How To Get Nigerian Citizenship: Different Ways To Become A Nigerian Citizen
Are you a foreigner who is looking to become a Nigerian citizen? This article is for you!.
In this piece, we’ll be showing you how to get Nigerian citizenship.
There are millions of foreigners in Nigeria, many of whom have become domiciled in the country for decades. And quite strangely, given the hostile work environment and growing insecurity in the country, many of these foreigners are still looking to become Nigerian citizens.
On this note. we have come up with a comprehensive guide, showing you all the necessary steps to become a Nigerian citizen. Read on!
How Do You Acquire Nigerian Citizenship?
The procedure to acquire Nigerian citizenship is quite simple. In fact, as a career expatriate, who operates and works legally in the country, acquiring Nigerian citizenship could be a cakewalk.
According to the Nigerian Nationality Law, which stresses out the legal binds of Nigerian citizenship and every other related issue (as contained in the Nigerian Constitution), Nigerian citizenship can be acquired in three different ways. These include:
- By Birth
- By Nationalization
- By Registration
Going by the dictates of the law, acquiring Nigerian citizenship by birth does not mean that any individual born in Nigeria is automatically a Nigerian citizen. It is only applicable if such individual’s parent(s) is of Nigerian origin. Nonetheless, citizenship acquired by birth is, in fact, the most recognized, and it forms the basis of citizenship for over 90% of Nigerians.
On the other hand, acquiring Nigerian citizenship by nationalization or registration, is exclusive to Non-Nigerians, who are deemed fit (as stipulated by the Nationality law) of being called Nigerians, Often times, this category of individuals hold dual citizenship; basically by birth (in their home country) and by nationalization or by registration (in Nigeria).
Acquiring Nigerian citizenship, particularly by nationalization and registration, has a number of binding terms and conditions. Basically, there are certain requirements and qualifications a prospective Nigerian citizen must have/hold, before such individual is considered. We’ll be looking deeper into this in the next section.
Qualification to Becoming a Nigerian Citizen
Firstly, it is important to note that any individual born of a Nigerian parent, or whose roots can be traced to any part of Nigeria, is, by privilege (as stated in the constitution), a Nigerian. This forms the basis of what qualifies an individual to be a Nigerian citizen by birth.
However, becoming a Nigerian citizen by nationalization or registration is a bit more complex, compared to the aforementioned. In either case, certain conditions must be fulfilled, and requisite qualifications must be held by any foreigner willing to become a Nigerian.
These requirements/qualifications are as stipulated in Section 26, Section 27 and Section 28 of the Nigerian constitution.
Outlined below are the qualifications and requirements to becoming a Nigerian citizen:
Qualifications to Become a Nigerian Citizenship By Registration
The Nationality law, as posited under Section 26 of the Nigerian constitution (amended in 1999), offers non-Nigerians who reside in the country, the opportunity to become Nigerian citizens, should they indicate their interest towards such.
However, before anyone (foreigner) is deemed worthy of becoming a Nigerian citizen by registration, he/she must have met and fulfilled the following requirements and conditions:
- He/she must show a rigid – unwavering – interest and commitment towards becoming a Nigerian citizen.
- He/she must be of good ethical standard and must have good character. This must be attested to, in verbal or writing, by a Pastor or Islamic cleric, and another Nigerian citizen.
- He/she must be willing to take the Oath of Allegiance, upon which the oath would be duly administered by the appropriate legal body.
- He/she must be related to a Nigerian; either by marriage or by origin.
- He/she must be above the legal age of 18.
Other terms and conditions, like application charges and the likes, may apply.
Qualifications to Become a Nigerian Citizen By Nationalization
This is the main focus of discourse, as it relates to non-Nigerians who have no known relation in Nigeria, but are willing to become a Nigerian citizen. Put aptly, this is for the category of people who are not qualified to obtain/acquire Nigerian citizenship by birth or by registration.
The provision for this category of individuals is contained in Section 27 & 28 of the Nigerian constitution. And we have outlined some of these requirements/conditions below:
- He/she must have demonstrated, in act and/or words/writing, his desires to become a Nigerian citizen
- He/she must be of the legal adult age (>18).
