Reasons to Return to Nigeria
- The welcome smiles and friendly voices
- You’re no longer OYO
- Jollof rice, Akara & Suya
- Nobody throws a party better than a Nigeria (and nobody complains about the loud music!)
- Being amongst brothers and sisters who have that positive attitude of always believing the future is getting better
- The chaos, the madness, the colour, the humanity
- Out music is infectious and our films are addictive
- Living a life of success and significance in Africa’s biggest economy
A Few Words From Some Recent Homecomers
“I am amazed by how the people of Nigeria continue to thrive amidst uncertainty. There is a contagious hunger to constantly adapt and develop strategy to meet the ever changing needs of the region.” – Mohammed Mijindadi
“It is hard work and starting a business in Africa isn’t easy but the reality is this isn’t even the time to come back, it’s too late – you have to come back now because the opportunities are immense” – Alex Okosi
“The best thing about being back was no longer feeling like the odd one out. Plus mum and my family were so glad to have me back that I was a princess for those first few months.” – Mobola Onibonoje
“I think eventually everyone needs to come back home, I think you have to make up your mind carefully, the time has to be right for you.” – Kaliko Olowole
“Nigeria has so many amazing things – the culture, there are so many amazing things to see, places to visits, the shrine, it’s really good. The music is amazing – the way they dance is amazing, and of course, the food!” – Nekka Ezinwa
“Being back home is best for our young kids. The early foundation years have to be spent in a place where the kids can actually get very grounded, because that will be the secret of their success later in life when they know where they’re from.” – Chukuka Chukuma
“People will complain about the power and the traffic and I’ve also lived in several places in Europe where there’s problems of traffic and it’s hard getting around. But of course those things are a reality, they are tough, they are uncomfortable, but if the goal is big enough, the facts don’t count.” – Tunde Ogunrinde
Moving Home Checklist
Our 6 month moving home checklist is a great resource for finding out what you should be doing every month leading up to your actual return date. Once you’ve made the decision to return, it can be very daunting trying to figure out how to get the ball rolling and what needs to be done. Here are some useful tips and suggestions that will help you prepare for your return:
- 1 Month
- Cancel monthly magazine or entertainment subscriptions. Also cancel or suspend your memberships at any clubs, associations.
- Give notice to landlord, if renting current property. You want the rent to expire after you have actually moved out and not before.
- Schedule the cancellation of your utilities such as electricity, gas, oil, water, mobile telephone, and internet.
- Working with your doctor and pharmacist, ensure you have enough medication for your family for at least two weeks if needed.
- Confirm collection and arrival dates from International movers/shipping company
- If you will be taking your pet with you, get a veterinary certificate from your vet. This should be obtained no more than 1 week before arriving at a Nigerian entry port.
- Inquire about your children’s school uniforms and how you can have their materials ready for them to go to school upon arrival in Nigeria. Having school uniforms ready will help your kids settle in quicker and it will be one less thing to worry about once you arrive.
- 2 Months
- Give notice at your current place of employment. Give yourself at least a month before your move date to leave work. You’re going to need all that time to wrap up the final details before leaving.
- Give notice at any clubs or associations you or any of your family members (especially the kids!). If any of those associations have any affiliations in Nigeria, you may also need them to write an introduction or reference letter to the Nigerian affiliate.
- Make arrangements for the collection of your mail in the short-term if necessary. For the long-term, you should arrange for redirection of mail from your current address to a more suitable location. It is not advisable to redirect mails to Nigeria as any such mail will be handled by NIPOST which can be unreliable.
- Read over the terms of your leasing agreement if currently renting. Ideally your rent should expire after you’ve left the country.
- Have a farewell get-together with close and family to have them share in your excitement about your new life.
- Finish selling all the personal items you are not taking with you, donate all unwanted items
- Ship your car, furniture, and other non-‐essential personal effects
- Confirm housing arrangements for those crucial first few weeks back home.
- Pay off any outstanding loans or bills you may have if you are able. If not, call the relevant institution to discuss consolidation of loans or the arrangement of your current payment schedule.
