Immigration to Another Country – How to relocate for a better life

airplane workers servicing a plane

To relocate means to move to a new place and establish one’s home or business there.

I spent almost 3 years trying to relocate out of Nigeria and I can testify that relocating to another country is not an easy endeavour.

As a Nigerian, based on our world wide reputation for online fraud and skipping visas, a lot of countries are biased towards us and this makes traveling or relocating difficult for Nigerians.

Nigerians can only visit 45 countries of the 190 countries in the world either visa free or with e-visa. Not only do we need a visa to visit the remaining 145 countries in the world, relocating to any of these countries requires a great deal of effort.

Immigration to another country takes proper planning, research, learning, adapting, a lot of frustration, tears and almost giving up. If your dream is to relocate to another country for a better life, this article is for you. My goal is to provide you with the information to help you take steps towards making your relocation dreams come true.

To get started you’ll need a pen and a paper to write down your thoughts.

So why do people choose to relocate to another country anyway?

open luggage with clothing inside

Why do people relocate to another country?

A lot of people choose to relocate to another country for several reasons which could be one of the following:

A better quality of life: Nigerians have a very low quality of life, one that could get unbearable. The problems start with no security, no basic electricity, bad roads, no basic infrastructure, lack of basic health facilities. With all these factors and a lot of Nigerians living way below the poverty line, it makes sense for Nigerians to decide to move to another country in search of greener pastures.

Cost of living: If the cost of living in a person’s home country is too high and the lifestyle is one that they cannot afford, they could decide to move to a country that will offer them a more affordable lifestyle.

Employment: People choose to move because of job opportunities in another country, where they would be offered a higher pay or a better job position.

Family: If you have family members who reside abroad, in order to be closer to them, one can choose to relocate to that country. Also the spouse of a person from another country would need to relocate to be with their partner.

Climate conditions: If a country has harsh weather conditions and is prone to tornados, earthquakes, flooding, or volcanic activity amongst other acts of nature, they might want to escape to a place with more favourable weather conditions.

Political situation: Another major reason why people relocate is the political situation in their own country. War and conflict, civil unrest, intertribal clashes, government corruption and other insurgencies could cause people to relocate to another country.

To attain another citizenship: People may choose to relocate in order to get residency in another country and start the process of attaining citizenship. The reason could be that they want to have more freedom to travel around the world.

For example, as mentioned earlier, Nigerians can only visit 45/190 countries in the world either visa free or with visa on arrival. So a Nigerian may choose to relocate to Germany and subsequently attain citizenship so they can have more travel freedom to 189/190 countries in the world.

Whatever reason one might decide to move to another country, it is important to exercise due diligence throughout the process from start to finish.

[Need help figuring out which relocation options are available to you based on your current situation and budget? Take my Relocation Assessment]

many luggages at the airport

Paths to Relocation

There are several paths to relocation depending on your situation:

Education: Some individuals who have the resources, may decide to first study abroad and after school, change their immigrant status to be able to live and work in that country.

Marriage: If a person marries a citizen of another country, by law they have the right to visit the country, emigrate there and subsequently become naturalised as long as they meet all the terms and conditions.

Job transfer: If you work for a multinational company, you could get a promotion that will require you to be transferred to another branch of your company in another country.

Self relocation: A working person who has enough savings or earns enough money may decide to move countries for one of the reasons mentioned above.

Choosing the right immigration path for you depends on what you want and your relocation budget.

What you’ll need before you relocate

Below are a list of what you’ll need based on your relocation path

1. A source of income (proof of funds) or significant savings

2. An international passport

3. All necessary documents specific to the country you choose. Some common documents are:
– Birth certificate
– University degrees
– Marriage certificate
– Police character certificate
– Medical certificate.
– Admission letter (If relocating via study)

4. Job offer abroad (If you’re relocating via work)

How long does the relocation process take?

The process of relocating can take between 6 months to 3+ years depending on a persons individual situation. The key is to start as early as possible.

Map of the world

[Need help figuring out which relocation options are available to you based on your current situation and budget? Take my Relocation Assessment]

How to choose the right country for you

Choosing the right country for you is the most important step of the relocation process.

