Customs regulations and required documents
Personal effects import regulations
NCS’ Customs and Excise Tariff is based on the Customs Cooperation Council Nomenclature (CCCN). Duties are either specific or ad valorem, depending on the commodity, and are payable in Nigerian Naira upon entry. Import tariffs are non-preferential and apply equally to all countries outside the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). A local insurance company must insure all imported goods. A special duty may be imposed on imported goods if the government feels that such goods are being dumped or unfairly subsidized, thus threatening established or potential domestic industries.
Duties previously paid on abandoned, re-exported, damaged, or destroyed goods may be refunded. However, a claim must be made before the goods leave customs custody. A destruction certificate must be obtained from a customs officer to obtain a refund of duties paid for goods that were subsequently destroyed. Upon presentation of a customs certificate attesting to the landing of goods in another country, duties paid on such goods in Nigeria will be refunded.
Homosexuality is generally viewed as unacceptable in Nigeria. The ‘Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Bill’ allows lengthy prison sentences for those entering into a same sex marriage, those witnessing, aiding or abetting a same sex marriage, the operation and support of gay clubs, societies and organisations and the public display of same sex relationships. See our information and advice page for the LGBT community before you travel.
Possession, use of or trafficking in illegal drugs is a serious offence and can result in lengthy prison sentences and heavy fines.
It is illegal to import beer, mineral water, soft drinks, sparkling wine, fruits, vegetables, cereals, eggs, textile fabrics, jewellery, and precious metals. It is illegal to export pieces of African art, particularly antiques, without written authorisation from the Department of Antiquities. Contact the Nigeria High Commission in London for more information about customs requirements.
Nigeria has the largest Muslim population in sub-Saharan Africa. You should behave and dress modestly, particularly in the north and when visiting religious sites. See Travelling during Ramadan.
Photography of government, military buildings and airports may lead to arrest.
Nigeria aborted its pre-shipment inspection policy in favor of a destination inspection policy for imports. Under this policy, all imports are inspected on arrival into Nigeria. The Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) is currently in the initial stages of procuring scanning equipment which is expected to scan containers in a more accurate and timely manner. More information on Nigeria’s destination inspection policy.
The Nigeria Trade Hub serves as an information portal for traders. Users are able to classify their imports/exports, estimate freight charges and applicable duty, find information on clearing processes etc.
To receive clearance for goods imported into Nigeria, traders must present a Bill of Lading, Commercial Invoice Exit Note, duly completed Form ‘M’, Packing list, Single Goods Declaration, and a Product Certificate. Until recently, the importer was also required to submit a Combined Certificate Value & Origin (CCVO) which contains the description of goods, port of destination, country of origin, date of shipment, country of supply etc. However, in line with international trading procedures and recommendations from stakeholders, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) reviewed its trade transactions guidelines and replaced the CCVO with the simpler Certificate of Origin in April 2017. The revision also prescribes a 48-hour maximum processing time from the receipt of application.
Nigeria’s Single Window Portal is a trade facilitation project of 12 Nigerian Government agencies involved in the customs clearance process. The Single Window Portal allows traders to access customs regulations online, submit customs documents electronically, track transaction status online, and submit electronic payments. The Single Window Portal can be accessed at: https://www.trade.gov.ng. The Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) is also developing a Single Window Platform as part of projects in its pipeline. The objective is to coordinate all port related and cargo clearance activities for a seamless and paperless operation.
The NCS uses a Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR) system which allows importers to submit their import documents online for assessment and clearance prior to the arrival of the cargo. This replaced the Risk Assessment Report System in 2013 with the objective of facilitating trade and revenue collection. The NCS is also working with the World Customs Organization to grant Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) status to importers and clearing agents who have maintained a satisfactory level of trade compliance. Likewise, the NCS maintains a Fast Track window through which select importers may forward their cargoes directly to their warehouses where customs procedures such as examination and payments are undertaken. This allows the importer to bypass tedious ports inspection processes and reduces costs associated with port storage and demurrage. Importers selected as beneficiaries of the Fast Track Scheme are those who have consistently exhibited integrity in their documentation and dealings with NCS.
