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My first trip to Lagos, from Visa to Exit

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Montreal, Canada
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17 posts
128 reviews
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My first trip to Lagos, from Visa to Exit

Having read many posts, I was very nervous before my first trip to Nigeria so I wanted to post my experience from beginning to end (Visa to exit), hoping it will assist others.

I am a US citizen living in Canada, white male, 47 years old. I prepared my visa application online, re-read it three times (as errors are costly to fix) paid the $180 US fee and submitted it to the High Consulate in Ottawa. I called twice to be ensured they would be open on 14 January and made a personal trip so that I could hand in my materials and be certain everything was done correctly. When I arrived on 14 January I found the High Consulate closed for Mohammed’s birthday, which was shocking, but after some persuasion I was allowed to leave my paperwork (though no guarantee of having submitted it correctly). I called the following day to ensure that everything was clear, and by the end of the month I had my visa.

I flew Arik Airlines to Lagos. As soon as I boarded I instantly felt stupid for having been nervous; there was only one other white person on board yet the other passengers (some Americans of African descent and others, but mostly Nigerians) were very friendly. The in-flight entertainment was broken, so the flight was ten hours of screaming children and I got little sleep. Nonetheless we arrived in Lagos. It was extremely hot; just sitting down I was sweaty but I am used to the Canadian climate so that is understandable. There was no pressure to bribe or pay off anyone. I was mistakenly put into the transit passenger queue for people leaving Lagos by flight; I was leaving by car for a trip to Benin which I had booked through Jemi-Alade tours, but when I told the agent I was removed from that line and allowed to go into the arrivals section of the airport.

While waiting, several employees asked if I needed to call anyone. I think there concern was genuine and don’t think they were trying to get anything from me. I struck up a conversation with someone else who was waiting, a Nigerian woman who lived in London. Once again I was ashamed of myself for having worried so much about going to Lagos when everyone was so friendly.

I was picked up promptly at 6:30 by the tour agency and driven around, but unfortunately falling asleep since I was so tired from the flight. I got a tour of Lagos which looked like a very interesting city; I wish I had stayed for at least a day to have better taste of it. I was then driven to Badagry and then onward to Cotonou, where a Nigerian tour guide took me around Cotonou. Again, her friendliness and openness showed me that my worries were definitely overdone, and she insisted that I come back to Nigeria to see more of the country, to which I am very open.

I am not posting this to say that everyone’s experience will be the same, but mine was much easier than I had expected.

One more thing--I was not asked for my yellow fever card at the airport, however upon exiting the country I was asked for it several times; had I not had it I would have had to pay a “tip” to exit the country (according to my tour guide). I know that she paid a tip to immigration in Benin when I entered, but only 1000 CFA, about $2.50.

My advice to anyone considering a trip to Lagos is to go. Perhaps you won’t find it as I did, but perhaps you will see the beauty in it.

I would add that I had a more negative experience in Ghana, where I was immediately asked for a bribe at the border and harassed twice at tourist sites by very, very aggressive people yelling at me to delete photos. I would have thought my experiences would have been opposite.

Go to Lagos.

New York City, New...
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1. Re: My first trip to Lagos, from Visa to Exit

I'm heading to Lagos soon. Thanks for the post

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2. Re: My first trip to Lagos, from Visa to Exit

That's interesting to hear. I'm considering a visit to Lagos with my Polish girlfriend. Thanks for the post.

New Orleans...
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10 posts
5 reviews
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3. Re: My first trip to Lagos, from Visa to Exit

When are you going? I'm going in the early summer.

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4. Re: My first trip to Lagos, from Visa to Exit

Re: My First trip To Lagos,

I was a little nervous about traveling to Lagos, but after reading the posts here, feeling a lot better and look forward to traveling there this August, thanks for helpful info,

Mary C/ Maryland

London, United...
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5. Re: My first trip to Lagos, from Visa to Exit

I was in Nigeria for 6 weeks (12th March till 23rd April) and i can say that even though i was a little bit scared and skeptical, I can tell anyone that you have nothing to worry about as long as you keep most things regarding personal possessions to yourself.

New York City, New...
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6. Re: My first trip to Lagos, from Visa to Exit

I'm pretty sure you weren't asking me, but I'll be in Nigeria early July, late june. Safe travels to you

Edited: 28 May 2014, 08:39
Milford, Delaware
3 posts
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7. Re: My first trip to Lagos, from Visa to Exit

I appreciate your post. I will be traveling to Lagos (and Abuja) in July for business and pleasure. While I have several friends there who know their way around, I appreciate reading about your experience.

London, United...
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8. Re: My first trip to Lagos, from Visa to Exit

SOS ! Could you please tell me if it is possible to obtain tourist Visa to Lagos on arrival at the airport ? I am leaving next week 10th. There was a mixed up about who n how to get a visa hence the lateness . I know there is online oisservice but just wondering if there is an easier method ..HELP ! anyone fr uk who has visited Lagos .. Thank you .

9. Re: My first trip to Lagos, from Visa to Exit

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Removed on: 08 August 2016, 12:00
Edited: 08 August 2016, 12:00
Sacramento, CA
Destination Expert
for Sacramento
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3,850 posts
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10. Re: My first trip to Lagos, from Visa to Exit

Vcaldwell,

I would be very wary! This is probably a scam.

I would bet you will be asked for money soon. Then 'he' will be in an accident and need money for treatment etc.

Don't spend money on a plane ticket yet.

Read up on Nigerian Romance Scams. They are all over the internet.