- Consolidate your bank accounts and close any nonessential accounts (Consider the bank charges!). Maintaining a foreign account from Nigeria can be frustrating and expensive. Remember to sign-up for online banking for all foreign bank accounts you intend to keep.
- 3 Months
- Send off application for import permits for any animals that will be traveling with you.
- Visit friends and family and see all the sites you want to see with your family. Chances are you will not all be able to come back to visit at the same time in the future. Take it all in and assure friends and family that you’ll always be accessible
- Start sorting and packing clothes and items that you want to take with you to Nigeria.
- Advertise and start selling household items and personal effects that will not be going with you.
- Sign any contracts with your international moving or shipping company. Obtain written confirmation of your moving dates and expected day of arrival in Nigeria. If you are using different shipping and clearing agents, confirm the same information with your clearing agent.
- 4 Months
- Book flight tickets for yourself and your family. Flights are usually cheaper when purchased in advance. If you will be staying in a hotel in your first few weeks of returning to Nigeria, book your hotel rooms as well.
- Start advertising to let your property when you’re away if you own the property. A real estate or letting agent should be on hand to facilitate the process with you.
- Research health insurance options.
- Make copies and store all ticket, passport, visa, educational and health documents so that it does not get packed up with the rest of the shipped documents.
- 5 Months
- Finalise and register your kids at your school of choice. Remember to collect and make copies of their educational records and certificates. Many government services in Nigeria require originals, so ensure you have all relevant documents.
- If you have not done your NYSC (National Youth Service Corps) service year yet, find out when the next batch will be. Bring originals of any relevant education documents for yourself and your spouse. If you received a student visa to study abroad at any time, bring along the passport with the student visa. NYSC requires this to register all foreign-educated students.
- Contact an international tax accountant to advise on meeting your tax obligations in your current country as a resident or non-resident, if applicable. Nigeria may be entered into a tax treaty with your host country, which prevents double taxation in both countries.
- 6 Months
- Negotiate employment packages and benefits and finalise your new job in Nigeria
- Open a domiciliary account with a Nigerian bank so you can start sending money (in foreign exchange) for easy access in Nigeria. If possible, also open a current Naira account with a Nigerian bank. Remember to sign up for online banking.
- Shortlist schools for the kids. Ensure you have visited each school on the shortlist. Find out about their requirements for admission and work with your children’s current school to ensure a smooth transition.
- If you own your own home, you should speak with a letting agent to advise on scheduling if you want to sell or let your property before you move to Nigeria.
- Start buying weather appropriate clothes if needed. The temperature in Nigeria hovers around 24 to 35 degrees year round. You will need summer clothing so do your shopping the summer before your planned move.
- Speak with 2 or 3 shipping/moving companies and get quotes for your personal items, car, etc.
- If you are flying back with a visa, ensure that your passport is valid for more than 6 months. If you will be flying back with your Nigerian passport, start the process for renewal/reissue/1st time issue if necessary.
- Speak to your doctor and veterinarian about vaccinations for your family and any pet you will be relocating with. Infants in particular should have finished their schedule of vaccinations before the move date. Pets need to have all their inoculations up-to -date.
Below we answer some of the most commonly asked questions by Nigerians considering a return home.
There are a number of immigration consultancy firms in Nigeria. Please forward your immigration queries to them.
- What are the main international companies that will ship cargo to Nigeria?
- For how long should I be in Nigeria before the goods arrive?
It is advisable that you arrive in Nigeria at least ten days before your cargo.
- Can I import furniture into Nigeria?
Importation of new furniture into Nigeria is strictly prohibited. Only the following items of furniture are permitted:
- Baby walkers
- Laboratory equipment such as cabinets, microscope tables, fume cupboards, and laboratory benches
- Stadium chairs
- Height adjustment devices, base sledges, sea frames, and control mechanisms, arm guides and headguides
- Skeletal parts of furniture (i.e. blanks, unholstered or unfinished parts of metal, plastics, veneer, chair shell etc.)