- He/she have lived in Nigeria for a cumulative period of 15 years.
- He/she must not be a citizen of any other country, beside his/her country of birth/origin.
- He/she must be good character, with attestation/reference from a minimum of two Nigerian citizens, one of whom must be a religious personality.
- He/she must not be financially handicapped.
- He/she must be willing to take the “Oath of Allegiance”.
- He/she must be deemed worthy by the resident state Governor.
- He/she should send a written application of the Office of the President, detailing his/her willingness/desires/interests to become a Nigerian citizen.
Note: You may be required to pay certain fees, at the various stages of the process.
Nigerian Passport for Non-Nigerian Spouse
One of the frequently asked questions on the Nigerian Immigration website is “How do I obtain the Nigerian passport for my non-Nigerian spouse? Put aptly, this covers how a non-Nigerian, who got married to a Nigerian can become a Nigerian citizen.
As pointed earlier, a non-Nigerian, who is related to a Nigerian by marriage can apply for Nigerian citizenship by registration. And subsequently, he/she can easily obtain the Nigerian passport via the conventional process.
So, ensure that your spouse fulfills all the conditions stipulated under section 26 of the Nigerian constitution, as it relates/applies to becoming a Nigerian citizen by registration. Once your spouse is recognized by law as a Nigerian, he/she can easily apply for the Nigerian passport at the closest Immigration office or on their website.
Nigerian Passport Fees
The Nigerian Immigration Service recently launched the new Nigerian passport, and many have been asking how much the passport costs.
For your consumption, below is an outline, showing the fees of the new Nigerian passport:
- 64-page with 10 years validity: 70,000 Naira
- 64-page with 5 years validity: 35,000 Naira
- 32-page with 5 years validity. 25,000 Naira
The new passport is designed with advanced technology, which uses polycarbonate materials. This is aimed at facilitating the durability of the passport, to make it more “weather-friendly”. With this, the new Nigerian passport, compared to the old one, is less prone to damage, irrespective of the prevailing weather condition.
Furthermore, the old passport is still very much in use. It is still tenable anywhere in the world, as the official passport of Nigeria. So, you don’t need to waste your money to obtain the new passport.
Nigerian Visa Fees
Below is a summary of Nigerian visa fees in some prominent countries:
- From USA: $160 (starting price)
- From UK: $144
- From France: $88
- From South Africa: $58
- From UAE: $150
- From Saudi Arabia: $46
- From Spain: $95
- From China: $64
- From Brazil: $20
- From India: $253
- From Kenya: $25
- From Italy: $88
- From Russia: $84
Check out the full list here.
How to Renounce Nigerian Citizenship in USA
Today, citizenship is by choice and not by force. And Nigeria, as a democratic and secular country, affords her citizens the opportunity to renounce their citizenship, should they feel the need to do so.
Normally, as a Nigerian, you may be required to renounce your original citizenship, before you can apply for citizenship in some countries. However, this greatly depends on a whole lot of factors.
Anyway, to renounce your Nigerian citizenship in the US, here are what you need:
- Your Nigerian passport and any other tenable ID
- Travel documents
- Birth certificate (must be 18 years of age or above)
- 2 passport photograph
- Marriage certificate (if applicable)
- Biometric capture (fingerprints)
- Copy of US passport (if any)
- Copy of US Citizenship certificate (or application)
- Evidence of financial stability
- Police report (where applicable) or evidence of clean criminal record.
Now, once you have all the documents sorted, you should do the following:
- Visit the Nigerian Embassy in the US to request for the “citizenship renunciation” form.
- Fill the form and have it endorsed/signed by a Judge or any other legal authority.
- Submit the forms, alongside the required documents.
- Make a payment of US$800 (the official citizenship renunciation charge).
After this, you’d be notified when the whole procedure is finished (between 4 and 6 weeks), at which point, you’re officially a non-Nigerian.
Is Dual Citizenship Allowed in Nigeria?
Yes, dual citizenship is allowed in Nigeria. However, one of the citizenship must be by birth (or origin). This means that you can not be a nationalized citizen of Nigeria, and also be a nationalized citizen of another country.
For more information about Nigeria, visit NaijaGists Information Desk.