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Know Nigeria Import Customs Clearance Procedures

Know Nigeria Import Customs Clearance Procedures

 Understanding the customs procedures when importing from China to Nigeria will help with the faster clearance of your goods from China to Nigeria.

Nigeria Customs Service

Nigeria Customs Service

Not following these procedures would mean paying fines for delays in clearance and having to wait longer at the customs.

If you are in the importation business, this is something you don’t want to happen to your importation.

To help you in understanding this, here is a look at the details involved.

· Nigeria import regulations

Let’s go through the important import regulations that you need to consider when importing to Nigeria from China

You will be required to submit a dully completed e-form M electronically to your dealer bank which must be authorized by the CBN.

You must attach this with the following documents

Proforma Invoice, insurance certificate and the necessary regulatory certificate such as NAFDAC or SONCAP.

Certificate of incorporation

Certificate of incorporation

There are some original documents which you will have to submit to your dealer bank before the validation process takes place.

Your dealer bank will do the following after they have received the duly completed copy of the e-forms.

First, they shall check the forms to ensure that you have filled them properly.

They will then have to compare the forms with the original documents.

Once the customs finish, they will validate and transmit your e-form to the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS)

· Import marking and labeling requirements in Nigeria

First, you will have to ensure that your supplier labels your imports in English before importing them.

You will also have to indicate the country of origin which in this case is China.

Sample product labels

Sample product labels – Source: Marevick Label

When importing perishable goods, you will need to indicate the date of manufacturer and expiry of the goods.

Also, on all imports, you need to indicate the name of the product, the batch number, and their specifications.

Always remember to remind your supplier that they have to indicate the standards for producing the goods.

Electronic equipment that you import to Nigeria must include the instruction manual and a warranty of at least six months.

They should also have safety signs or information where applicable.

· Quality compliance in Nigeria

You will have to be issued with a Certificate of Conformity by SONCAP when importing to Nigeria.

You can obtain this certificate from an accredited firm.

There are three levels of SONCAP certification that you must adhere.

These levels are known as routes.

Son Homepage

Son Homepage

Let me explain these routes for you and depend on your products.

· Route A

You can use this route if you are importing unregistered or unlicensed products.

You can also use this route if you don’t frequently import to Nigeria.

· Route B

If you are importing registered goods, then you can conveniently use this route to import your cargo.

Also, if you are a regular importer and you have frequently complied with the quality system in place, then you can use this route.

· Route C

If you have shown consistency with the compliance of route B, you can apply for your goods to be certified under route C. mainly the goods that are certified here are the licensed products.

· How to get an import license in Nigeria

The important thing before you start importing is to obtain an import License for your business.

This is a license that permits you to import your cargo from China to Nigeria.

The following are the guidelines you will follow when seeking an import license for your business.

The first step involves registering the name of your company in Nigeria after which you will give you a certificate of incorporation.

You can do this by registering with the Federal Inland Service (FIRS) where you will be given a Tax Identification Number once you have paid tax.

You need to open an account with any commercial bank of your choice in Nigeria.

It is this bank that shall act as your dealer bank.

Central bank of Nigeria

Central Bank of Nigeria

Your dealer bank will process your forms for you including e- form M and act as a link between you and the Nigeria Customs Service, you and other parties to your imports.

Remember that the e- form M is an important document when importing to Nigeria as the customs use it for statistics and other functions

You will have to get the necessary permits such as SONCAP or NAFDAC depending on the kind of gods you are importing.

After completing the above steps, you will have to register as an importer on the Nigeria Single Window Trade Portal.

You can locate this portal on the FIRS site.

The purpose of the portal is to facilitate the import procedure for your goods.

It does this by linking the government, you as an importer, your forwarding agent and your supplier in China.

Depending on your imports, there is three import categories procedure that your imports will have to follow.

You can have a one-time registration procedure which will make you an importer in Nigeria.

You can also have a special import license to import certain goods to Nigeria.

Lastly, you need to have a certification like SONCAP or NAFDAC or any permit as prescribed by the Nigeria Customs Service.

You will only start your importation from China to Nigeria after you have completed the above procedures.

· Documents required for importation in Nigeria

Proper documentation is a key element if you want to have a successful importation of your goods.

Lack of these documents may lead to you paying higher fines as well as a delay in you getting your cargo.

Here are the important documents that you need to have when importing to Nigeria from China.

1. Form M

Form M is a mandatory document that you must have when you are importing into Nigeria from China.

You can obtain this document from the Central Bank of Nigeria through your commercial bank.

From M

Form M

The requirements or obtaining this document include a proforma invoice and an insurance cover for your imports.

Remember to source for the insurance cover locally.

You will also have to submit your Taxpayers Identification Number (TIN).

You can access the document through the Federal Government of Nigeria Single Window for Trade portal.

The importance of this document is that it enables the customs to monitor the importation of goods into Nigeria.

It also aids in the collection of taxes and duties.

The content of the document includes the Harmonized code for your import duty and the total amount that you need to pay.

2. Insurance certificate

An insurance certificate is an important document since it covers your goods against risks that might occur during importation.

The customs authorities require that you obtain an insurance cover from a local insurance company.

Cargo Insurance certificate

Cargo insurance certificate

Insurance is a compulsory step when you are importing your goods to Nigeria.

3. Agency certificate

Depending on the type of goods you are importing from China to Nigeria, you will need to have an agency certificate.

For example, if you are importing food products, you will obtain a NAFDAC certificate.

NAFDAC Certificate

NAFDAC Certificate

Similarly, if you are importing manufactured goods, you will have to obtain a certificate from SONCAP.

For ease of importing your goods, always seek the services of a freight forwarder on which agency certificate you need to have.

4. Bill of Lading or Airways Bill

Depending on which shipping method you use to import your goods from China to Nigeria, you will need to have a bill of lading or an airways bill.

Your carrier will issue your customs agent with this document.

bill of lading example form Best vic s bill of lading template

Bill of lading

The information on this document include the details of the goods that you are shipping, the details of your supplier and your details.

Your forwarder will use this information as reference when computing your import duty.

Always ensure that the information therein matches the information that is in your commercial invoice.

5. Commercial Invoice

This is a document that your supplier will issue your forwarder which they need to present to the customs.

The information in this document includes the number of products you import, the unit price as well as the total price for the imports.

Commercial invoice

Commercial invoice

Also, it includes the information on the supplier and your information.

The customs will use this document when they are calculating the duty that you are supposed to pay for your cargo.

To avoid complications when dealing with the customs, always ensure that the information in the commercial invoice is accurate.

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