6 Nigerian Immigration Laws That Can Affect Your Japa Journey

As a Nigerian, one of your constant prayers is that Nigeria should not happen to you and one of the ways Nigeria can happen to you is through immigration laws. If you are looking to japa at any point in time, there are some Nigerian laws you should know about. While this may not affect you directly, it can be useful information for someone you know. Let’s look at some of these laws and how they affect you.

How laws are formed in Nigeria

In Nigeria, laws are formed through several processes involving both the executive and legislative arms of government. The process typically begins with the proposal of a bill, which can originate from either the executive arm (the President) or the legislative arm (the National Assembly). The bill goes through several readings, debates, and committee reviews in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. If both houses approve the bill, it is sent to the President for approval. Once the President signs the bill into law, it becomes an official legal statute in Nigeria. This process ensures that laws are thoroughly discussed, debated, and scrutinized before being enacted, and it’s part of the country’s legal framework.

Nigeria laws that impact immigration policies

The Immigration Act of 2015

The Immigration Act of 2015 serves as the foundational legislation governing immigration and emigration in Nigeria. This act provides the legal framework for regulating the entry and exit of individuals into and out of the country. It outlines various visa categories, residency permits, and entry requirements. For emigration purposes, this act establishes the conditions under which Nigerian citizens can leave the country, ensuring proper documentation and security measures are in place.

Passport Act

The Nigerian Passport Act is another critical legal instrument that significantly influences immigration. It establishes the guidelines for obtaining, renewing, and using Nigerian passports. This act emphasizes the importance of possessing a valid passport for international travel and specifies the obligations of Nigerian citizens while abroad.

National Migration Policy 2015

The National Migration Policy was formulated to address various aspects of migration, including emigration. It was adopted in 2015 and it seeks to ensure that migration benefits both the migrants and the country. This policy emphasizes the protection of migrants’ rights, facilitates regular migration channels, and promotes diaspora engagement. These aspects of the policy influence the government’s approach to emigration by focusing on orderly and safe movement.

National Policy on Labour Migration

The National Policy on Labour Migration is a strategic framework that guides Nigeria’s approach to managing the movement of its citizens for employment opportunities abroad. The policy aims to promote the welfare and protection of Nigerian migrant workers while maximizing the benefits of labor migration for both individuals and the nation. It emphasizes fair recruitment practices, proper documentation, skill enhancement, and collaboration with destination countries to ensure safe and dignified working conditions for Nigerian migrants. The policy seeks to strike a balance between facilitating labor mobility and safeguarding the rights and interests of migrant workers.

Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Enforcement and Administration Act

Migration policies are also influenced by laws aimed at combating human trafficking, which is a serious concern in Nigeria. The Trafficking in Persons(Prohibition) and Administration Act prohibits human trafficking and provides protection and support for victims. This legislation indirectly impacts emigration by addressing irregular migration and ensuring that individuals who leave the country are adequately informed about the risks and potential dangers.

The New Visa Policy (NVP)

The New Visa Policy (NVP) introduced by President Muhammadu Buhari in February 2020 marked a significant milestone for Nigeria’s approach to immigration and its engagement with the global community. The policy aimed to streamline the visa application process, attract foreign investment, enhance tourism, and encourage the inflow of skilled professionals while safeguarding national security interests. This policy shift was designed to align with Nigeria’s broader economic and diplomatic goals.

Read: Immigration For Couples: How Does It Work?

Some challenges these laws pose for citizens

  1. Documentary requirements and processes: The laws surrounding emigration policies often require citizens to adhere to specific documentary requirements, including obtaining passports, visas, and other relevant permits. This ensures that individuals have the necessary legal documents for travel and residence in their destination country. Navigating the bureaucratic processes of obtaining these documents can be time-consuming and challenging. Delays, misinformation, or administrative hurdles can frustrate citizens seeking to leave the country. This can lead to anxiety and uncertainty, especially for those who are eager to start new lives abroad.
  2. Financial considerations: Emigration often entails financial expenses, such as application fees for passports and visas, medical examinations, and travel costs. These expenses can be significant and may require careful planning and budgeting. For some citizens, particularly those from economically less-privileged backgrounds, the financial burden of emigration-related costs can be a lot. This may limit their ability to pursue opportunities abroad, despite their aspirations for a better life. 
  3. Risk of exploitation and trafficking: Laws aimed at preventing human trafficking and irregular migration are designed to protect citizens from falling victim to exploitation and dangerous journeys. These laws aim to ensure that individuals are informed about the potential risks associated with irregular migration. Despite these laws, some citizens might still fall victim to human trafficking networks due to misinformation, desperation, or manipulation. Navigating safe migration channels requires awareness and education about the dangers of trafficking and irregular migration.
  4. Family and social considerations: One of the costs of traveling abroad often involves leaving behind family, friends, and social networks. While some laws encourage diaspora engagement and support, being separated from loved ones can have emotional and psychological implications. The emotional toll of leaving your support system can be significant. There is a high chance you might face feelings of isolation, homesickness, and cultural adjustment challenges in your new country.
  5. Diaspora engagement and support: Laws promoting diaspora engagement can offer citizens abroad a sense of belonging and connection to their homeland. These laws recognize the contributions of the diaspora and encourage them to support development efforts in Nigeria. While diaspora engagement is encouraged, you may encounter challenges in fully participating due to cultural differences, language barriers, or lack of information about available opportunities for involvement.
  6. Access to consular services: Laws related to consular services establish the government’s responsibility to protect and assist citizens abroad. These services include assistance during emergencies, legal support, and support in case of exploitation. In practice, accessing consular services can be challenging for citizens in distress, particularly in countries with limited diplomatic representation. This can leave citizens vulnerable in times of need.


The goal is to be successful and if japaing can make that work for you, by all means, go for it. But first, equip yourself with knowledge and know what’s ahead for you. These laws are ways for the government to manage emigration and also protect you in the international space. Now that you know, tell a friend to read this article.

Also Read:

How to Become an Australian Permanent Resident

From Nigeria to the UK: A Step-by-Step Guide to Securing a Student Visa

Step-by-Step Guide to Starting Your Canada Permanent Residency Application

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