I get a number of emails from people telling me about the countries they want to relocate to. However when I ask them why they chose that country, the responses I get are usually very vague like:

“My friends/family are there”
“I don’t know”
“I heard it’s a nice place”
“I love their accent”

While some of these reasons hold some sort of relevance, it is not enough reason to pack ones entire life and move to another country. A more fitting response could be “based on my research, I found that there’s a shortage of doctors in country x and considering I qualify for visa class y, I’m looking to take advantage of this opportunity”

Sounds more purposeful doesn’t it?

Choosing the right country should not be done carelessly as the country you choose will have a huge impact on your future.

The first step to relocating to another country is to figure out which country is right for you.

The first step to relocating to another country is to figure out which country is right for you. Here are the steps to get you started in figuring out the right country for you.

Figure out what you want and why

To do this, you have to analyse your current situation to figure out what you want and why you want it, in order to make a shortlist of the countries that meet your criteria.

Here’s a few questions you need to answer in order to figure out what you want:

Why are you relocating?
What is your relocation budget?
What is your dream lifestyle?
What job opportunities are you looking to take advantage of abroad?
What kind of environment do you want?

Take your time to think and write down what you want.
Answering these questions will help you figure out what you want and why. It will also help you eliminate the countries that don’t meet what you want.

Research

Now that you’ve figured out what you want and why, it’s time to do in-depth research to figure out which countries match your criteria and which one has the path of least resistance.

For research, Google needs to be your best friend because Google knows everything. Make a shortlist of the countries that match your checklist in order to make a clear comparison. Here’s a list of important areas to research:

  • Immigration laws to find out which countries could be right for you
  • The immigrant visa you and you dependents qualify for
  • The job opportunities available to you based on your qualifications, job history and skill set
  • What it means to start a business and benefits involved.
  • Healthcare system
  • The language and culture of the country
  • Cost of living which includes, housing options and rates, transportation options, food, monthly utilities like electricity, water, sewer and gas. You can compare the cost of living between countries around the world with Numbeo.
  • The weather and year round seasons. You can check out the year round weather between countries here.
  • Education system
  • Accessibility to medical care and health insurance
  • Taxation laws

[In my relocation guide I break down all the steps of the relocation process, to help you increase your chances of relocating. You can Join my Waitlist to be the first to know when it’s released]

Google needs to be your best friend because Google knows everything

Basically you need to research everything you can, in order to have an idea about countries you qualify to relocate to based on what you want.

Have a pros and cons list for all the countries on your shortlist and compare them to narrow down your options to the country that best fits what you want.

From my experience moving countries, even after doing in-depth research before you make the move, when you travel, you still realise that things are a bit different on ground. Therefore it’s better to have the basic understanding of the country prior to moving, instead of going in unprepared without proper knowledge.

Immigrating to another country is usually not a walk in the park and it is advisable to pick the country that has the least resistance in order to make the process less tasking.

How to make your Relocation Plan

a man staring at plans on a board

A plan is a detailed proposal for doing or achieving something and like they say, the devil is in the details.

After doing all your research on the country you want to relocate to, it’s time to make a plan. A plan is a detailed proposal for doing or achieving something and like they say, the devil is in the details. You have to familiarise yourself with all the details of the step by step relocation process to the country you’ve chosen.

There’s several stages to the relocation process and you have to plan for every stage to increase your chances of being successful.

1. Decision stage: This is the stage where you figure out what you want , why you want it, the right country for you, the path to relocation you want to take and how much you’re willing to spend to relocate.

2. Collection stage: This stage involves the collection of all the documents you’ll need in order to begin the relocation process.
Different countries have their specific documentation required for immigration and common examples of these documents include; an international passport, birth certificates, marriage certificate, educational documents, pay stubs, application forms, medical certificates, criminal record etc.

3. Visa application stage: Visa applications take time and money. You should have an estimated time as to how long the visa application process is expected to take and know how much this process will cost you. You should also determine if you will enlist the help of an agent with the visa application or do it yourself.

4. Outcome stage: This is the stage where you get a decision on your visa application. You visa application could either be approved or denied. The outcome of your visa application determines the next stage for you.

If your visa gets approved, the next stage is the

Relocation stage: In this stage you settle all your affairs in your home country. If you have a house, property or a car in your home country, you need to plan how you will store them or sell them off prior to your departure. You also book your flights, spend time with friends and family, pack up for your trip, organise your accommodation and sustenance abroad.

If your visa gets denied, the next stage is

Decide what you want to do next: If your visa gets denied because you did not meet all the requirements, you can reevaluate your plans and try again. However if you feel like you would rather try something else, then that’s what you do.

