC.

  • No matter what VFS offers online, pick an appointment no later than 1:00PM as they usually close up everything by 1:30PM at all their offices (more on that below)

4. Print out your application PDF.

5. Go to and enter your application type Reference No. and ID and click SEARCH RECORD

6. Print both the Visa Payment Slip and Visa Acknowledgement Slip

7. Print 2 copies of the front page of your passport

8. Print out your tour guide’s letter of invitation and passport copy

9. Print the copy of your hotel reservation

10. Print out your flight itineraries into Nigeria and if applicable, out of Nigeria (if driving from Nigeria into Benin, provide a copy of the E-visa for Benin)

11. Bring the following to your visa appointment at the consulate, embassy, OIS or VFS Global:

  •  Appointment confirmation with barcode that they generate for you after you make an appointment online.
  • Physical copy of your passport
  • 2 copies of the front-page of your passport
  • 2 passport sized photographs
  • Application PDF, signed and dated
  • Visa payment Slip
  • Visa acknowledgment Slip
  • Flight itinerary arriving into Lagos, Nigeria
  • Flight itinerary departing Nigeria or West Africa in general
  • Copy of Benin E-Visa IF you’re driving out of Nigeria into Benin
  • Bank statement (showing you have adequate funds of at least $1000)
  • Copy of the host’s Letter of Invitations
  • Copy of the host’s Nigerian passport
  • Copy of Hotel reservation
  • Copy of the itinerary

12. Conduct fingerprinting scans and take a photo at the biometrics office during the appointment

13. Pay whatever you need to pay to have them mail your passport back to you

14. Wait for your passport and new visa!


At my VFS Global appointment in NYC, however, it was anywhere but straightforward: It took a fight. Even though on VFS Global’s website offered a 1:30pm appointment time and I even had come in early for it at 1pm on the 4th floor, nobody showed up to process me at the office; all we saw (another applicant also had a 1:30pm appointment with me) was an empty chair with a jacket on the chair. By 1:37pm I then went back downstairs to ask the lobby security guard, where he then radio’ed the VFS manager who then replied: “It’s 1:37pm. He’s late. That’s why. Tell him to come back tomorrow.” The security guard then radio’ed back saying “uhh he was here since 1pm. I took him in.” Dead silence. I also responded I also have a photo I took of the empty chair with jacket at 1:20 pm proving I had been there earlier than the scheduled appointment time. Dead silence.

After a minute, the manager then radio’ed back telling me to come back another time (2 days from now) as all staff are expected to finish up leave by 1:30pm at VFS Global anyway and they weren’t sure why they even allowed for a 1:30pm appointment on their website. She also kept saying “you should’ve booked a morning appointment” (as if we were supposed to know if their own website allowed for a 1:30pm appointment!)

I replied that somebody living and breathing was still upstairs somewhere due to a jacket still on the chair, and I would prefer to stay as long as that staff member is still here. The manager then sent another guard downstairs to tell me to come another day and I wouldn’t be let back up, but I said I left my backpack upstairs and needed to go get it. When he offered to get it for me, I said that there might be some patient’s blood splatter on it from a recent shift so I wouldn’t touch it if I were him. So the guard then escorted me upstairs and once I got my backpack I pointed at the jacket and said “someone working was and is still here.” The guard then kept saying that it wouldn’t change that he felt nobody was in the office and said “that jacket could just be belonged to you.”

This caused such a ruckus someone then came out from the office and said she had no idea how we were still here since 1pm since she also was here since 1pm, and that she’d get someone to process us as soon as possible. The “head security guard” slinked away without a word in embarrassment as we glared at him for lying.

Soon another officer came by to process us claiming she saw us arriving for a 2:00pm appointment (which contradicted everything that the guard and manager had said earlier), where I then obtained my biometric scans (4 sets of fingerprints and a photo), and paid an additional $95 by credit card to have them mail it to me by Fedex within 2 weeks (it was delivered to my address by Fedex with signature exactly 2 weeks since drop-off). On the bright side they gave me a 5 years multiple entry for my USA passport!

You can tell my mood after the kerfuffle above when they took my photo at the biometric scan part:



And this from a comment on Oct 20, 2023 by @netllama:

I went through this fiasco literally a month ago. My appointment was for 9:30AM, and sorta went much more smoothly. I say sorta, because it was still full of drama and nonsense. They honored my appointment, and it seemed to go very smoothly. Yet, 2 hours later, I got a call because the idiot at VFS forgot to charge me their processing fee, and ordered me to come back or they would not actually submit my application to the consulate. I don’t even live anywhere near NYC (and was there for business that day) so it was almost (bad?) luck that I was still in town to go back later that day. 


I returned to find out from the front desk guards that the woman doing the Nigerian visa processing was on their break, and was told I had to wait an hour. I decided that was nonsense, and went to the elevator anyway. As I entered, who did I run into, but the lady who was supposedly on her break. Back upstairs we went, she charged me the stupid processing fee, and I assumed all was fine.


Until the next day, when this idiot called me yet again, claiming that my application was incomplete and I needed to return. But no, she had the wrong number, and meant to call someone else. Thankfully she figured that much out while on the phone with me, so that I didn’t waste yet another trip to that hell

I got my passport back (FedEx) 2 weeks later, with the 5 year, multiple entry visa. What a PITA. I go to Nigeria next month.


Best of luck.


BTW, its also (theoretically) possible to do this in Los Angeles.



- At time of posting in New York City, it was 17 °C - Humidity: 709% | Wind Speed: 6km/hr | Cloud Cover: cloudy


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