Car clearing procedure in Nigeria



Clearing vehicles through Nigeria Customs is a bit challenging due to its complex bureaucratic structure and processes of getting your car out of the port. Did you know that according to the National Bureau of Statistics, close to 180 thousand vehicles were in 2017 shipped to Nigerian port? This report is enough to give you a hint of the mass entry of vehicles into Nigeria irrespective of government policies on import duty on vehicles.

You shouldn’t expect less this year and all these must pass through the Custom Service. That is why we have so many clearing agents who are not just knowledgeable in the art of car clearing but understand the loopholes and key persons who can make the job faster. But of course you will have to pay more.  

Why is clearing of vehicles challenging in Nigeria?

Clearing vehicles through customs shouldn’t have been a big issue, especially for every Nigerian, but the bureaucracy is at its peak, breakdown in simple protocol to complex tasks and lots more challenges. We haven’t even mentioned the dangerous Apapa route to the port that will give you a lot of migraines before you even get to the port. Regardless, individuals are restricted from clearing their cars by themselves, hereby giving the licensed clearing agents the chance to milk you especially when you show desperation.  

How to clear vehicles through Nigeria customs:  

1. Request for the car’s bill of lading

This is a very important document delivered to you by the foreign shipping agent. Since we have effective courier services in Nigeria such as FEDEX and DHL, you are sure to get the original document on time. To avoid payment of using courier service, you can request it to be sent via your personal mailing address so that you can easily print and use. This document is very vital as it contains the car info such as name, year of production, model, Vehicle Identity Number, weight, port of origin and discharge.  

2. Send an application for import duty valuation

This is a simple step but could be complex if you are not aware of the processes. You need to draft a letter using the letter headed copy of a registered clearing agency, attached with the car’s bill of lading and send them all to the customs. After you have sent this letter through a proper channel, you should expect a response from the recipient stating the actual worth of the vehicle in dollar unit and using it to measure the 35% surface duty. If your car is a brand new car, you should expect to pay another 35% levy to the custom.

For example, a $5000 car when clearing through Nigeria custom will have to pay import duty of 534,975 nairas. The formula is below:  

$5000 x 35% x 305.7 = 534,975 (in which 305.7 is the official dollar exchange rate from customs)   The above mentioned amount is for import duty valuation only, excluding tax or any other fees.  

3. Update and register the valuation into custom database

After you have been awarded your duty valuation, the info will be input into the custom server. 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 very yourself through the Tax Identification Number (TIN) of the consignee.  

When you are done, you will need to print two forms which are the Single Goods Declaration form (SGD) and Assessment Notice. The SDGF form must provide specific information about the car such as type of car, amount of duty and content, if any in the car.  

4. Import duty payment 

You have to make a certain payment to the bank which is the vehicle import duty payment. This should be done while you are submitting an electronic manifest to Nigeria Custom Service. Make sure you go with the Assessment form to the bank when making the payment. This payment can either be made online or through any of the bank branches. Make sure you are issued a receipt after you must have made the payment.  

5. Physical inspection and custom release

All the documents mentioned above will need to be gathered together and submitted to the custom office. These documents include the receipt issued by the bank, Assessment Notice, Valuation copy, Vehicle bill of lading and SGD. After you have submitted these documents, you will be given a time for physical examination of the vehicle you are trying to clear.

This is important to compare and verify the documents with the information on the car.   This part is very crucial if you really want your car out of the port. To avoid any outstanding debt or fee, always be detailed and truthful in your documents. When they inspect your car, the officers will look for information such as the VIN/ chassis number and inside of the car to check if there is a load you haven’t declared in the documents.  

6. Printing of exit from the shipping company

This step wouldn’t take much of your time or energy. You just need to take a stroll to the shipping company in charge of your car and tender your SGD form to print your exit copy.  

7. Getting your release at the shipping firm

At this juncture, you need to gather your documents together in order to request release from the shipping company. The documents you will need to submit at this stage include the car’s bill of lading, SGD, printed exit copy, signed copy of means of identification of the consignee such as international passport, national identity card, driver license or even the voter’s card.  

You will also be asked to submit custom document that allows the agency to operate popularly known as form C30 and finally the authorization form from the clearing agency used for valuation. All these documents will be checked and assessed by the shipping firm and you will be asked to proceed to payment.  

8. Register and sign at gate office

You will need to go to the gate office at custom to register and sign. You will be asked to tender the release document from custom and the printed exit copy from the shipping firm. Duty payment will be checked by officer on seat and verified on the system. When it is verified without any issue, the officer will stamp and sign off the document.  

9. Collection of Terminal Delivery Order (TDO)

To get this, you will need to tender the payment receipt from the shipping firm and the signed copy from the customer gate office.  

10. Submission for vehicle delivery

This is when you will need to submit the documents for the vehicle to be moved to the final delivery gate.  

11. Final check

The custom will need to do final check and another check will be done by the shipping company before they can allow the car to be driven out of the port.  

12. Final payment

When you get to the final gate, you will need to make a last payment to officer on duty before they allow you to take that car to your destination. Once you’re done, congratulations, you have just gone through all the steps to clear your vehicle through Nigeria customs!. Final check The custom will need to do final check and another check will be done by the shipping company before they can allow the car to be driven out of the port.

This procedure applies to both new and used cars coming into Nigeria. Taking a look at these steps, you would notice the process of clearing a car in Nigeria can be quite strenous. That is why many people prefer to drop the stress on clearing agencies and get their cars delivered to their door step. Clearing vehicle through Nigeria Custom is not a so-easy process. You would still need to get a good grasp of the procedure to make sure the agency is working properly and won’t charge you extra fees for unreasonable expenses.



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