ECOWAS residence permits are issued by member countries of the Economic Community of West African States. In addition, as part of the ECOWAS treaty (issued in May 1975), citizens of other ECOWAS member countries are allowed free movement within ECOWAS countries for some time.

Here you can see the member states of the ECOWAS Treaty whose citizens of that can obtain this permit:

  • Nigeria
  • Niger
  • Burkina Faso
  • Côte d’Ivoire
  • Benin
  • The Gambia
  • Ghana
  • Cape Verde
  • Guinea-Bissau
  • Guinea
  • Senegal
  • Siera-leone
  • Togo
  • Mali
  • Equatorial Guinea and Liberia

Additionally, nationals of the above African states can enter Nigeria and stay in the country for a maximum of 90 days. Applicants can obtain a permit to enter these countries if they apply for the specific category and pay the appropriate fee. In order to obtain the ECOWAS residence card for traveling to Nigeria, The ECOWAS nations have to register with the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS).

What are the ECOWAS Passport Types?

There are three types of ECOWAS passports for ECOWAS nationals. Each passport type has the following information on its identification page:

  • Type of passport
  • Code of Issuing State
  • Passport No.
  • Surname
  • Given name(s)
  • Nationality
  • Date of birth
  • Gender
  • Place of birth
  • Date of issue
  • Date of expiry
  • Authority

These ECOWAS passports are issued for various purposes.

Ordinary passport

This type of ECOWAS passport is suitable for citizens who intend to occasional travel. For example, applicants can use this passport for vacations and business trips. An ordinary passport is valid for five years and has 32 pages.

Official or Service passport

This type of ECOWAS passport is suitable for government officials attached to government institutions. In addition, government officials can use An Official or service passport to travel on official business.

Diplomatic passport

ECOWAS diplomatic passports are issued to diplomats and consuls for work-related travel, as well as to their dependents if they accompany them.

What are the goals and objectives of ECOWAS?

In the beginning, the main objective of ECOWAS was to unite the West African economies into one space and become a pillar for the African Economic Community. It was also aimed at creating an integrated trade space. Now, ECOWAS has newly defined objectives:

Promotion of Cooperation and Development

The countries in the ECOWAS treaty cooperate to promote economic abilities, social contacts, religious groups, etc. Business strategies and technologies are also shared to boost economies among these African countries.

Harmonization of Agricultural, Economic, Monetary and Industrial Policies

One of the objectives of ECOWAS is to eliminate misunderstandings and create a united policy to satisfy the unique needs of ECOWAS members. Additionally, ECOWAS members strive to provide general requirements and standards for economic, monetary, and agricultural policies.

Abolition of Trade Restrictions and Customs Duties

The ECOWAS treaty is committed to destroying boundaries to protect manufacturers and have better opportunities to sell these products. This destruction of boundaries brings assistance in the development of the countries and protection for goods in the ECOWAS zone.

Establishment of Common Fund

A common fund among ECOWAS countries can:

  • bring security options for countries
  • facilitate cooperation
  • serve as a security measure or compensation in need

Implementation of Infrastructural Schemes

Joining infrastructure schemes can bring massive development to ECOWAS countries. This is because these countries join their communication, transport, energy, and other sources to develop the standards of all country members.

What are the Requirements for ECOWAS?

There is more than one type of applicant for this permit. Both individuals and employers (corporations) can apply for ECOWAS permits.

What are the ECOWAS Requirements for Individual applicants?

Here is the list of required documents for acquiring ECOWAS permits:

  • An ECOWAS Residence Card application letter. In this letter, an individual, employer, or embassy must become responsible for the immigration of the applicant.
  • Either a valid ECOWAS Travel Certificate or a Passport (valid for at least 6 months)
  • A copy of the applicant’s bio-data
  • A copy of the applicant’s Information page of ECOWAS travel certification or International Passport
  • Passport photos (two recent ones)
  • Proof of a made e-Payment
  • A completed and signed Application Form
  • Letter of Employment
  • Letter of Acceptance in response to the letter of employment
  • Applicant’s Credentials
  • Applicant’s CV or resume’ where applicable.
  • Proof of registration or working experience with any professional body
  • A copy of the ECOWAS Registration Certificate issued by the LGA of the applicant’s domicile.

