Customs clearing documents you need to import goods in Nigeria

  • 9/28/2021

Discover all the different customs clearing documents you need, and how they work, in order to clear your goods through Nigerian Customs

Successfully clearing goods through Nigerian Customs requires several customs clearing documents. In this article, we will discuss the documents you need to give the Clearance Vendor and how they work.

SON Conformity Assessment Program Certificate (SONCAP):
To clear goods in Nigeria, importers are required by law to provide a Product Certificate (PC) and a SONCAP Certificate (SC). These certificates are needed for every consignment of regulated products by SON approved inspection agencies, like Cotecna.

Form M:
Importers also require a Form M to clear their goods. To open a Form M, you must select a dealer bank and provide them with the following documents: the Pro forma Invoice, Marine Insurance Certificate and a (SON) Product Certificate. The bank will then use these documents to open and issue a Form M.

Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR):
PAAR is an acronym for Pre-Arrival Assessment Report. The Nigerian Customs service requires an approved and valid PAAR for cargo clearing. The PAAR is processed through the Nigeria Single Window Trade Portal. However, the applicant’s dealer bank, or the bank that issued the Form M, processes the PAAR since the single window is not accessible to individuals.

In addition, regulation requires that the exporter send a set of original shipping documents to the bank for PAAR processing. Depending on the bank, this may take some time consequently lengthening the clearing process.

Finally, the bank will attach the scanned SONCAP Certificate and shipping document copies to the application and submit everything to the Nigeria Customs Services (NCS). The NCS will then review, register, query or reject the PAAR application.

Customs Duty Payment Confirmation:
This is proof of duty payment provided by your commercial bank. Hence, the concerned bank must sign and stamp the payment confirmation.

Assessment Notice:
This document shows the total amount payable i.e the import duty, levy and other charges after an assessment by the Nigerian Customs Services. The Assessment Notice should be taken to the bank for payment of Customs Duty.

Bill of Lading (BL):
The Bill of Lading (BL) is a receipt from the transporter and is used as evidence confirming that the transporter received the goods and will deliver them to their destination. In other words, the BL is a document of title (proof of ownership of goods). For clearance purposes, the importer also needs to provide the transporter from the port of entry with the BL.

Commercial Invoice:
The commercial invoice is a shipping invoice, real invoice or final invoice issued by the exporter or shipper to the importer. Specifically, the invoice contains information that helps Nigerian Customs determine the import duty due.

The commercial invoice differs from the pro forma invoice in that it is a customs document. Thus, it contains information about the product details, shipping costs and terms of supply and payment. Of note, the commercial invoice must include the Form M numbers (MF/BA).

Packing List:
The Packing List is a shipping document that shows an unabridged description of the shipped goods. It shows details like the package dimensions and weight. Its purpose is to provide transporters/carriers of goods, government agencies, and importers with information about the goods being shipped. The format of a packing list is essentially the same, with little or no variation among countries.

Certificate of Origin:

A Certificate of Origin (CoO) is both an invoice and declaration by the manufacturer/seller, authenticating the product price and origin. In other words, the CoO serves to prove the value and origin of goods imported to Nigeria for clearance purposes. Therefore, the Federal Ministry of Finance mandates that all goods imported to Nigeria be backed by CoO.

Notably, the CoO replaced the Combined Certificate of Value and Origin (CCVO) as per Circular ED/FEM/FPC/GEN/01/004 issued on April 19, 2017. However, the two documents can be used interchangeably with the CoO taking precedence.

Single Good Declaration (SGD):

When the product courier arrives in Nigeria, first the shipping line’s submitted manifest must be confirmed. Then, the rotation number from the shipping line is confirmed. Finally, product data of the imported goods is recorded generating the SGD.

Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS):
MSDS is a document that lists the occupational safety and health of various substances and products. MSDS information may include details like how to safely use the product, potential risks and spill-handling procedures. This document is required for the importation of certain chemical products.

NAFDAC Permit:
NAFDAC regulated products like certain food items and regulated chemicals require a NAFDAC Permit for customs clearance.

Clearing imported goods through Nigerian Customs can be difficult and time-consuming. This is one of the reasons why we assign a dedicated agent to guide our clients through the certification process. If you would like to learn more about exporting to Nigeria or make a commitment free enquiry, please contact us.

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