Free import by passengers of 18 years of age or over:
Nigeria began the implementation of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Common External Tariffs (CET) on January 1, 2015 in compliance with ECOWAS Heads of State’s adoption of a five-band regional CET. The CET was slated to be fully harmonized by 2020 but is not yet complete. ECOWAS CET seeks to liberalize trade in line with WTO guidelines by harmonizing tariff charges within ECOWAS countries and strengthening its common market vis-à-vis non-member countries. Nigeria is among ten ECOWAS member countries which have adopted the CET thus far. ECOWAS had expected the remaining five countries to adopt the CET by January 2017. However, member countries, including Nigeria, can continue to employ restrictive trade policies on many food and agricultural products. To this end, the Federal Government since August 2019 closed Nigeria’s land borders with Benin and Niger to curb smuggling of mostly agricultural products from the said markets. The Federal Government has stated that the action was based on the governments of both Benin and Niger failing to adhere to the tenets of the ECOWAS CET.
Nigeria maintains several supplemental levies and duties on selected imports that significantly raise effective tariff rates. For example, Nigeria has an effective duty (Tariff, Levy, Excise and Value Added Tax (VAT) where applicable) of 50% or more on over 80 tariff lines. These include about 35 tariff lines whose effective duties exceed the 70% limit set by ECOWAS. Most of these items are luxury goods such as yachts, motorboats and other vehicles for pleasure (75%) as well as on alcohol (75% to 95%) and tobacco products (95%). In addition, Nigeria places high effective duty rates on imports into strategic sectors to boost the competitiveness of the local industries. Such sectors are agriculture where wheat, sugar, rice and tomato paste have effective rates of 85%, 75%, 70% and 50% respectively, and mining with an effective duty of 70% on salt and 55% on cement.
In October 2013, the Nigerian government announced an Automotive Industry Development Plan (NAIDP), which seeks to expand domestic vehicle manufacturing. The NAIDP imposes a 35% levy on automobile imports, over and above the 35% tariff already levied, for an effective total duty of 70%. The NAIDP allows companies that manufacture or assemble cars in Nigeria to import one vehicle for every one manufactured in Nigeria.
Nigeria’s list of prohibited or restricted imports is as follows:
In addition, NCS lists items whose importation is “absolutely prohibited:”
Besides the import restrictions by NCS, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in 2015 restricted access to foreign exchange at the official window for importers of several items. Instead, importers of the under-listed items source foreign exchange from the parallel market where the price of forex is significantly higher than the official rate. However, in May 2017, the CBN lifted the restriction on importers whose cumulative transactions are $20,000 and below per quarter.
Items which are ineligible for Foreign Exchange at the CBN’s Official Window are as follows:
The import of certain endangered species of plant, live animals and their products is prohibited or restricted under CITES.
For further details please refer to CITES: www.cites.org.
Additional Information on regulations:
Restrictions apply for import of plants, seeds and flowers.
No pharmaceutical products may be carried in passengers’ checked baggage.
A substantial amount of duty will be levied on cameras (100%), projectors (100%), radios (50%), records (66%), tape recorders (40%), typewriters (40%) etc. contained in a passenger’s baggage, unless passenger is either a temporary visitor, or can submit a certificate of re-importation obtained on departure, or can provide proof that the items concerned have been in use and in his possession for at least 3 years.
Dogs and cats must be accompanied by a health certificate and rabies certificate issued by a veterinary at point of origin. The certificate may not be older than 1 week. Pets may enter as passenger’s checked baggage or as cargo.
Baggage Clearance regulations:
Baggage is cleared at the first airport of entry in Nigeria.
Exempt: baggage of transit passengers with a destination outside of Nigeria, which remains on board when continuing on the same international flight, or is transferred automatically by handling agents when continuing on another international flight.
Currency Import regulations:
Local currency (Nigerian Naira-NGN) up to NGN 5,000.- in banknotes and if declared upon arrival. Foreign currencies for an unlimited amount, if declared upon arrival.
Currency Export regulations:
Residents: local currency (Nigerian Naira-NGN): up to NGN 5,000.- in banknotes. Foreign currencies: up to USD 5,000.-. Exceeding amounts must be declared upon departure.