What are the ECOWAS Requirements for employers?

Here is the list of required documents for acquiring ECOWAS permits for Corporations or employers:

  • A valid ECOWAS Travel Certificate or International Passport
  • A copy of the applicant’s bio-data and the Information page of the Applicant’s passport.
  • Passport photos (two recent ones)
  • Proof of a made e-Payment
  • A completed and signed Application Form
  • Letter from Employer. In this letter, the employer accepts the immigration responsibilities of the employee.
  • Applicant’s credentials
  • Applicant’s CV or resume’
  • Proof of ownership or lease of a business
  • Certificate from Corporate Affairs Commission regarding the Incorporation of business name
  • Copy of COT form (A form to document information for contractor resources)
  • A copy of a certificate showing Tax Clearance
  • Proof of Capital Importation

What are the ECOWAS Requirements for a Travel Certificate?

To obtain an ECOWAS travel certificate, the following documents are required:

  • A completed application form
  • Passport photos (Three recent colored (4×4 cm) photos)
  • Birth certificate or a legal document showing the applicant’s age
  • A letter from the applicant’s Local Government Chairman verifying the applicant’s Nigerian citizenship
  • The heads of students’ and trainees’ institutions accepting responsibility for immigration must provide letters of introduction
  • Any other document proving Nigerian citizenship

How Can I Apply for an ECOWAS Permit?

There are many steps related to applying for an ECOWAS permit. You can see these steps below. Applicants must:

  • Visit the Nigeria Immigration Portal home page.
  • Choose the appropriate application form:
    • Apply for ECOWAS Residence Card or
    • Renewal of ECOWAS Residence Card
  • Complete the Application form.
  • Print the “Application Acknowledgment Page”
  • Click on “Proceed to Online Payment”
  • Select the convenient payment method (Ban, eWallet, or Credit/Debit card).
  • Confirm the payment.
  • Select the “Check ECOWAS Residence Card Application Status” and enter the Application ID and Reference No.
  • Go to the “Online Query Status” page by clicking the “View your application payment status” button.
  • Enter the number on the ‘approved payment platform provider’ receipt if the “Validation Number” field appears. A validation number is also generated after a bank payment.
  • Click the “Search Record” button to go to the “Applicant’s Details” page. Applicants can see a date for their interview.
  • Print the receipt or the Acknowledgement Slip. This receipt is necessary for the interview.
  • Receive the NIS e-receipt or Acknowledgement Slip in a new window. Click the “Print” button to send a copy to the printer.
  • Go to the interview with relevant documents.

Is an ECOWAS Passport Like a Nigerian International Passport?

The Nigerian international passport gives Nigerian tourists the chance to enjoy different cultures and travel anywhere in the world. However, the international passport is not quite like the ECOWAS passport. For example, an ECOWAS passport only allows traveling to 15 West African states.

Can I Renew an ECOWAS Residence Card?

Yes. After 90 days, an ECOWAS card reaches its expiration date. The Applicant can renew their ECOWAS Residence Card from the immigration office.

What are the Requirements to renew an ECOWAS Residence Card?

Here you can see a list of documents to renew an ECOWAS residence card:

  • Application for renewal from. In this form, the employer, embassy, or company takes responsibility for the applicant’s immigration.
  • The expired residence card
  • A completed ECOWAS Residence Card application form
  • Copies of passport data page and expired residence card
  • Proof of making payment of the renewal fees

How Much is a Nigeria ECOWAS Residence Card?

An ECOWAS residence card in Nigeria costs 15,000 Naira or 94 US Dollars.

The Bottom Line…

ECOWAS is a beneficial treaty that helps West African countries cooperate with each other. The ECOWAS permit gives Citizens of West African countries clearance to travel and work under ECOWAS treaty laws.

In this article, we explained the ECOWAS treaty, its objectives, how to apply for it, and its requirements. If you have any experience regarding ECOWAS permits, please share with us in the comment section:

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