Steps to Clear Your Vehicle From Nigerian Customs

The cost of car clearing in Nigeria has been worrisome to lot of people, not forgetting that the rate of the current currency exchange will also determine a lot. In this article, the cost of car clearing in Nigeria is broken down under the following headings:

1. Obtaining the vehicle’s bill of lading

This document will be sent by your foreign shipping agent. This can be sent through any courier services such as  (DHL, FedEx, etc). Alternatively, it can be sent through electronic mail i.e E-mail, whereby it can be printed out here in Nigeria by the owner of the shipped vehicle.

It must be noted that without this document, you won’t be able to do anything in respect of clearing your vehicle. The information contained in the bill of lading of the vehicle you want to clear include: the name, the year, VIN/chassis number, weight, name of vessel, port of origin, port of discharge as well as the details of the shipping agent abroad and the consignee who will receive the vehicle in Nigeria.

Vivid examples of how a bill of lading looks like below:

bill of lading

Image source: Autojosh

bill-of-lading-for-tin-can-island-port-of-discharge                                      Image Source:

2. Get an import duty valuation

Here, it is advisable to liase with a trustworthy clearing agents. This agent must be certified,  registered and licensed to carry out custom clearing activities and it is this clearing agent that the application is written using the agencies letter head. The agency address the application to the Nigerian Custom Command of the particular port being used to clear the vehicle, with a copy of the BoL attached and physically submitted.

The value of the car is calculated in dollars by customs, and prorated to get the surface duty. This duty is 35% for used vehicles and 70% for new vehicles, excluding tax and other charges like terminal and shipping charges.

3.Update and register the valuation into custom database

This happens after you have been awarded your duty valuation, the information will be inputed into the custom server, and this process is commonly known as, Direct Trader Input (DTI). This implies you are submitting an electronic manifest to the custom service and that is possible through a licensed clearing agency. This is when you will need to verify yourself through the Tax Identification Number (TIN) of the consignee.

Single Goods Declaration Form (SGDF) is generated and printed as it contains the details of the vehicle to be cleared and its contents if any.

4. Pay import duty

The import duty has to be paid to the bank that was stated. The document needed by the bank for import duty payment is known as, assessment notice. After the payment is made, the bank will issue a receipt. Some banks now accept online payment but evidence of payment will still be picked up from their branch. It must be noted that the receipt given by the bank is very important as this will serve as evidence of payment.

5. Vehicle inspection and release by customs

This has to do with gathering all documents which must be submitted to the custom office. Among what must be submitted include: Bill of lading, SGDF, valuation copy, assessment notice and bank receipt. After the submission of all necessary documents, a physical examination date will be selected in order to sight the vehicle so as to know whether the provided documents are genuine or not, details of the vehicle including, VIN, year of manufacture and the paid duty will be checked thoroughly. If the inspection is successful, a report will be submitted to the releasing officer as an evidence of approval.

6. Print exit at the shipping company

At this junction, it is required to print a copy of a document known as the exit copy from the shipping company. This copy will be used by the shipping company as part of the document to release the vehicle to you.

7. The release process at the shipping company

Here, Bill landing (BoL) duly signed, a copy of the consignee’s ID duly signed, SGD, and exit copy  documents are compiled together in order to get the car released from the shipping company. An authority letter from the clearing agency and a copy of Form C30 (this is a document that permit the clearing agency to Carry out their operation) also needs to be submitted by the clearing agency acting on your behalf.

After verification of all the required documents by the shipping company, you will be required to pay an aggregate shipping and terminal fees, which can be paid through POS, online transfer or by cash.

8. Gate signing at custom office

At this stage, you register and sign at the gate office. The custom release document and the exit copy from the shipping company will be required as this will be use to verify if the duty is fully paid into the system. Hence, the officer in charge will stamp and sign-off your document.

9. Terminal Delivery Order (TDO) collection.

At this stage, before the TDO is given to you, the receipt issued to you by the shipping company, in conjunction with the signed gate documents are required and must be verified ‘satisfactory’.

10. Receive delivery of the vehicle at the floor

At this stage, documents are now submitted, in order for the vehicle to be delivered to the open floor ready to cross the final exit gate.

11. One last check by custom

At this stage, inspection is carried out by a custom officer and a shipping company official will do their final checks before the car drives out of the port i.e the exit gate.

12. Payment of Final fees

For the vehicle to pass through the exit gate, little miscellaneous fee will be paid such as final fees paid to custom officers on duty, clearing agent’s association, omo-onile fees etc. Afterwards, you enjoy your ride out of the port.



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