Customs regulations for your trip to Nigeria

Last modified: July 25, 2023
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Customs regulations

Used Household Goods and Personal Effects

Documents Required

  • Tax identification number (TIN) from Federal Inland Revenue, Nigeria
  • Original international passport
  • Original resident permit (Cerpac receipt or Green Card)
  • Original packing list in English
  • Original bill of lading (OBL) / telex release / air waybill (AWB)
  • Detailed and valued inventory list in English
  • Certificate of transfer / letter of employment
  • Certificate of fumigation (if the cargo contains wooden crates)
  • Original Nigerian international e-passport (returning citizens)
  • Diplomatic passport (diplomats)
  • Form CC1 (approved by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Customs headquarters in Abuja if meant for use by an Embassy)
  • Letters of authority (see specific information)

Specific Information

  • The owner of the goods must be present for Customs clearance.
  • The original bill of lading must be endorsed by the owner of the goods “delivered to” and signed.
    • Whether using an original bill of lading or air waybill, ensure it is properly consigned per the agent’s instructions and that the original is issued by the shipping line itself.
  • If using a sea waybill or non-negotiable copy or telex release, please ensure you provide a copy of the telex release message from the shipping line, otherwise there is a high probability of issues to release from the shipping line
  • The Nigerian international e-passport must be obtained in the origin country prior to departure as non-electronic passports are not accepted (returning citizens).
  • Original bill of lading required for all diplomatic shipments.
  • Containers with house original bills of lading from an NVOCC / consolidator / forwarder will not be released.
  • Returning Nigerian residents must have continuously lived abroad for at least 9 months and not visited Nigeria for more than 90 days within the previous 2 years of re-entry; otherwise, the shipment will be deemed a commercial import and will be subject to inspection and duties.
    • Customs will check the entry and exit stamps on the passport to calculate the applicable time periods.
  • Customs clearance can begin up to 28 days from the discharge of the container.
  • Wood packing materials in shipment containers must comply with ISPM-15 rules and guidelines and all crates must be stamped ISPM-15.
  • Crates and liftvans in wood are subject to an additional cost of 120 USD per 20’ container and 180 USD per 40’ container.
    • Failure to stamp the crates will result in an additional cost of 250 USD per 20’ container and 500 USD per 40’ container.
  • Storage and demurrage charges are generally charged on all household goods and personal effects shipments.
    • Amounts range from at least USD 400-1,500 for demurrage and storage per container.
  • The average clearance time for a sea shipment is approximately 3 weeks, dependent on issues of manifest transmission, access to the container, Customs assessment of the contents or qualification of the owner of the goods to import the shipment.
  • Diplomats require a letter of authority written by the Embassy from the entities identified below:
    • The Area Comptroller of Customs of the Nigeria Customs Service
    • The officer in charge of NDLEA
    • The officer in charge of SSS, Police, Anti – Bomb Squad, SON, DMI
    • The Releasing Manager of steam shipping line
  • As of November 3, 2015, all global port shipping lines are expected to register on the platform before booking cargo to Nigeria
    • Prior to loading cargo owners of the goods must obtain from the platform an Entry Summary Number (ENS) which must be advised to the shipping line agent and incorporated on the bill of lading and manifest by the shipping line agent.
  • Form M number must be reflected on Bills of Lading and Cargo Manifests for commercial goods.

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:

  • 200 cigarettes or 50 medium sized cigars or 200 grams of tobacco of foreign manufacture;
  • 1 liter of spirits and 1 liter of wine;
  • 284 centiliter of perfume or eau-de-Cologne or other perfumed spirits;
  • personal effects;
  • gifts valued up to NGN 50,000.- (excl. jewellery, photographic equipment, electronics and luxury goods).

