How to obtain a residence permit as a foreigner working in Nigeria - CERPAC

CERPAC is the acronym for Combined Expatriate Residence Permit and Aliens Card. It permits a foreigner to live and work legally in Nigeria and subject to renewal

CERPAC is the acronym for Combined Expatriate Residence Permit and Aliens Card. It permits a foreigner to live and work legally in Nigeria and subject to renewal. An expatriate is required as a matter of compliance to obtain this otherwise his entry and stay in Nigeria might be regarded as illegal and subject to repatriation from Nigeria. The Nigeria Immigration Service in conjunction with the Ministry of Interior is the Agency responsible for issuing CERPAC to foreigners.


However, the following group of people are exempted and are granted gratis:

  1. Diplomat;
  2. Government Officials (GOs);
  3. Niger Wives; and
  4. Non- Governmental Organizations (NGOs)

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There are two categories of CERPAC, they are: 


This is a document that allows foreigners to reside in Nigeria and carry out an approved activity as specified in the permit, or to accompany a resident or citizen of Nigeria as a dependent. Possession of a valid CERPAC GREEN CARD does not exempt the holder from having a valid entry or re-entry permit/visa. 


Unlike the CERPAC Green Card, the Brown Card is essentially a movement chart. Every foreigner in Nigeria or visiting with the intention to remain in Nigeria for more than 56 days are required by law to register.


Application for a CERPAC Card can only be applied for and granted to a Foreigner in possession of a Subject to Regularization Visa obtained from the Nigerian Embassy or Consulate Abroad. It should be noted that STR Visa would also only be issued upon evidence of a grant of Expatriate Quota. 


Application for the CERPAC is usually done at the National Immigration Service, where the form is obtained and application is processed. The following are the general requirements for the issuance of CERPAC, although specific documents may be requested, depending on the categories of the Applicant:

  1. Application letter from the employer requesting Regularization of stay and accepting Immigration Responsibility (IR) on behalf of the expatriate;
  2. Letter of Appointment/Employment;
  3. Acceptance of the offer of Appointment/Employment;
  4. Form IMM C02 and C07 with three (3) Passport –size photograph;
  5. Expatriate quota approval;
  6. International passport with STR visa endorsement and photocopies of relevant pages;
  7. A duly completed CERPAC statutory form;
  8. Business Permit;
  9. Company’s board of directors’ resolution confirming appointment as director (where applicable); and
  10. Payment of prescribed fees

Find out all you need to know about obtaining a business permit in Nigeria


The CERPAC forms to be filled by applicants during the process of Application are categorized into three, they are:

  • Concessionary Forms (CR): Missionaries, Students, non ECOWAS African Nationals and Cameroonians
  • AO Forms: other Nationals and persons with special Immigrant status.
  • AR Forms: Exempted Persons (Diplomats, Government officials, NGO’s and Niger-wives) AR forms are issued at the Immigration Service quarters and State Commands all over the Federation.

Upon submission of the application form and all accompanying documents, the application will be processed and if successful an acknowledgement receipt/temporary card will be issued pending the time when the Permanent CERPAC card will be ready for issuance.


Upon receipt of the CERPAC, an application may apply for the renewal after the expiration of the initial two year period granted. Also, in the case of loss, an applicant may apply for replacement of his CERPAC.

The following are the requirements for the renewal or replacement:

  1. Application letter from the Employer requesting for renewal/replacement of Residence Card and accepting I.R.
  2. Expatriate Quota approval
  3. The Expiring Resident Card (Original)
  4. Valid Passport and photocopies of relevant pages.


Prior to December, 2018, the  processing fee was $1000 with its equivalent at N360,000 (Exchange Rate - Date of Publication). However, in December 2018, the Honorable Minister of Interior reviewed the CERPAC fees upwards to $2,000 with its equivalent at N720, 000 with N5, 000 for the Application Form. The Minister also added that there would not be a further review of the fees until three years after the implementation of the new fee. The review will not affect missionaries/student fees. It should be noted that the fees can be slightly more due to Bank Charges and other Fees.

Do you have immigration questions? E-mail: or Phone: 09018081296

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