- What documents will I need for Customs Clearance?
The shipper in question must be present at the time of Customs Clearance, and have the following documentation:
- Original passport verifying arrival date
- Visa – obtained from Nigerian Consulate or Embassy prior to departure
- Bill of Lading – front page must be signed by consignee
- Clean Report of Inspection (CRI) – must be stated on the relevant BL and written against each item on the cargo manifest
- Clean Report of Finding (CRF)
- Import Duty Report (IDR)
- Certificate of Transfer of Residence
- Residence Permit & Nigerian Bank Account (obtained by client before applying for Form M)
- Form M is processed through an authorised commercial or merchant bank. The bank is responsible for delivering the completed Form M to the respective inspection agent’s liaison office in Nigeria
- Comprehensive inventory (must be in English)
- Power of Attorney giving authority for Destination Agent to arrange customs clearance
- Declaration Form P.U.B.D (completed after arrival in Nigeria)
- Customs Declaration Form Sale 48
- Customs & Excise Unaccompanied Baggage Declaration
- Will I be charged an import duty fee/VAT on importing my household goods?
Duty-free entry is permitted if the following requirements are met:
- The items are used and have been in the possession of the shipper for at least 6 months
- The items are for the shipper’s continued use and are not for resale
- The shipper must have resided abroad for at least 9 months
- The shipper is in Nigeria prior to the shipment’s arrival
- The items arrive in Nigeria within 2 months of the shipper’s arrival
At The Airport
- What are the restricted/dutiable items?
You are only allowed one of the following items, on which duty will be assessed
- Personal computers
- Microwave ovens
- Washing machines and dryers
- Deep freezers
Other dutiable items include
The following must be declared:
- Films, videotapes, DVDs, publications, audio-tapes, gramophone records, computer and compact discs
Alcohol and tobacco
- What items are absolutely prohibited?
- Firearms, air pistols and explosives are prohibited importation unless a police permit is obtained prior to importation
- Airmail photographic printing paper
- Beads composed of inflammable celluloid
- Furniture is strictly prohibited unless included as part of a household goods shipment and is not for resale
- Narcotic drugs
- Pornographic materials
- Endangered species
- Ivory and tusks
- Blank invoices
- Counterfeit currency/coins
- 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
- Wine and liquor
- Coupons for Foreign Football pools or other betting arrangements
- Dangerous chemicals
- Textile fabrics, carpets, skins & furs, yarns
- Matches made with white phosphorous
- Are any foodstuffs prohibited?
Yes. You may not bring the following into Nigeria:
- Meat (pork/beef/other)
- Vegetables and fruits
- Live or dead (including frozen) birds
- Birds’ eggs
- Refined vegetable oils and fats
- Fruit juice in retail packs
- Waters (including mineral waters and aerated waters containing added sugar/sweetening matter/flavourants
- Tea (pure or mixed with another substance)
- Can I bring currency into Nigeria?
You may bring up to 5000 Naira in banknotes. There are no restrictions on foreign currency if it is valued at less than $5000. If it exceeds this amount, it must be declared on arrival and departure.
- What is the exact process for importing cars into Nigeria?
- Obtain a Ship Entry Notice (SEN) from the Operations Department of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) or a licensed agent
- Afterwards, you collect a Bill of Lading from the shipper which will contain all the details of the ship and its cargo
- This document is then sent to the Nigerian Port Authority Central Office for Planning and Information
- You will be given a Bill of Entry which you will register with the Nigerian Customs Service
- You then proceed to the shipping company to ensure the Release of your goods
- When your Bill of Lading is checked, you will be issued a Delivery Order (D.O.) which you will fill and submit back to the shipping company
- The D.O. is then sent to the Terminal Operator and you pay the required amount
- The Delivery order is then sent to the delivery point and you await your cargo. Once received, it is checked and good to go.
- Are there any restrictions on vehicles being imported?