Restricted/Dutiable Items

  • Firearms, real or toy (a government permit is required)
  • Old furniture in large quantities (more than a set per room is subject to fines, duties and taxes)
  • Electronic equipment
  • Pharmaceutical products (cannot be carried in checked baggage)
  • The following items are subject to duties if contained in a passenger’s baggage, unless the passenger is a temporary visitor or submits a certificate of re-importation obtained on department or can prove possession and use for the last 3 years.
    • Cameras (100%)
    • Projectors (100%)
    • Radios (50%)
    • Records (66%)
    • Tape recorders (40%)
    • Typewriters (40%)
  • The following items may qualify for free import if within the limits indicated:
    • Cigarettes (200), cigars (50 medium ), tobacco (200 g) of foreign manufacture
    • Spirits and wine (1 L)
    • Perfumes (284 cu. cm)
  • For the import of plants, seeds, flowers, passengers should be advised to consult in advance the Director of Agricultural Research, Plant Quarantine Service, Federal Dept. of Agricultural Research, Moor Plantation, Ibadan about the conditions under which importation is permitted. Non-compliance with these conditions will result in such items being confiscated by the Plant Quarantine Officer at the airport of arrival and passengers must pay for the destruction.
    • No pharmaceutical products may be carried in passengers’ checked baggage.
    • 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.

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.

Prohibited Items

Nigeria’s list of prohibited or restricted imports is as follows:

  • Live or dead birds including frozen poultry
  • Pork, beef
  • Bird’s eggs, excluding hatching eggs
  • Refined vegetable oils and fats (includes mayonnaise).   Crude vegetable oil is NOT banned from importation
  • Cane or beet sugar and chemically pure sucrose, in solid form in retail packs
  • Cocoa butter, powder and cakes
  • Spaghetti/noodles
  • Fruit Juice in retail packs
  • Waters, including mineral waters and aerated waters containing added sugar or sweetening matter or flavored, ice snow, other non-alcoholic beverages and beer and stout (bottled, canned or otherwise packed, but excluding energy or health drinks (liquid dietary supplements)
  • Bagged cement
  • Paracetamol tablets and syrups
  • Cotrimoxazole tablets and syrups
  • Metronidazole tablets and syrups
  • Chloroquine tablets and syrups
  • Haematinic formulations; ferrous sulphate and ferrous gluconate tablets, folic acid tablets, vitamin B Complex Tablets (except modified released formulations)
  • Multivitamin tablets, capsules and syrups (except special formulations)
  • Aspirin tablets (except modified released formulation and soluble aspirin)
  • Magnesium trisilicate tablets and suspensions
  • Piperazine tablets and syrups
  • Levamisole tablets and syrups
  • Clotrimazole cream
  • Ointments – penicillin/gentamycin
  • Pyrantel pamoate tablets and syrups
  • Intravenous fluids (dextrose, normal saline, etc.)
  • Waste Pharmaceuticals
  • Mineral or Chemical Fertilizers containing two or three of the fertilizing elements nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (NPK 15-15-15), excluding organic fertilizer
  • Soaps and Detergents in retail packs only
  • Mosquito Repellant Coils
  • Rethreaded and used Pneumatic tires but excluding used trucks tires for rethreading of sized 11,00 x 20 and above
  • Corrugated Paper and Paper Boards, and cartons, boxes and cases made from corrugated paper and paper boards, toilet paper, cleaning or facial tissue, excluding baby diapers and incontinent pads for adult use
  • Telephone Re-charge cards and vouchers
  • Carpets and other textile floor coverings
  • All types of Foot Wears, Bags and Suitcases but excluding Safety Shoes used in oil industries, sports shoes, canvass shoes all Completely Knocked Down (CKD) blanks and parts
  • Hollow Glass Bottles of a capacity exceeding 150mls (0.15 liters) of all kinds used for packaging of beverages by breweries and other beverage and drink companies
  • Used compressors and used fridges/freezers
  • Used Motor Vehicles above fifteen (15) years from the year of manufacture
  • Ball Point Pens and parts including refills (excluding tip)
  • Tomato Paste or Concentrate put up for retail sale

In addition, NCS lists items whose importation is “absolutely prohibited:”

