Nigeria - Country Commercial Guide
Import Requirements and Documentation

Includes import documentation and other requirements for both the U.S. exporter and foreign importer.

Last published date: 2021-10-13

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.  This significantly increases clearance times. GON spent several millions of dollars on the procurement of scanners, but these scanners are rarely used in practice and often in disrepair.

Corruption and inefficiency in customs operations remain significant challenges.  The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), a revenue generating agency of government, contributes about 5 billion naira ($12.1 million) to GON coffers on an annual basis.

The Nigeria Trade Hub (http://www.nigeriatradehub.gov.ng/ )serves as an information portal for traders. Users can classify their imports/exports based on applicable Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) codes, estimate freight charges, applicable duty, and find information on clearing processes.

To receive clearance for goods imported into Nigeria, traders must present a bill of lading, commercial invoice exit note, duly completed Form ‘M’ entry declaration, packing list, single goods declaration, and a product certificate. Until recently, the importer was also required to submit a combined certificate value & origin (CCVO).  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 GON 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://nigerianports.gov.ng/. The Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) is also developing a Single Window Platform as part of projects in its pipeline. .he 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 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.