Nigeria Travel Information

Last modified: July 25, 2023
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Airport Tax

No airport tax is levied on passengers upon embarkation at the airport.

Entry requirements

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.

Entry rules in response to coronavirus (COVID-19)

Entry to Nigeria

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.

Testing / Screening on arrival

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.

Quarantine requirements

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.

Regular entry requirements

Visas

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.

Passport validity

Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of entry into Nigeria.

UK Emergency Travel Documents

UK ETDs are accepted for entry, airside transit and exit from Nigeria providing they are endorsed with the appropriate visa.

Yellow fever certificate requirements

Check whether you need a yellow fever certificate by visiting the National Travel Health Network and Centre’s TravelHealthPro website

Safety and security

Local travel

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.

Northern Nigeria

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 Niger Delta States

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.

Nigeria borders

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.

Criminal kidnaps

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:

  • the northern and Middle Belt states of Adamawa, Sokoto, Zamfara, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Kaduna, Kano, Nassarawa, Plateau and Yobe
  • the Niger Delta states of Abia, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Bayelsa, Delta, Imo and Rivers
  • Edo

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:

  • December 2019 – a British national was kidnapped in Port Harcourt, Rivers State
  • July 2019 – there were reports of four Turkish nationals kidnapped in Ilorin Kwara State
  • April 2019 – a British national was killed by gunmen at a holiday resort in Kajuru, Kaduna state. Three other individuals were kidnapped following the attack.
  • April 2019 – two senior employees of the oil company Shell were kidnapped in the Delta region and were later released.

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.

Curfews

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.

Maritime security

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.

Crime

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.

Scams

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

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.

Air travel

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

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.

Political situation

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.

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