Non-residents: local currency: up to NGN 5,000.- in banknotes if declared upon departure. foreign currencies: up to the amounts imported and declared on arrival.
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No airport tax is levied on passengers upon embarkation at the airport.
The Nigerian High Commission have announced the suspension of all Immigration Services from 22 December until further notice. Please continue to monitor their website for further announcements.
The information on this page covers the most common types of travel and reflects the UK government’s understanding of the rules currently in place. Unless otherwise stated, this information is for travellers using a full ‘British Citizen’ passport.
The authorities in the country or territory you’re travelling to are responsible for setting and enforcing the rules for entry. If you’re unclear about any aspect of the entry requirements, or you need further reassurance, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.
You should also consider checking with your transport provider or travel company to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.
International commercial flights resumed in Abuja and Lagos on 5 September, following a postponement from the original date of 29 August. Contact your airline for the latest information.
The Nigerian Immigration Service announced the resumption of passport and migrant registration on 1 July.
The Nigerian authorities have advised that British nationals who exceed their authorised visa stays because of travel restrictions linked to coronavirus, will not be penalised for overstaying when they depart. If your visa expired before the start of the lockdown, you will be penalised, for the period up to the start of lockdown.
Prior to departure, passengers travelling to Nigeria must complete the on-line pre-boarding health declaration at the Nigeria International Travel Portal. They must also have tested negative for COVID-19 within 96 hours of their departure to Nigeria, and have uploaded their PCR test certificate to the on-line Travel Portal. Passengers must also carry evidence of the test and result when they travel. Only a COVID-19 PCR test is acceptable to the Nigerian authorities. Also before travel, passengers must book and pay for a repeat PCR test for day 7 of their arrival in Nigeria at the Nigeria International Travel Portal– evidence of the booking will be required on arrival. On arrival all passengers will be screened by Port Health Officials and be required to provide full contact details, including their address in Nigeria.
The Nigerian government has said it will closely monitor whether passengers are following the quarantine measures and conducting the repeat PCR test. On 21 December, the Federal Government announced that it would impose sanctions on travellers to Nigeria who fail to take the repeat PCR test on day 7.
You should not use the NHS testing service to get a test in order to facilitate your travel to another country. You should arrange to take a private test.
All new arrivals are expected to self-isolate at one location in the city of their arrival until the result of their second PCR test (which should be taken on day 7 of arrival) is known. If the second test is negative individuals can exit self-isolation from day 8 onwards. Anyone that has developed symptoms of coronavirus during their travel or later tests positive will be managed according to national guidelines for COVID-19 treatment. This may require quarantine at a government-monitored treatment centre.
You should get a valid visa before travelling.
Some business travellers might be eligible to apply for a visa on arrival. Applications for a visa on arrival must be made in advance and applicants must obtain a pre-approval letter from the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) before travelling. Guidance on applying for a visa on arrival is available on the NIS website.
If you have a valid Nigerian residence permit (CERPAC or Green Card) you don’t need a visa to enter Nigeria.
For further information on entry requirements, contact the Nigeria High Commission in London.
Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of entry into Nigeria.
UK ETDs are accepted for entry, airside transit and exit from Nigeria providing they are endorsed with the appropriate visa.
Check whether you need a yellow fever certificate by visiting the National Travel Health Network and Centre’s TravelHealthPro website
There are ongoing protests about police conduct in Abuja, Lagos and other locations across Nigeria. These protests can occur spontaneously and unpredictably. You should pay attention to media and social media reports on protest locations, minimise movements and avoid demonstrations.
The al Qaeda-linked terrorist group Jamaat al Ansar al Muslimeen fi Bilad al Sudan, better known as Ansaru, claims to have killed at least six people, kidnapped dozens, and destroyed several vehicles during an ambush along the Kaduna-Zaira highway in Kaduna State. You should avoid regular patterns of travel or movement, and aim to only travel during daylight hours. See Terrorism.
