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UAE Lifts Travel Visa Restriction On Nigerians After Diplomatic Row

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UAE Embassy in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital city, and the Nigerian government in a statement said their agreement shows a “shared commitment to strengthening ties, enhancing cultural exchanges, and fostering opportunities for economic and social collaboration.”

Following meetings between Nigeria’s President Bola Tinubu, and UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Embassy said a new verification process has been introduced for Nigerian visa applications.

“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 https://documentverficationhub.com,” 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.

Nigeria and UAE authorities were enmeshed in a diplomatic row that culminated in UAE’s Emirates Airline halt its flight operations to the West African country due to trapped funds since 2022. Emirates Airlines puts the figure at $85 million.

Nigeria’s leader at the time Muhammadu Buhari had a phone call with UAE’s President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, where he appealed for lifting the travel ban on Nigerians.

Buhari told Nahyan that he had directed the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to increase foreign exchange allocation to the airline while all concerned government officials were working on the trapped funds.

The Nigerian government thereafter said it released $265 million to airlines operating in the country to settle outstanding ticket sales. The CBN also promised to release another $120 million to the international carriers to offset part of the trapped funds by the end of October 2022.

One month later, Emirates Airlines announced the suspension of inbound and outbound Nigerian flight operations “to mitigate against further losses moving forward”. The airline has since not resumed operations in Nigeria.

However, the UAE Embassy said there are still “ongoing efforts” for stronger ties with Nigeria. It is unknown if the potential resumption of the airline was part of the discussions.

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