- The vehicle must be for your continued use and NOT for resale or other disposal
- Importing vehicles that are 10 years or older is prohibited
- Importation of vehicles through land borders is no longer allowed
- Will I be charged duty/tax?
There will be a VAT charge on the vehicle, and well as a 7% surcharge. Please see the table below to determine the tax/duty that will be charged on your car
Value of car ($) Duty/tax charged (%) Up to 9000 30 9000 – 14000 40 14000 – 18000 50 18000 – 22700 60 22700 – 27200 80 27200 and above 100
- What documentation will I need to import my vehicle?
- Original certificate of Title and Registration
- Log book and owner’s manual
- Commercial/purchase invoice if new
- Certificate of roadworthiness (is used)
- Insurance policy
- Will I need to re-do my driver’s licence test?
Yes. Nigeria does not recognise foreign licences.
- What is the procedure for registering my vehicle?
- Ensure that you have the following documentation with you:
- A valid Driver’s Licence
- Proof of ownership of the car
- Receipt/invoice of purchase
- Attestation letter from company of purchase
- Current proof of address
- Insurance Policy Number (can be obtained from your insurance firm)
- Identification i.e. identity card or international passport
- Custom papers
- Engine number
- Once a vehicle is imported, clearing agents will proceed with clearance
- You must complete and print the online registration MVA01 form, attach all relevant vehicle documents, and proceed to the State Board of Internal Revenue/Motor Licencing Authority (SBIR/MLA) office
- Pay for your vehicle number plate at SBIR/MLA, you will then be assigned a number plate
- Take your vehicle to the Vehicle Inspection Officer for physical inspection, it will be registered a road worthiness certificate (if the inspection officer is satisfied with the vehicle’s condition)
- Proceed to Road Safety for the verification of the following documents:
- Driver’s Licence
- Insurance Policy Number
- Valid identification
- Proof of address (e.g. utility bill)
- Go back to SBIR/MLA, where your Proof of Ownership Certificate number will be issued
Your Proof of Ownership Certificate, Vehicle Number Plate, and Vehicle Identification Tag will be released to you.
- Ensure that you have the following documentation with you:
- How much will vehicle registration cost?
This depends on the type of vehicle, but the average cost is between 45 000 and 50 000 Naira.
- Can I get a loan to buy a brand new vehicle in Nigeria?
For all your property queries, and to discuss your future home, contact Pam Golding Properties. An internationally-esteemed real estate group, PGP has more than 300 offices across Africa and covers all of Sub-Saharan Africa.
- Can I use foreign funds to buy property in Nigeria?
Many property sellers will accept foreign currency (e.g. pounds, dollars) as payment, but this is not strictly guaranteed.
- Do I qualify for a mortgage bond?
GTBank offers mortgage options for apartments and houses. The mortgage application can be found here.
- How much will a mortgage bond cost?
Please use the calculator to determine the mortgage bond cost.
Medical & Health
- How long before going to Nigeria should I get my vaccines?
You should get vaccinated 4-6 weeks before arriving in Nigeria.
- What are the recommended/required vaccines?
- Measles-mumps-rubella (MMR)
- Varicella (chickenpox)
- Your annual flu shot
- What other vaccines should I get before entering Nigeria?
- Hepatitis A
- Yellow Fever
- Hepatitis B
- Can I bring my medication into Nigeria?
The following medicaments are prohibited:
- Paracetamol Tablets and Syrups
- Cotrimoxazole Tablets Syrups
- Metronidazole Tablets and Syrups
- Chloroquine Tablets and Syrups
- Haematinic Formulations; Ferrous Sulphate and Ferrous Gluconate Tablets, Folic Acid Tablets, Vitamin B Complex Tablet [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
- Ointments – Penecilin/Gentamycin
- Pyrantel Pamoate tablets and Syrups
- Intravenous Fluids [Dextrose, Normal Saline, etc.]
- What kind of medical coverage can the National Health Insurance System offer me?