Since January 2018, the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) has protested regularly in central Abuja and other cities. These protests, particularly in Abuja, have the potential to turn violent. Local media reported a fatality on 21 January 2020 when police allegedly fired gunshots and tear gas to disperse protesters near the Berger roundabout in Wuse, Abuja. Tensions remain heightened. You should monitor local media, avoid any demonstrations or large gatherings and follow any instructions from local police and security forces.
Inter-communal violence can occur throughout Nigeria, particularly in the central belt states. You should be alert to local government announcements and media reporting, and seek advice before travelling to the affected areas. In recent months, violent incidents between farming and pastoralist communities have increased with many deaths in certain rural communities.
Political rallies, protests and violent demonstrations can occur with little notice throughout the country. International news events can sometimes trigger anti-Western demonstrations. There is the potential for increased tension on Fridays. Keep yourself informed of developments and if you encounter a threatening or intimidating situation, don’t try to make your way through it. Turn round and move to safety.
If you’re working in Nigeria, you should follow your employer’s local security guidelines. You are strongly advised to take professional security advice, be vigilant at all times and review your security measures regularly. Keep others informed of your travel plans and vary your routines. Make sure your accommodation is secure and consider pre-deployment training or travelling under close protection.
Be vigilant and take local advice on areas to avoid. Take particular care if you’re visiting crowded public places or attending events which attract large crowds. Criminals often use these situations as cover for robbery and theft.
The FCDO advise against all travel to Borno State, Yobe State, Adamawa State, Gombe State, and within 20km of the border with Niger in Zamfara State. There are frequent violent attacks. The main threat is from extremists linked to JASDJ and ISWA. See Terrorism
The FCDO advise against all but essential travel to: Bauchi State, Zamfara State, Kano State, Kaduna State, Jigawa State, Katsina State; and within 20km of the border with Niger in Sokoto & Kebbi States. There is a high risk of violent attacks and inter-communal tensions can lead to outbreaks of violence. On 11 December, armed men attacked a secondary school in Kankara, Katsina State, North West Nigeria and abducted over 300 children.
If you travel to areas to which the FCDO advise against travel, you’re particularly at risk and will need a high level of security. If you’re working in northern Nigeria you should make sure your employers provide an adequate level of security where you live and where you work. Make sure they regularly review security arrangements and familiarise yourself with those plans. You should avoid regular patterns of travel or movement, and aim to travel only during daylight hours. Westerners have been kidnapped from protected compounds.
Regular military operations are ongoing in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states. If you live or work in Nigeria you should monitor developments in these states and announcements by the state governments as there is an increased threat of retaliatory attacks elsewhere in Nigeria as a result of these military operations.
There has been an increase in insurgent attacks in Borno State. Since October 2019, there has been an increasing trend of terrorist groups constructing illegal vehicle checkpoints on major supply and commercial routes in Northern Nigeria and attacking vehicles travelling on major roads into Maiduguri, Borno State, including the A3 Maiduguri-Damaturu road. These attacks have directly targeted civilians, security forces and aid workers. Furthermore, 2020 has seen increased activity by terrorist groups and related violent incidents in the immediate vicinity of humanitarian hubs. A humanitarian hub was targeted during an attack on Monguno town on 13 June 2020. This was followed by negative propaganda about humanitarian activity in the Northeast. In July, shots were fired at a UN humanitarian helicopter in the region. Local humanitarian staff were executed in an unrelated event.
If you’re in the North East against FCDO advice, keep in touch with the authorities and the wider community on the security situation and make sure your procedures and contingency plans are up to date. If you are working in the North East of Nigeria you should be fully confident in your employer’s ability to extract you from the North East in the event of any emergency.
The FCDO advise against all travel to the riverine areas (ie the river and swamp locations on or close to the coast accessible by boat, but not by road) of Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Cross River States.
The FCDO advise against all but essential travel to Abia State and non-riverine areas of Delta, Bayelsa and Rivers States.
Militant groups are active across the Niger Delta area and have carried out a number of attacks on oil and gas infrastructure. There’s a high risk of armed robbery, criminality and criminal kidnap in the Niger Delta area.
Additional checks are in place at the Nigeria-Benin, Nigeria-Niger and Nigeria-Cameroon land borders. If you’re planning to make a land crossing from Nigeria, check with the local authorities for the latest information before travelling.
