Many Nigerians abroad are faced with the dilemma of having no papers or incorrect traveling documents and are therefore lost in the sea of nameless, faceless illegal immigrants. Most often, at the start of their visit, they had appropriate traveling papers, but the lure of extending their stay makes them give up their identity. They can not go back home, nor do they have social security number or enjoy other benefits of their host country. Some even have to change their name and worst still, a lot end in prisons or get deported once caught, never to be allowed to visit again. But there are legal means to seek for permanent residency or prolong a stay in foreign country.

indefinite leave to remain
A settler’s permanent resident visa


1. Marry a foreigner/ permanent resident /citizen: Countries like USA, allow her citizen  to file for his or her spouse if they are legally married whether the partner is on a visiting/study visa  or yet to enter the country. Uk is more stringent with her rules, except you are married before traveling to Uk and stated in your application, foreign nationals will not be allowed to stay in Uk. To legalize the filing proceedings, you must come back with your spouse who is a citizen, get married in approved marriage registry, file for a resident visa and if granted, you can proceed to travel to live  with your spouse in  UK .

2.  Have a child abroad : A child birthed in USA, UK or Canada automatically becomes a citizen of that country, he or she can file for his/her parents at a later date when he/she is above 18 years.

3. Get an invite from a relative: You stand  a better chance if the person inviting you is your parent or child. He/she will help you file an application requiring you to stay for longer periods. Otherwise , if you do not have strong blood ties, you can only stay for a short period.  The relative that is inviting you must be a citizen already, have good financial standing, has no criminal record and possibly haave a good investment (House/office/business).

4. Secure a work permit : Having a work permit from a recognized organisation or business company like multinationals and technology companies will increase an immigrant chances of securing a permanent residency. In fact oil companies  like Chevron , Facebook, employ Nigerians to come and work in their companies as foreign expatriates. They provide good working conditions, file for their workers and family members .  That is the reason why many Nigerians are flocking to Canad regions to find work. You can go this route if you are properly trained, highly skilled or a professional. Health workers, Information technologists, research assistants  and scientists are the most sought after. NGOs, charity organisations, government agencies also offer scholarships and job opportunities to foreigners, you should explore these options.

5. Go and study abroad: Traveling for educational purposes also guarantees a longer stay in foreign countries. When choosing an educational program, go for two/three years programs that will allow you have a visa of 3-5 years. A one year program may shorten your stay and deny you opportunity of looking for work as the host country may ask you to leave once the 1 year is up. Get admission into schools that offer work opportunities like teaching assistants, research assistants or those that allow students to work and study at the same time. The experience will expose you to securing a good job after your educational program is over.

Before you make any decision, carry out  a proper research to find out the immigration laws of the country you are applying to.

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