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Following a two-year diplomatic standoff, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has eliminated the visa requirement for Nigerian visitors.

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.

Saleem Saeed Al-Shamsi, UAE Ambassador to Nigeria, stated that the introduction of the Document Verification Number will improve the integrity of the application process and ensure applicants’ timely processing.

“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.

Nigerian and UAE authorities were embroiled in a diplomatic dispute that resulted in Emirates Airline ceasing its operations to the West African country in 2022 due to trapped funds. Emirates Airlines estimates the figure at $85 million.

Muhammadu Buhari, Nigeria’s leader at the time, spoke with UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and asked for the travel ban on Nigerians to be lifted.

Buhari informed Nahyan that he had asked the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to raise the airline’s foreign exchange allotment, while all concerned government officials worked on the stuck cash.

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.