There’s a high threat of kidnap throughout Nigeria.
Those engaged in tourism, humanitarian aid work, journalism or business are viewed as legitimate targets. If you are kidnapped, the reason for your presence is unlikely to serve as protection or secure your safe release. Incidents of criminal kidnap can occur in any part of the country, at any time, with an increased risk in:
As well as kidnap related to terrorism, kidnapping for ransom is also common in Nigeria, with foreigners and high-profile Nigerians frequently targeted. Criminal groups target whole communities or individuals, for robbery or kidnap, sometimes along major highways. In 2019 this has been particularly prevalent on the Abuja – Kaduna highway. It also occurs along the Enugu-Awka-Onitsha expressway in Anambra.
In the past 5 years several foreign nationals, including British nationals, have been kidnapped and in some cases killed. Most of these kidnaps occurred in the Niger Delta region. In 2019, there has been a spike in criminal gangs operating in Zamfara State, north-western Nigeria, and multiple abductions of locals for ransom. There is a high threat of kidnapping and other armed attacks targeting oil and gas facilities and workers in the Niger Delta region. This also applies to ships and oil rigs at sea off the coast of the Niger Delta. British nationals of Nigerian origin visiting friends and relatives are often perceived as being wealthier than locals and are at particular risk of kidnap for ransom.
Recent incidents have included:
The great majority of kidnapping victims remain ordinary Nigerians, including doctors and students. Foreigners as well as Nigerian businessmen, traditional rulers and politicians are often targeted in the expectation of a high ransom reward. When arranging meetings in Nigeria make sure those who attend are known to you and hold the meeting at a secure location.
The long-standing policy of the British government is not to make substantive concessions to hostage takers. The British government considers that paying ransoms and releasing prisoners increases the risk of further hostage taking. The Terrorism Act (2000) also makes payments to terrorists illegal.
There are often curfews in parts of Maiduguri, Borno State and Adamawa State. Curfews and restrictions on the movement of vehicles, can be imposed, amended and lifted at short notice throughout Nigeria.
Failure to comply with all curfews and movement restrictions could put you at significant risk. You should check with the local authorities or someone with local knowledge for up to date information on curfews and restrictions before you travel.
There have been armed robberies and incidents of piracy in Nigerian waters, the wider Gulf of Guinea, and on the rivers and harbours in the Niger Delta area. Mariners should seek professional security advice, be vigilant and take appropriate precautions.
Throughout Nigeria there are high levels of violent street crime including muggings, kidnappings, car-jackings and armed robbery.
Criminals have targeted visiting British nationals as their perceived wealth makes them an attractive victim.
You should be vigilant at all times, even if staying with friends and family, follow the security guidance offered by employers or hosts and limit road travel at night as far as possible. Avoid carrying large amounts of cash and don’t wear valuable watches, jewellery or items of sentimental value. If you suspect danger, move to a safer area.
There are reports of criminal intent to target areas around international hotels in Abuja. It is likely that these potential attacks would be carried out by armed gangs. At this time of heightened threat, avoid loitering outside hotel security cordons and be extra vigilant when travelling in their vicinity.
If you’re caught up in an armed robbery, you should immediately comply with the attackers’ demands. Those who have suffered injury or worse during such attacks have been perceived as not complying fully or quickly enough.
A British national was tragically killed in Kaduna on Friday 19 April 2019. The FCDO continue to advise against all but essential travel to Kaduna. You should exercise additional vigilance in crowded public places.
British nationals are increasingly being targeted by scam artists operating in West Africa. The scams come in many forms including romance and friendship, business ventures and work or employment opportunities. Scams can pose great financial risk to victims. You should be very cautious about any requests for funds, a job offer, a business venture or a face to face meeting from someone you have been in correspondence with over the internet who lives in West Africa. You can read more about scam or ‘419’emails and letters on the Action Fraud website.
If you or your relatives or friends are asked to transfer money to Nigeria you should make absolutely sure that it is not part of a scam and that you have properly checked with the person receiving the money that they are requesting it. If the caller claims to be in distress, you should ask whether they have reported the incident (by phone or e-mail) to the British Deputy High Commission in Lagos.
