How a foreigner can obtain a Business permit in Nigeria
The law is trite that no foreigner can engage in business in Nigeria without a business permit except those expressly exempted by the Companies and Allied Matters Act Cap C20 LFN 2004. As such, a registered company wholly owned by foreigners is required to obtain a business permit from the Ministry of Interior before it can commence business operation in Nigeria. Pursuant to Section 36 of the Immigration Act, no person other than a Nigerian citizen shall, on his own account or in partnership with any other person, practice a profession or establish or take over any trade or business whatsoever or register or take over any company with limited liability for any purpose without the written consent of the Minister of Internal Affairs. The consent of the Minister of Internal Affairs is issued in the form of a Business Permit.
The application for a business permit in Nigeria must be accompanied with the following:
- Completed NIPC Form I (3 copies) submitted with the original copy of the treasury receipt (3 copies).
- Copy of the company’s Certificate of Incorporation.
- Tax clearance certificate of the registered company
- Details of the shareholding structure of the joint venture (3 copies).
- Joint venture Agreement where applicable (3 copies).
- Certified True Copy of the company’s Memorandum and Articles of Association (3 copies).
- Certified True Copies of CAC Form 2 & 7 (i.e. Particulars of Shareholders and Directors) duly certified.
- Evidence of capital importation for wholly foreign companies.
- Approval from the appropriate professional bodies where applicable.
- A Copy of Feasibility Report and Project Implementation Programme (Business Plan)
- A copy of Deed of Sub-Lease/Agreement evidencing firm commitment to acquire requisite business premises for the company’s operation;
- Profile of Foreign Investor as a testimony of international expertise and credibility of the foreign partner in the proposed line of business.
NOTE: A business permit is only required where the company is entirely owned by the foreigners or where an international entity is engaging in a joint venture with a Nigerian Corporation. Citizen participation in any company may eradicate the need for the business permit. Also note that, obtaining a business permit in Nigeria could take anywhere from 6 to 8 weeks for a foreigner.
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