Planning everything from start to finish will help you have a clear goal in mind. However, your plans will change because things never go as we plan but it’s better to have a plan you can adjust as you go along, than to have no plan at all with no clear understanding of the stages involved.

[In my relocation guide I break down all the steps of the relocation process, to help you increase your chances of relocating successfully. You can Join my Waitlist to be the first to know when it’s released]

airport travel


How to Take Action

After making the necessary plans based on what you want and your research, it’s time to take action. Relocating takes a lot of time and the time frame could range from 6 months to 3+years depending on your situation.

It makes sense to start taking action as soon as possible. Whether you have the funds now or not, you can start with the stages that do not require funds.

You can start analysing, figuring out what you want, researching, collecting all your documents, contact the countries embassy, start applying for jobs in the country you choose.

Basically just start doing something based on your plans. If you don’t do, you don’t get!

[Need help figuring out which relocation options are available to you based on your current situation and budget? Take my Relocation Assessment]

Words of advice from my personal relocation experience


Expect the unexpected and adapt as you go along

Throughout the course of the relocation process, your plans will change, things will go wrong, you might be missing some documents, your visa could be delayed. Basically a lot of things will not go as you expect it to which is why it is important to prepare your mind for it. This will help minimize dissapointment and frustration.


Beware of Negative folks

The relocation process can be a stressful one and seeing your struggle, a lot of well meaning people may tell you to just give up and manage in Nigeria. Their argument will be “You’ve been trying now, as e no dey come, just stop”. If anyone tries to discourage you from your plans, it’s time to cut them off mentally. Don’t allow negativity enter your mind because if you do, you’re setting yourself up for a hard time. Try your best to stay positive, keep dreaming, keep fighting and you’ll get it.


What to do while you Wait

Relocating out of Nigeria takes a lot of waiting. Waiting to get a visa appointment, waiting to apply for a visa, waiting for a visa approval, waiting for the time to fly, etc.

It is important to have something else going on in your life while you wait. If you’re still working during this time, take your job seriously, put your mind into it. If you’re not working, learn a skill, how to swim, learn things that will help you adapt in the country you choose it could be learning the language, their culture, the environment.

Basically, do something to improve your life while you wait. This way, whatever the outcome of your visa, you’ll have something to show for all the time you spent waiting.


Focus on the journey not the outcome

During the entire relocation stage, it’s easy to start imagining what it would feel like to get your visa . I bet you think it will feel different like you’ve won the lottery. The truth is when you get your visa, yes you’ll be super excited but you won’t feel any special type of way.

This is why it is important to enjoy the journey, because the journey to getting your visa is what will make or break you. Years from now you won’t look back on the day you got your visa but on the sleepless nights you had, the tears the frustrations, the pain and how it shaped you into the strong person you’ve become.

The journey is what matters and getting the visa to relocate out of Nigeria is only the beginning of a whole new world of adapting, learning/unlearning, trying to fit in and making a life for yourself as an immigrant.


Light at the end of the tunnel

Finally it’s here, you’ve gotten your visa, your flight is booked and you’re ready to bounce. You look back on the past months or years and you realise what a strong person you’ve become. You’re excited, you’re anxious, you start having fears of all the things that could go wrong. You think about your family and friends you’re leaving behind, all the people who supported you and made this possible for you.

You think about the country you’re going to, you ask yourself; will I fit in, will people accept me as a Nigerian immigrant, will I make new friends, will I find love, is this the right decision for me. As these thoughts go through your head, remember that many have gone before you and a lot of them had to go through hell to get out; like crossing the Sahara, through Libya to Europe etc.

Regardless of how bad they had it, they survived and you will too. The road won’t always be easy, but you’ll be stronger, you’ll learn and you’ll do your best to make your next dream come true.


Don’t give up!

If you don’t get an approved visa, remember that it took me 9 visa denials before I relocated out of Nigeria. So at some point during your relocation journey, it will start to feel like you’re trying to go through a wall.

No matter how hard your relocation journey gets, you have to stay strong and think about why you chose to relocate in the first place. If you give up, you will never relocate. If you fail to relocate at the first attempt, keep trying, don’t stop fighting and soon enough you’ll relocate.

What scares you the most about relocating? leave a comment below so we can talk about it.

Relocating doesn’t have to be hard. If you need help understanding what it means to relocate, Contact Me

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