People have received scam e-mails claiming to be from a British High Commission office in Nigeria. If you receive an email that appears to be from any British High Commission office in Nigeria asking for bank details or money, you should immediately contact the Consular Section of the British Deputy High Commission in Lagos.
If you’re considering fertility treatment in Nigeria, you should be cautious. There have been a number of staged fake births (commonly called ‘miracle babies’) which result in visitors being falsely led to believe they have given birth. You should be aware of the risks associated with bringing a child who is not biologically related to you into the UK without following appropriate legal procedures.
Road travel across Nigeria can be chaotic and slow moving. You should take a mobile telephone and a supply of bottled water with you when travelling by car.
You can drive in Nigeria with a valid UK driving licence for up to 3 months. If you’re staying longer, you will need to get a Nigerian Driver’s Licence. You can contact the Federal Road Safety Corp on their website.
You should limit travel after dark outside city centres as far as possible; and avoid quiet and poorly lit roads. You should be particularly vigilant when sitting in traffic jams or at traffic lights. Keep car windows up and doors locked, and make sure valuables are out of sight. If you feel your vehicle is being followed, drive to the nearest place of safety (eg the nearest police station).
You should take particular care when driving outside cities and consider travelling in convoy and avoid travel after dark.
In Lagos, eating, smoking or using a mobile phone while driving and riding a motorcycle without a helmet are prohibited. Motorists face fines or imprisonment for violations.
There are authorised and unauthorised vehicle checkpoints throughout Nigeria. Some are for security checks, others to extort small payments of money. You should slow down at any type of checkpoint and use common sense at all times.
Since October 2019, there has been an increasing trend of illegal vehicle checkpoints on major supply and commercial routes in Northern Nigeria. This includes attacks on major roads into Maiduguri, Borno State, including the A3 Maiduguri-Damaturu road. These attacks have directly targeted civilians, security forces and aid workers.
There are frequent reports of robberies and car-jackings, some involving armed gunmen, on Nigeria’s urban and rural road network.
Public transport throughout Nigeria is dangerous. Taxis and long distance buses are often poorly maintained, uninsured and driven by unqualified drivers. Most major hotels offer cars for hire with drivers. You should use these where possible.
If you are expecting a greeter or driver to collect you at any of Nigeria’s international airports, make sure they have properly identified themselves before you set off. Bogus greeters are a problem.
You can find a list of recent incidents and accidents on the website of the Aviation Safety network.
The FCDO can’t offer advice on the safety of individual airlines. However, the International Air Transport Association publishes lists of registered airlines that have been audited and found to meet a number of operational safety standards and recommended practices – IATA Operational Safety Audit and IATA Standard Safety Assessment. These lists aren’t exhaustive and the absence of an airline from this list doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s unsafe.
The International Civil Aviation Organisation has carried out an audit of the level of implementation of the critical elements of safety oversight in Nigeria.
Med-View airline has been refused permission to operate services to the EU due to safety deficiencies. However, Med-View airline may continue to operate services to the EU using aircraft leased from other airlines. You can find a full list of airlines banned from operating within the EU on the European Commission website. Refusal of permission to operate is often based on inspections of aircraft at EU airports. The fact that an airline isn’t included in the list doesn’t automatically mean that it meets the applicable safety standards. British government employees travelling within Nigeria have been advised to use carriers that aren’t subject to the EU operating ban.
Arik Air has suspended a number of flights due to operational difficulties. If you have a booking with Arik Air, check with the airline or your travel company in case your flight is affected.
Airlines flying between Nigeria and London can occasionally become overbooked.
Swimming off the coast of Nigeria is dangerous due to rip tides and undertows, drownings occur each year. You should take care and seek local advice.
President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress Party was democratically re-elected for a second term in February 2019.
Before President Buhari took office, Goodluck Jonathan of the People’s Democratic Party was President from 2010 – 2015.
The current Nigerian Constitution was enacted in 1999 and restored democratic rule to Nigeria, bringing an end to 30 years of military rule.
Nigeria’s National Day falls on 1 October, and marks the anniversary of Nigeria’s independence from Britain in 1960.