- Out-patient care, including necessary consumables
- Prescribed drugs, pharmaceutical care and diagnostic tests on the National Essential Drug List and Diagnostic Test Lists
- Maternity care for up to 4 live births for every insured contributor
- Preventive care, including immunisation, health education, family planning, antenatal and postnatal care
- Consultation with specialists with a referral
- Hospital in-patient care in a standard ward for 15 cumulative days per annum
- Eye examination and care, excluding the provision of spectacles and contact lenses
- A range of prostheses (limited to artificial limbs produced in Nigeria)
- Preventive dental care and pain relief (including consultation, dental health education, amalgam filling, and simple extraction)
- Can I be refused entrance into Nigeria based on medical grounds?
Some HIV/AIDs entry restrictions exist for visitors to, and foreign residents of, Nigeria. Nigerian authorities have the discretion to deny entry to foreigners who are “undesirable for medical reasons”, and may require HIV tests for foreigners intending to marry Nigerian citizens.
- Is the tap water in Nigeria safe to drink?
It is not advisable that you drink tap water in Nigeria. Rather buy bottled water, or boil tap water beforehand if you would like to brush your teeth or make ice cubes.
- How much will I pay for electricity?
This depends on the electricity distribution zone in which you live.
- What kind of plug sockets are used in Nigeria?
In Nigeria, the standard voltage is 230 V. The standard frequency is 50 Hz. The power sockets are type D/G.
- How do I set up an electricity & water account?
Most households will have a meter ‘pay as you go’ system installed, which simply require you to buy the refill card to top up your electricity.
In most cases, you will not need to set up a water and electricity account when you move into a house/apartment, as most are already set up.
GT Bank offers exceptional services for personal and business accounts, and makes banking easy for every Nigerian.
- What will I need to open a bank account?
The following documentation:
- Proof of address e.g. PHCN bill
- Valid and current proof of identification
Depending on the type of account you wish to open, you may also need two referees. For a savings account, you will not need any references, but will need two if you wish to open a current account or company account.
- What is the exact process of opening an account?
You can fill in the GT Bank individual account opening form here and take it with you to your closest branch, or fill it in person at your closest branch. Make sure that the address on this form matches the one on your utility bill. After handing in this form, you should receive an account opening alert within 1-2 weeks, notifying you of your new account details.
- Can I transfer foreign funds into my bank account?
Yes, GT Bank will accept foreign currency cash deposits that do not exceed $ 10 000 in value. You can transfer the money into your account via internet banking, Mobile App, or at any branch.
- What credit cards will work in Nigeria?
All EMV/Chip cards will work in Nigeria, although credit card facilities are not accessible country-wide.
- At what age do students begin primary school?
For the majority of Nigerian children, primary education begins at six years old. Students will spend six years in primary school and graduate with a school-leaving certificate.
- What is the grade system?
Nigeria operates on a 6-3-3-4 system:
- Primary School – 6 years
- Junior Secondary School – 3 years
- Senior Secondary/ High School – 3 years
University First Degree – 4 years
- How are the schools terms structured/when are school holidays?The following information is based on the average term structures. For specific and definitive dates, please contact the respective institution.
1st term: 7 September – 18 December
Mid-term break: 26 – 30 October
2nd term: 11 January – 23 March
Mid-term break: 15 – 19 February
3rd term: 11 April – 1 July
Mid-term break: 23 – 27 May
- What do typical school fees look like?
This depends on whether or not the respective school is state owned or private. State owned schools are funded by each state government and are technically free. However, items such as uniforms and textbooks must be bought by parents, and will cost approximately 40000 Naira. Private schools’ average annual fees will likely be between 200000 and 400000 Naira.
- In which language are classes taught?
Almost all Nigerian schools will teach exclusively in English. Many schools will offer Ibo, Yoruba, Hausa and French as second or third language subjects.
- Which certificates will be awarded?
A General Certificate of Education (GCE) is only awarded to students who did not get the required credits from their Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (SSCE), which is the standard national certificate.
The SSCE is conducted at the end of Secondary Studies in May/June. The GCE is conducted in October/November.