  1. Air Pistols
  2. Airmail Photographic Printing Paper
  3. All counterfeit/pirated materials or articles including Base or Counterfeit Coin of any Country
  4. Beads composed of inflammable celluloid or other similar substances
  5. Blank invoices
  6. Coupons for Foreign Football pools or other betting arrangements
  7. Cowries
  8. Exhausted tea or tea mixed with other substances
  9. Implements appertaining to the reloading of cartridges
  10. Indecent or obscene prints, painting, books, cards, engraving or any indecent or obscene articles
  11. Manilas
  12. Matches made with white phosphorous
  13. Materials of any description with a design which, considering the purpose for which any such material is intended to be used, is likely in – the opinion of the president to create a breach of the peace or to offend the religious views of any class of persons in Nigeria
  14. Meat, Vegetables or other provisions declared by a health officer to be unfit for human consumption
  15. Piece goods and all other textiles including wearing apparel, hardware of all kinds’ crockery and china or earthenware goods bearing inscriptions (whether in Roman or Arabic characters) from the Koran or from the traditions and commentaries on the Koran
  16. Pistols disguised in any form
  17. Second-hand clothing
  18. Silver or metal alloy coins not being legal tender in Nigeria
  19. Nuclear Industrial waste and other Toxic waste
  20. Some spirits
  21. Weapons and ammunition of any description which in the opinion of the Comptroller-General are designed for the discharge of any noxious liquid, gas or other similar substance

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:

  1. Rice
  2. Cement
  3. Margarine
  4. Palm kernel/Palm oil products/vegetables oils
  5. Meat and processed meat products
  6. Vegetables and processed vegetable products
  7. Poultry chicken, eggs, turkey
  8. Private airplanes/jets
  9. Indian incense
  10. Tinned fish in sauce (Geisha)/sardines
  11. Cold rolled steel sheets
  12. Galvanized steel sheets
  13. Roofing sheets
  14. Wheelbarrows
  15. Head pans
  16. Metal boxes and containers
  17. Enamelware
  18. Steel drums
  19. Steel pipes
  20. Wire rods (deformed and not deformed)
  21. Iron rods and reinforcing bard
  22. Wire mesh
  23. Steel nails
  24. Security and razor wire
  25. Wood particle boards and panels
  26. Wood Fibre Boards and Panels
  27. Plywood boards and panels
  28. Wooden doors
  29. Furniture
  30. Toothpicks
  31. Glass and Glassware
  32. Kitchen utensils
  33. Tableware
  34. Tiles-vitrified and ceramic
  35. Textiles
  36. Woven fabrics
  37. Clothes
  38. Plastic and rubber products, polypropylene granules, cellophane wrappers
  39. Soap and cosmetics
  40. Tomatoes/tomato pastes
  41. Eurobond/foreign currency bond/ share purchases
  42. Fertilizer
  43. Dairy
  • Beer, mineral water and soft drinks
  • Sparkling wine and champagne
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Cereals
  • Eggs
  • Precious metals
  • New furniture (if shipped, heavy fines and duties / taxes will be charged or Customs will seize the items at their discretion.
  • All fruits, vegetables, cereals and eggs either fresh or preserved;
    • Textile fabrics and mosquito netting;
    • Jewelry and precious metals.

Miscellaneous (Pets, Motors, and others.)

Wild Fauna and Flora:

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.

Prohibited:

  • All kinds of beer, mineral water and soft drinks;
  • sparkling wine (including champagne);
  • all fruits, vegetables, cereals and eggs either fresh or preserved;
  • textile fabrics and mosquito netting;
  • jewelry and precious metals.

Pets:

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

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.

Motor Vehicles

Documents Required

  • Original purchase invoice / certificate of value and other related car documents
  • CC3 Form (approved by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Customs headquarters in Abuja)
  • Original bill of lading
  • Scan passport

 Specific Information

  • Vehicles older than 8 years cannot be imported.

Pets

Documents Required

  • Vaccination record
  • Veterinary health certificate

Specific Information

  • The veterinary health certificate and vaccination record must be issued by a veterinarian in the origin country and must be issued within 1 week of department.
  • Pets may enter as passenger’s checked baggage or as cargo.
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