How to Relocate from Nigeria to Canada

Moving to a new country can be an exciting opportunity, but also a daunting process. In this article, we will provide you with a step-by-step guide to relocating from Nigeria to Canada—from deciding which Canadian province to move to, to obtaining the necessary visas and permits, to preparing for your big move. By following these tips and recommendations, your transition to Canada can be smooth and successful.

Decide Where to Live in Canada

Canada is a vast country with 13 provinces and territories offering very different landscapes, climates, and opportunities. The first major step is deciding where you want to settle. Here are some of the most popular destinations for Nigerian immigrants:


Ontario – Home to Canada’s capital Toronto and largest city, Ontario welcomes the most immigrants each year. As the economic hub of Canada, it offers plentiful jobs, a low cost of living, and multicultural communities.

Alberta – With its booming oil and gas industry, Alberta attracts Nigerian petroleum engineers and geologists. Calgary and Edmonton are two of Canada’s fastest growing cities with good employment prospects.


British Columbia – Known for its stunning Pacific coastline and mountains, BC has a mild climate and scenic cities like Vancouver and Victoria. Tech jobs are plentiful in Vancouver.

Quebec – French-influenced Quebec offers European flair and affordable big city life in Montreal. Nigerians can learn French and access French education.

Nova Scotia – With charming coastal towns, Nova Scotia attracts Nigerians for its relaxed East Coast lifestyle in cities like Halifax.

Research each province thoroughly to determine the best fit for your lifestyle, career, and budget. Connecting with Nigerian immigrant communities can also help with this decision.


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Select an Immigration Pathway

Canada has different visas and permits depending on your reasons for relocating—employment, education, family reunification, etc. The main categories for Nigerian nationals include:

Express Entry – A points-based program for skilled workers with a job offer, education, language abilities and other factors. This is a top pathway for Nigerian professionals.

Provincial Nominee Programs – Provinces nominate applicants to receive Canadian permanent residency under their economic immigration programs. In-demand occupations vary by province.

Study Permits – For Nigerians pursuing post-secondary education in Canada. After graduating, you may qualify for a post-graduation work permit, then apply for permanent residence under certain streams.

Spousal/Partner Sponsorship – For accompanying a Canadian citizen or permanent resident spouse/partner to Canada on a temporary resident permit, then applying for permanent residence jointly.

Carefully research the eligibility criteria for your best option. Hiring an immigration lawyer or consultant will maximize your chances of approval.

Prepare Required Documents

To apply for the chosen visa category, you’ll need certified copies and translations of certain documents issued by Nigerian authorities, including:

  • Police Clearance Certificate
  • Birth Certificate
  • Marriage Certificate (if applicable)
  • Passport
  • Educational certificates/transcripts
  • Proof of work experience
  • Language test results (IELTS, TOEFL, etc.)
  • Funds in a designated bank account
  • Medical exam results

Obtaining some of these like police clearance and birth certificates from Nigeria can take time. Apply for them early to avoid processing delays. Documents must be authenticated or notarized depending on the province.

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Arrange Finances and Accommodation

Canadian immigration requires proof you have sufficient funds to financially establish yourself initially. Typical costs include flights, first/last month’s rent, deposits for utilities, living expenses for at least 6 months, and medical insurance. Having CDN$12,000 to $15,000 is recommended.

Before leaving Nigeria, open a Canadian bank account from abroad to receive funds. Research living costs for cities based on family size to set an appropriate budget. Once your visa is approved, begin scouting short-term accommodation options like temporary furnished rentals to book ahead.

Apply for visas and permits

Submit your online or paper-based application as required for the immigration program selected, attaching all necessary documents. Processing for most takes 6-12 months. Be prepared for follow up requests for additional details during background security screenings.

Approval means pre-arrival visas for the main applicant and any dependents. These allow you multiple entry to Canada within an initial period to activate permanent residency by arriving, passing customs, and becoming established.

Practical Pre-departure Preparations

With Canada greenlighting your move, focus on important preps like medical checkups, closing bank accounts, notifying employers and schools, and settling personal matters. Pack essential and sentimental belongings within airline baggage weight allowances. Sell larger furniture pieces that won’t be cost effective to ship.

Get COVID travel requirements and make visa arrangements. Acquire luggage tags, copies of documents, SIM cards for Canadian networks, travelAdaptors/converters and a little Canadian cash. Research ground transportation options from your arrival airport. Deeply plan your first few days and weeks in Canada.

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Relocate to Canada

Your long awaited big move day has arrived! Check baggage into the aircraft as early as possible. Use international flights with major Canadian hubs like Toronto or Vancouver to simplify airport transfers. Arrive with a friendly, positive attitude to maximize your adjustment.

Upon arrival, you’ll breeze through customs presentation, set up a Canadian bank account, purchase essential home goods and appliances, find short and long term accommodation, learn local transport routes, enroll children in schools, settle into communities and begin your new life in Canada!

With thorough research and careful planning, Nigerian immigrants can relocate to Canada with confidence. Stay connected with support networks as you become familiar with Canadian systems, culture and climate over your first year. Soon, you’ll feel right at home in your new country.

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