Citizenship and Business


What is today known as Citizenship and Business Department of the Ministry, started as policy and management department in the then Ministry of Internal Affairs before the Civil Service reforms of 1988. it was created to be responsible for administration and technical enforcement of the 1963 Immigration Act, as it relates to the establishment of business in Nigeria and the employment of expatriates as well as processing of Citizenship requests, licensing of worship centers for the conduct of statutory marriages and management  of Federal Marriage Registries across the country. However, administration of Expatriate Quota was undertaken by Industrial Development Coordinating Committee (IDCC) headed by the Honorable Minister of Industries with the Ministers of Agriculture, Internal affairs and Finance as members.

The Department of Policy and Management based on the recommendations of the Dotun Philip’s Committee was re-organized into three (3) Departments namely: Citizenship and Business, Finance and Supplies, Planning Research and Statistics Departments respectively by the 1988 civil services reform.

The newly established Department of Citizenship and Business comprise two divisions which are; (1) Citizenship and (2) Business. The reform entrusted enormous functions to the Department of Citizenship and Business which include: Citizenship related matters, Expatriate Quota processing, Private Guards licensing and licensing of Worship Centers  for the conduct of statutory marriages under the Marriage Act of 1914 and reviewed in Marriage Act CAP M6, LFN,2004 (as amended). It is pertinent to note that the aspect of the Department’s activities in licensing of private guards was later taken to the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, leaving the Department with the core functions of administrating the Immigration Act 1963 as revised in 2015.

Functions of the Citizenship and Business Department:

The functions of the department include the following:

  • Processing and granting of Expatriate Quota requests and Business Permit;
  • Monitoring of the implementation of the Expatriate Quota facilities by the benefitting companies in conjunction with the Nigeria Immigration Services (NIS).
  • Processing of applications from applicants for Nigerian Citizenship by Naturalization, Registration and Confirmation;
  • Administration of Federal Marriage Registries in the country; and
  • Processing and granting of license to worship centers for the conduct of Statutory Marriages under the Marriage Act,1963;

Citizenship Division:

The Division is a subsidiary of the Citizenship and Business Department with responsibilities which are backed by the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended and Marriage Act CAP M6 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 as amended. The Division provides necessary guidance to the applicants for Nigerian Citizenship and Statutory Marriages as well as related matters. This includes:

  • Granting of Nigerian Citizenship by Naturalization and Registration;
  • Granting of Nigerian Citizenship by Confirmation;
  • Granting of Special Immigrant Status (SIS); and
  • Management of Marriage registries and provision of sundry services such as:
  • Attestation of Bachelorhood/Marital status for statutory marriages
  • Celebration of statutory Marriages at the Federal Marriage Registries
  • Licensing of Worship Centers for the celebration of Renunciation of Nigeria Citizenship etc.


The Ministry through the Department has recorded tremendous achievements within the three years of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration particularly in the following areas:

Automation of the Federal Marriage Registries

The Ministry under the strategic leadership of Lt Gen (rtd ) Abdulrahman Bello Dambazau was able through  the Citizenship and Business Department to automate the Federal Marriage Registries in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Benin, Owerri and Kano.

Approval processed through the Department between 2015 - 2018

In the area of Naturalization, the Ministry through the Department was also able to approve and process Naturalization as follows:


Four (4) Federal Marriage Registries were established

Within the period under review, the Ministry has also succeeded in establishing through the Department, four (4) additional Federal Marriage Registries in Port - Harcourt, Kano, Owerri and Benin to complement the existing two in Lagos and Abuja.

Collated and processed 213 applications for citizenship

It has collated and processed a total of 213 applications for Nigerian Citizenship by Naturalization and 78 Registrations for the current year 2018.

Business Division

The Division is saddled with the responsibility of administering Expatriate Quota facilities. This includes receipts and processing of Expatriate Quota requests and related matters as well as issuance of Approval Letters and Business Permit to clients.

Worthy of note is the fact that the Ministry of Interior had in 2012 entered into partnership agreement with Messrs Anchor Dataware Solutions for the automation of the activities of Citizenship and Business Department through the Public Private Partnership (PPP) to Build, Operate and Transfers (BOT) Model. The Automation Project tagged ‘e-CitiBiz’, is aimed at transforming the manual paper work of processing applications for Expatriate Quota, Citizenship facilities and the conduct of statutory marriages by the Ministry from manual to automated (online) processes. The objectives of the project were to amongst others:

Ensure prompt and quality service delivery in the administration of Expatriate Quota in the country in line with international standard and best practice (improved efficiency and effectiveness );

  • Eliminate unwholesome practices in the process and institute client interface that would rid the system of unnecessary bureaucratic bottlenecks and delays in processing applications;
  • Stimulate and encourage the inflow of foreign direct investment(FDI);
  • Digitalize the records of the Citizenship and Business Department with a view to ensuring reliable data storage and easy retrieval;
  • Ensure creation of job opportunities for the teeming unemployed Nigerians through FDI and JVCs;
  • Reduce the high cost of provision of services by Government;
  • Improve revenue generation; and
  • Ensure the Ease of Doing Business as promoted by Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) setup President Muhammadu Buhari in 2016.
  • The implementation process of the e-CitiBiz project had made significant achievements which include:
  • Establishment of additional Federal Marriage Registries in Port Harcourt, Owerri, Benin and Kano to complement the existing ones in Lagos and Abuja;
  • Review of application forms for Business Permit, Expatriate Quota handbook for Expatriate Quota, Marriage and Citizenship;
  • Development of training modules as well as the conduct of staff training for the Marriage Registries on the online processing of applications;
  • Hosting of reviewed documents on the e-CitiBiz Portal; and
  • Launching of the e-CitiBiz Call Centre in the Ministry of Interior.
  • With the attainment of the afore-mentioned milestones, the ongoing process is expected to complete the automation:
  • Completion of migration of all companies;
  • Commencement of Full Online Automation by last quarters of 2018; and  call for interface by stakeholders i.e. Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Foreign Embassies, etc.


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