A. Business Permit: Foreign nationals must obtain a business permit before beginning a profession, business or trade in Nigeria. This permit allows for the local operation of a business with foreign interest and this is issued by the Federal Ministry of Interior. Some of the requirements for obtaining  Business Permits in Nigeria include:

  • Certificate of Incorporation of the applicant company;
  • Copies of the Tax Clearance Certificate of the applicant company;
  • Copies of the Memorandum and Articles of Association;
  • CAC Forms CO2 and CO7
  • Joint Venture/Partnership Agreement where applicable.
  • Shareholding of the Company should be a minimum of 10 million.

B. Certificate of Capital Importation (CCI) – Capital Importation Certificate (CCI) is a Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) certificate issued by banks as evidence of capital in-flow/investment into a Nigerian company by a foreign investor which legitimizes and facilitates the repatriation of dividends, profits and capital attributable to the investment from Nigeria to a foreign country. The following are requirements for the issuance of a CCI:

  • Letter from the customer requesting for CCI
  • Board resolution authorizing the investment (from the Nigerian Company)
  • A copy of the Nigerian company’s certificate of incorporation
  • Tested SWIFT telex copy stating amount and purpose of inflow
  • Name and address of foreign investor (to be provided by the Nigerian company).
  • Registration number and date of registration of investors
  • Nature of Business of Investor
  • Sector of Operation of the beneficiary.

C. Expatriate Quota: Where a company intends to employ expatriates, it must apply for expatriate quota positions for the relevant number of expatriate personnel it intends to employ. This approval is also granted by the Federal Ministry of the Interior and is usually sought and obtained along with the Business Permit. There are basically two types-

  1. Permanent until Reviewed (PUR): – This permit is usually granted for the post of Chairman of the Company’s Board of Directors or the Managing Director.
  2. Temporary – This is for directors and other employees of the company. The Maximum number of years granted in the first instance is five years renewable for a further period of two years. Requirements for obtaining Expatriate Quota includes:
  • Immigration Form II
  • Tax Clearance Certificate
  • Company Incorporation Documents
  • Evidence of Capital Importation
  • Evidence of ownership of premises/Lease Agreement
  • Resume of the Expatriates
  • Feasibility Studies/Business Plan.

D. Residence Permit: The Nigerian Immigration Service issues a Combined Expatriate Residence Permit And Aliens Card (CERPAC) for expatriates who intend to live and work in Nigeria. After the grant of the expatriate quota positions, the expatriates will each be required to apply for residence permits, in order for them to reside and work in Nigeria. Expatriates can be accompanied by their families and dependent applications will be submitted on their behalf. Requirements for obtaining a Residence Permit includes:

  • Application letter from the employer requesting Regularization of stay and accepting Immigration Responsibility on behalf of the expatriate.
  • Letter of Appointment/Employment.
  • Acceptance of offer of Appointment/Employment.
  • Form IMM22 with three (3) Passport –size photograph.
  • Expatriate Quota Approval
  • Vetted Credentials
  • Valid Passport with STR (Subject to Regularization) (Employment) visa and photocopies of relevant pages.

E. Temporary Work Permit – A Temporary Work Permit (TWP) is granted to expatriates coming into Nigeria to execute specific projects or contracts within a specific period. A TWP visa is usually single entry for the duration of the TWP and is usually valid for a maximum period of two (2) to three (3) months. It is important to note that the TWP only gives permission to the expatriate and does not extend to the spouse or dependents of the expatriate.
In this article we have identified the key permits required for foreign participation in the Nigerian Business space and we also detailed requirements for compliance. In addition to the foregoing, it is mandatory to obtain specific licenses before being allowed to participate in certain sectors e.g. Banking, Oil & Gas, Insurance, Lottery, Telecommunications, Exporting etc.