How to obtain an import license in Nigeria

In Nigeria, importing goods requires obtaining licenses from various government agencies, each responsible for regulating specific types of imports. Unlike some countries with centralized licensing systems, Nigeria’s approach is decentralized, with different agencies overseeing different categories of imports.

Types of Import Licenses

There is no unified import license in Nigeria. Instead, different licenses are issued by various regulatory bodies, including:

  • Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON)
  • National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC)
  • Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR)
  • Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC)
  • Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Services (NAQS)

Common Documentation and Processes

Certain documents and procedures are common to all import processes in Nigeria:

E-Form M:
  • Purpose: Electronic documentation mandated by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).
  • Obtaining: Through the Nigeria Single Window Trade (NSWT) portal.
  • Requirements: Registration with the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) for a Tax Identification Number (TIN) and submission of relevant documents to an Authorized Dealer Bank (ADB).
Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR):
  • Purpose: Mandatory report approved by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) for clearing goods entering the country.
  • Generation: Through the Nigeria Single Window Trade Portal.
  • Submission: Final import documents to the ADB.

Step-by-Step Guide to Obtaining an Import License

  1. Registration with Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC):
    • Obtain a certificate of incorporation as evidence of registration.
  2. Tax Identification Number (TIN) Acquisition:
    • Obtain a TIN from the FIRS for tax payment proof.
  3. Opening a Bank Account:
    • Open an account with a reputable bank to act as the ADB.
  4. Obtain Permits from Regulatory Agencies:
    • Depending on the product, obtain permits from relevant agencies such as SON, NAFDAC, DPR, NERC, and NAQS.

Specific Requirements for Regulatory Agencies

  • SONCAP (Standard Organization of Nigeria Conformity Assessment Programme):
    • Obtain SONCAP licenses to ensure compliance with Nigerian standards.
  • NAFDAC (National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control):
    • Follow the registration process for NAFDAC permits.
  • DPR (Department of Petroleum Resources):
    • Apply for petroleum product import permits through the DPR portal.
  • NERC (Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission):
    • Obtain NERC permits for participation in the power sector.
  • NAQS (Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Services):
    • Apply for import permits for agricultural products.

Utilizing the Nigeria Single Window Trade Portal (NSWT)

  • Purpose: Access trade facilitation services.
  • Services: Online submission of trade documents, transaction tracking, and electronic payments.


Navigating import licensing in Nigeria involves complying with requirements set by various regulatory agencies. Professional assistance, such as that offered by Qeeva Advisory Limited, can streamline the process and ensure compliance. For inquiries or assistance, contact Qeeva Advisory Limited at 08023200801, 08075765799, or via email at

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