Leaving Nigeria

32 Ways to Legally Leave Nigeria (Non-Immigrant and Immigrant)

Written By Fola Olatunji-David
2 weeks ago, I wrote the tweet below.

The surrounding circumstances have changed little since then. While the Nigeria government claims to have ended SARS, sadly the crux of the matter which was police brutality, and a total disregard for the value of life of Nigerians still exist…

I love Nigeria, foolishly, and undeserved, yes, but I love this country. The last 3 weeks have shown that most of you do too!

We can not and we will not all leave.

But part of the freedom that should exist is freedom for everyone to do what they like within the law.

So I’m keeping my word and presenting some “Ways to Japa”. Not cos I want you to, but as knowledge is power, you have power to start your own research if you want to.

Finally, let’s build this country together, let’s demand for better from our government and leaders.

But if you need some time to get some air abroad, and are lawfully qualified, I will present some ways to Japa!

I broke it down for students, workers, investors, tourists and migration.


You can Legally Leave Nigeria as a Student

  1. Student visa for undergraduates. Some countries offer free/cheap education. Countries such as France, Germany, and Nordic countries. See herehere and here.
  2. Postgraduate masters (even if you have a 3rd class). The following European and Asian countries are good places to look for free/cheap education. You may also be required to learn a new language while or before you study. This is an advantage for you in life.
  3. Student Exchange programs on platforms like AIESEC allow you to connect with other students abroad as well as have exchange programs where you host them when they come to Nigeria, and you also have opportunities to spend time abroad working or volunteering.
  4. Vocational training for specialized skills. E.g. engineering, manufacturing, etc
  5. Apply for international internships (undergraduate and graduate), most foreign job boards have an internships section. See examples herehere and here.
  6. Academic scholarships are available for lots of countries you can search based on course, country, amount, etc. See some herehere and here.
  7. If you are exceptionally athletic or are good at sports played abroad, you can also apply for a sports scholarship. Here are some; Link 1link 2link 3.
  8. You can also take a “gap year” from school to go work for a year or so. Herehere,and here.
  9. Apply for social work or community scholarships such as these: See more herehere.
  10. Apply for an Arts scholarship as an international student. See more here and here.

You can Legally Leave Nigeria as a professional

  1. Work visa to work as a nonimmigrant, based on experience, age, education, job offers etc. Almost every country in the world applies, although some have specific visas for different fields of work (IT, Healthcare, Arts, etc). Think of any country and search for jobs in your field of work on sites such as IndeedLinkedInGlassdoor, etc.
  2. Go teach English in non-English-speaking parts of the world. Asia and some parts of Africa are good places to start. See more here
  3. Start a business or a startup in a country that lets you, or work at an early stage one. Here are 15 countries that offer visas for startup founders
  4. Apply for business accelerators/incubators for your early stage startups. Most accelerators involve travelling several countries offer to the base for 3-6 months. Check some out here or here.
  5. Get a visa as an Intra-company transferee if you work for an international employer – even some African countries apply here.

Other Options to Leave Nigeria as a Professional

  1. Get a Tier 2 (Health and Care) visa with a job offer from the NHS or related organisation, are eligible and qualified as a doctor, nurse, health professional or adult social care professional.
  2. You can also get a domestic employee visa if your employer is migrating to a foreign country. USUKUAE, etc.
  3. If you are a pastor/missionary, you can get a temporary religious worker visa for a lot of countries. The UK and US are some countries that allow this.
  4. Get non-immigrant visa as an Individual with Extraordinary Ability or Achievement, Individual or Team Athlete, or Member of an Entertainment Group (with Int’l recognition of sustained performance), Artist or Entertainer (Individual or Group) {under exchange program or to teach, coach or perform under a culturally unique program etc or persons providing essential services to such persons. Eg in France
  5. Get a visa as a freelancer or remote worker in countries such as in GermanyDubai and Italy, etc.
  6. Apply for a business visa as a representative of an overseas business if you’re either: the sole representative of an overseas business planning to set up either a foreign branch or wholly-owned subsidiary or an employee of an overseas newspaper, news agency or broadcasting organisation posted on a long-term assignment abroad.

You can Legally Leave Nigeria as an Investor

  1. Investor visa allows you to live or get citizenship in certain countries if you invest a certain amount of money in business (usually $50k and above). Available in a lot of countries like the UKUS,
  2. Paid citizenship where you just “pay” the governments an amount of money as a form of investment in the country and they offer you citizenship in exchange. Popular in Caribbean countries such as St Kitts and Nevis, Cyprus, Malta. See here and here.
  3. You can buy property in certain countries to get a permanent residency status. See more info, or here.
  4. Some countries let you set up an investment vehicle where you use them as your corporate headquarters for your company or startup, allowing you to spend extended periods there with your family. See more here or here.

As a tourist

  1. Nigerians can apply for visas to every single country in the world. There are no restrictions or sanctions (that I am aware of). The process for visa application differs from country to country, but you can plan to visit a country first before deciding to move temporarily or permanently. Some ways of applying are: for tourism, business, medical treatment, to get married, visit family.
  2. We have visa-free travel to 50+ countries, most of them allowing you to visit as a tourist. Please do not attempt to work on a tourist visa. Every country has its process to convert from a tourist to a work visa, so research the specific country you are interested in. See countries you can travel visa-free or get a visa on arrival as a Nigerian passport holder here and here.

To just Relocate/Japa

  1. You can leave Nigeria by applying to become a permanent resident of a country if your qualifications and experience meet the labour demands of that country. Canada is the poster child for all things migration via a point based system, but it is not the only country where you can do this. The UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada are the four most common points based on immigration systems. Read more here and here
  2. File for residency by getting engaged and planning to marry, or better still, already married to a citizen of another country. Most countries in the world do this.
  3. Get a refugee or humanitarian visa (asylum) if you are subject to persecution in your home country or you face substantial discrimination or human rights abuses.
  1. Get a family visa as a spouse, parent or child of a person who is a citizen or has a visa in some countries such as the US, Canada, UK.
  2. Apply for a Global Talent visa to live or work in the UK if you’re a leader or potential leader in one of the following fields: academia or research, arts and culture, digital technology. You can apply for permanent residency after that.

The article was written by Fola Olatunji-David and was originally published on his blog.


  • Bumblebee
    October 29, 2020

    No better time to japa than now ooo. Except that money is important

    • webmaster
      October 29, 2020

      Yes o! There is no better time than now. Small small drops of water make an ocean.

  • Citizenship by Investment
    March 25, 2021

    What is Citizenship By Investment & Different Citizenship programs?
    Citizenship By Investment program provides an individual the right to be fully involved in the affairs of the state. However, Such activities include voting and owning properties and so much more. The person who is recognized by the law as a citizen of a particular nation-state has the duty of abiding with the rules and regulations of that state.

    • webmaster
      March 25, 2021

      Absolutely, this looks like the most viable option when it comes to citizenship programs. Though it requires a lot of money and mostly for highly financially stable individuals.

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