Foreign nationals may undertake any type of business and own 100 percent equity (other than in the oil & gas sectors) and undertake any type of business in Nigeria except those in the negative list, that is, production of arms, narcotics and related substances which are prohibited to Nigerians and Foreign Investors alike. No information is provided to differentiate requirements between for-profit and non-profit ventures.
In the spirit of the liberalization, foreign nationals not resident in Nigeria do not require permits before establishing business or investing in Nigeria. However, foreign nationals resident in the country need residence permit before forming a company while business permit is required for the business to commence.
Residence permits are obtained from the Nigerian Immigration Service while business permits are obtained from the Federal Ministry of Internal Affairs. Companies intending to use the services of foreign workers need to obtain expatriate quota from the Nigerian Investment Promotion Council.
Foreign entrepreneurs interested in doing business in Nigeria can wholly own a limited liability company (LLC) with a minimum of 2 shareholders and 2 directors of any nationality. The minimum share capital is US$1 and the entire setup process can be completed within 6 weeks;
Foreign corporations are unable to create a wholly foreign owned presence in the country by setting up a Nigeria branch office or Nigeria representative office. Nigeria’s companies law requires all foreign businesses desiring to do business in Nigeria to establish a company. None of these entities require Nigerian nationals to be involved as shareholders or resident directors.
Every enterprise, desirous of obtaining Business Permit and Expatriate Quota, is to submit an application to that effect to the Federal Ministry of Internal Affairs on Form T/1 designed for that purpose Companies are, however, to note that emphasis would be placed on employment of Nigerians to understudy the foreign experts for the purpose of training them, to enable the understudies acquire relevant skills for the eventual take-over of the expatriate quota positions. Renewal of quotas granted will not be automatic but considered on merit based on submission of the required documents, as specified in paragraph 3 (C) of this Handbook.
All applications by companies for Business Permit and expatriate Quota should be accompanied by the following documents:
For only Joint Venture and wholly Foreign owned Companies.
Same documents as in (a) above plus:
This permit can be either a:
Temporary Work Permit (TWP): This is valid for three months and can be renewed for a further three-month period, subject to the discretion of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS). To obtain a TWP, an application must be made to the NIS in Nigeria; the NIS then issues a cable visa to the Nigerian High Commission in the home country of the foreign employee. On the basis of the cable visa, the foreign employee can make an application in their home country for a TWP. There is no official cost for obtaining a TWP and the process takes about two weeks.
Combined Expatriate Resident Permit and Aliens Card (CERPAC): The CERPAC is a permit that enables a foreign employee to work and live in Nigeria. To obtain a CERPAC the following are required:
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