Obtain Work Permit

How to obtain Nigerian Work Permit

The only way to legally work in Nigeria is by acquiring a CERPAC (Combined Expatriate Residence Permit and Aliens Card). This document is a combined residency and work permit, and it is the responsibility of your future employer to guide you through the necessary steps.

Although the process involves a lot of paperwork, it should not be too troublesome for expats. Keep in mind that the CERPAC is tied to a specific job. If you decide to change jobs, you need to re-apply.

Work Destination – Lagos

Lagos is the largest city and thus the first choice for many expats moving to Nigeria. Though exact estimates vary, with a population in 2014 of around 21 million in the wider metropolitan area, it is considered the most populous city in Africa, surpassing even Cairo.

In many respects, Lagos is the most important Nigerian city. It is a large hub for banks, industrial enterprises, and the music and film industry. The three ports are the nation’s biggest transfer site for all goods, except for oil, which is shipped directly from the Delta. The metropolis also is home to the most modern international airport – you will have to at least change flights here when you arrive in Nigeria.

Lagos was the Nigerian capital until 1991. Most embassies, although now officially located in Abuja, handle visa applications from their Lagos offices. The city’s cultural and economic importance is unparalleled, as is the quality of life. Many expats moving to Nigeria opt for accommodation in the popular neighborhoods of Victoria Island, Ikoyi, Apapa, and Ikeja, where living is a more relaxed and safer experience.

Your employment contract permitting, you should try to relocate to Lagos. It will probably ensure the most comfortable and interesting experience for expatriates moving to Nigeria.


Work Destination – Port Harcourt

Employment in Port Harcourt means doing business in Nigeria’s oil production center. It is the main collecting point for oil produced in the Niger Delta and home to most of Nigeria’s refineries.

Ever since the first oil shipment in 1958, Port Harcourt has had considerable draw on the people of the Delta. This is both a blessing and a curse: The masses moving to Nigeria’s industrial centers from the rural regions have caused a housing shortage and infrastructural issues. Pollution is also quite severe in the area. While living in Nigeria, you have to come to terms with pollution, and Port Harcourt surpasses everything else in this regard.

Work Destination – Abuja

The nation’s capital since 1991, Abuja is the unchallenged center of political power in Nigeria. Located right in the center of Nigeria between the Muslim north and the Christian south, Abuja has been built from scratch since the late 1970s; unfortunately, it shows.

Life in Abuja is a far cry from life in Lagos, both culturally and economically. There is very little industry located in Abuja, and the metropolis does not offer many incentives for expats moving to Nigeria. However, as construction is continuously going on and nearly all embassies have been relocated to the city, Abuja does have some opportunities for expatriates who are moving to Nigeria and making it their home abroad.

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