The Nigerian Federal Government has introduced the ‘Brown Card,’ a new legal mechanism allowing eligible foreign nationals to obtain permanent residency.
At a conferment ceremony held at the Nigeria Correctional Service Headquarters, Minister of Interior Rauf Aregbesola announced the launch of the Brown Card, following its approval by President Muhammadu Buhari and the Federal Executive Council.
The Minister stated, “I am pleased to announce the introduction of the Brown Card as the legal instrument for Permanent Residency.
The Minister of Interior now has the authority to grant Permanent Residency to non-Nigerian individuals, enabling them to live and work in Nigeria without the need for renewal every five years, as was previously required.”
The Brown Card will be the official document conferring this newly established status. Eligible candidates for Permanent Residency include foreign nationals of African descent who wish to make Nigeria their home through the ‘Privilege of Return’ program, foreign nationals intending to invest in Nigeria according to established guidelines, foreign nationals who have demonstrated exceptional talents, knowledge, and skills in rare fields such as Science, Technology, Medicine, Engineering, the Arts, Sports, and other areas as determined from time to time, as well as male foreign nationals who have been married to Nigerian women for at least one year.
During the conferment ceremony, Minister Aregbesola presented all deserving foreign nationals to President Buhari for the formal granting of Nigerian citizenship.
He emphasized that the growing number of foreigners seeking Nigerian citizenship is evidence of the Federal Government’s ongoing efforts to make Nigeria an attractive destination for investment and peaceful coexistence.
The Minister stated, “Acquiring Nigerian citizenship is a significant privilege, and not everyone who applies is successful.
However, the fact that we have a considerable number of foreigners eager to become Nigerians demonstrates that our efforts to make Nigeria a destination for investment and peaceful coexistence are yielding positive results.
We continue to welcome foreigners who choose to do business here and, after interacting with us, express a desire to become part of our nation.”
Minister Aregbesola also highlighted that the current administration led by President Muhammadu Buhari has conferred Nigerian citizenship through naturalization or registration to the largest number of foreigners to date.
In 2017, 335 individuals obtained Nigerian citizenship, followed by 286 foreigners in the previous year, and at the conferment ceremony, 385 foreign nationals were granted Nigerian citizenship, bringing the total to 1,006 individuals.
However, the Minister reminded the new citizens of their responsibility to make meaningful contributions to the development of Nigeria in all areas, including defending the nation’s territorial integrity if necessary and promoting the welfare of its people.