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Expats considering a move to Nigeria will naturally have many concerns about life here. From personal safety and security to the transport system and being able to keep in touch with friends and family back home, here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about expat life in this West African country.
How reliable is the electricity supply in Nigeria?
Power supply in Nigeria, even in the larger cities, is notoriously unreliable and most expats have a generator or power inverter to cope with frequent power outages.
How safe will I be in Nigeria?
Although Nigeria has a dubious reputation when it comes to safety and security, the majority of expats enjoy a trouble-free stay there. Companies view the safety of their foreign staff as a priority and most expats live within secure compounds with access control and good security features. Many expats have a car and driver provided so they don’t have to navigate the treacherous Nigerian roads alone, and some may even provide armed escorts, depending on the position and seniority of the employee and their location within Nigeria.
How good are Nigeria's internet and cell phone services?
Mobile phone services are plentiful, reliable and relatively cheap. South African telecommunications operator MTN has the largest cell phone network in Nigeria and offers good value and great coverage, and there are several other service providers to choose from. It's easy to set up WiFi and expats living in accommodation organised by their employer may find it already prepared for their arrival. Internet speeds are decent, but internet access can be very expensive in Nigeria.
Do I need a car in Nigeria?
For most expats, yes – cars are the most common way of getting around. While the thrill and adventure of public transport are relished by some, having one’s own car is vital for safety and comfort, and many expats have a driver who knows their way around navigating the chaotic Nigerian roads.
Is it easy to get a visa for Nigeria?
Getting a visa for Nigeria is pretty straightforward. The main visas expats will consider are tourist visas, business visas, temporary work permits and subject to regularisation visas, and many expats will also require a Combined Expatriate Residence Permit and Aliens Card (CERPAC). The ePortal is helpful for starting online applications, but foreigners should contact the nearest embassy for the latest information on visas and work and residence permits.
What are the schooling options in Nigeria?
Most expats and well-off Nigerians send their children to an international school, and Lagos and Abuja are home to many of these. Education and schooling are highly valued in Nigeria, but the public school system is underfunded. Private schools following an international curriculum offer some of the best teaching and learning facilities. This does come with a price, however. Homeschooling is a feasible alternative for parents who are willing and committed to it.