Nel first featured for Essex in 2005 (Getty)
South Africa seamer Andre Nel has agreed a deal with Essex to precede Danish Kaneria as their overseas player this year.
The 30-year-old will stay at Essex until 18 May subject to the receipt of a work permit and formal permission from Cricket South Africa.
Nel enjoyed two short stints at Essex in 2005 and 2007, taking 14 wickets.
"I am delighted to be returning to Essex for the beginning of the season," he said.
"I enjoyed my time at the club in 2007 immensely and can't wait to rejoin the boys. I look forward to giving my all in an early season burst for the club."
Everyone at Essex is delighted Nel is coming back and we look forward to him making a positive impact
First-team coach Paul Grayson added: "Danish wanted a bit of time at home with his family, which means he misses the first month of the season, and we respect that.
"Everyone at Essex is delighted Nel is coming back and we look forward to him making a positive impact while he is here."
Pakistan leg-spinner Kaneria will return to Essex for his fourth spell at the club on 21 May.