Nigeria - Country Commercial Guide
Business Travel

Includes information on business customs, travel advisory, visa requirements, and other aspects of international travel.

Last published date: 2021-10-13

Business Customs

Business visitors should be appropriately dressed.  Casual dress may convey a casual attitude. Titles should be used, particularly traditional and honorific titles.  Company representatives should be flexible in business dealings and be able to make decisions on contractual matters without lengthy referral to their home offices.  In Nigeria, important business transactions are conducted face-to-face.  No worthwhile transactions can be completed quickly or impersonally.  Follow up visits are common.

Business appointments preferably are made through personal calls, emails, cell phone conversations, text messages, or even hand delivered notes, since the landline-based telephone/fax system is unreliable, and the mail is slow.  Nigerians are not known for punctuality.  Visitors should confirm their appointments and contacts well before departure from the U.S.  Important documents or correspondence should be sent via reputable courier, such as FedEx, DHL or UPS, and be addressed to a Private Mail Bag (PMB) or Post Office Box (P.O. Box) as well as a street address.

Travel Advisory

Check information posted at the State Department’s travel advisory on Nigeria.

Visa Requirements

Visitors to Nigeria will need a valid passport and visa.  This requirement does not apply to those who are citizens of member states of ECOWAS.  Please visit the Nigerian Embassy or Consulates in the United States websites for general visa requirements. It is advisable for U.S. travelers to make specific visa enquiries at Nigerian Embassies and Consulates well in advance of the anticipated dates of travel. U.S. Companies that require travel of foreign businesspersons to the United States should be advised that security evaluations are handled via an interagency process. Visa applicants should go to the following links.

COVID-19 Protocols

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, travelers visiting Nigeria must self-isolate for a minimum of seven (7) days and then retest. Visitors must continue to self-isolate until the test results are received (usually between 24 – 48 hours). Visitors must wear face masks when taking public transportation or visiting government facilities. While there are no stated fines for non-compliance with COVID-19 protocols, there have been instances where individuals have been harassed by law enforcement for not having masks on.

Currency

Nigerian currency is the naira (N).  Notes come in denominations of 1000, 500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10 and 5.  Coins exist but are seldom used.  Debit and credit cards of Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted and can be used at most bank ATMs. Travelers checks are not common and finding outlets willing to change them is difficult. Even if you do, the rates are high.

Telecommunications & Electric

International direct dialing is available.  The country code for Nigeria is +234, and the outgoing international code is 009. City codes are also required when dialing a landline.  There are four major GSM mobile phone service providers covering Nigeria with about 173 million subscribers.  Internet penetration is high and expanding rapidly. Most big hotels have internet connectivity and provide complimentary Wi-Fi to guests. Nigeria operates on a 230V supply voltage and 50Hz and use plug types D and G.

Transportation

Taxi service is available in Lagos and most other urban areas, but yellow cabs are not recommended, as they are old, often unreliable, and can be unsafe.  In the past three years, many company-run and well-managed taxi services have sprung up. Fares should be negotiated in advance, particularly to and from airports.  Cars with drivers are also available for hire through hotels and car rental agents and use of those services is a recommended alternative to taxis.  Uber (including its low-cost service, UberX) and Taxify now offer rides in Lagos and Abuja. 

Congested airport facilities in Lagos often lead to long delays, and airline reservations may not be honored due to overbooking, particularly on domestic flights.  Domestic airline schedules have recently become unreliable.  Lack of aviation fuel, among other reasons, can cause substantial delays or result in cancellation of flights.  Travelers on international flights should arrive at the airport at least three hours before scheduled departure.  Nigeria has achieved FAA Category 1 status.

Language

English is the official language of Nigeria, although it is a second language for many Nigerians who also speak one of several indigenous languages, such as Yoruba, Hausa, and Igbo.  Business travelers will find that most government officials and businesspeople speak English well.

Health

Many infectious diseases are prevalent in Nigeria including COVID-19.  Untreated water, ice and unpeeled fruits and raw vegetables should be avoided.  Visitors can be turned back at the port of entry if their yellow fever immunization is not current.  Use of anti-malarial drugs is strongly recommended, and dosing should begin prior to arrival in Nigeria and continue after departure for each medicine’s prescribed length of time.  Vaccinations for cholera, typhoid, tetanus, meningitis, and protection against hepatitis are also strongly suggested.  Visitors should consult their physician or local health authorities about the current inoculations recommended and required before a visit to Nigeria.

Medical facilities are available in Nigeria, but in practice, foreign business visitors normally restrict themselves to private clinics, available in large urban areas.  Many common household medicines and some prescription drugs are locally available, but the business traveler should carry an ample supply of any special medications required and only use reputable pharmacies when purchasing medicines.

Local Time, Business Hours and Holidays

Local time is GMT +1.  Business establishments and government offices generally open from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, with offices closed for lunch from 1:00-2:00 p.m.  Many government offices and businesses hold staff meetings on Monday and Friday mornings, sometimes making it difficult to see people at those times.  The Federal Government in Abuja holds meetings particularly on Wednesdays.  Holidays falling on Saturdays and Sundays are observed on Mondays.  No permanent dates exist for Muslim holidays - they are observed as announced by the Ministry of Internal Affairs. 

The following are confirmed holidays for 2022:

Jan. 1                       - New Year’s Day

April 15                  - Good Friday

Apr. 18                    - Easter Monday

May 1                      - Workers’ Day

May 2 - 4                - Eid-El-Fitr (Sallah) (dates tentative)

May 29                  - Inauguration Day

June 12                  - Democracy Day

July 9 - 11              - Eid-El-Kabir (dates tentative)

Oct. 1                       - Independence Day

Oct 7 - 9                 - Eid-Maulud (dates tentative)

Dec. 25                  - Christmas

Dec. 26                    - Boxing Day

Temporary Entry of Materials or Personal Belongings

In addition to other personal belongings, tourists and temporary visitors can bring in any item, except illicit drugs, ammunition and pornographic materials.  Visitors can bring in bottled water, cookies/crackers, soft drinks and alcoholic drinks for personal consumption.  Customs duties will be charged on items of commercial quantities.  Currency declaration is required upon arrival.

Web Resources

CIA World Factbook