How to register a foreign company in Nigeria

How to register a foreign company in Nigeria

July 23, 2019

Companies registered in other countries can also be registered anywhere in the world. The process of registering foreign companies for business participation in other countries can be a little overwhelming considering the factors of setting up a company in a totally new environment with different laws, business values and challenges. We have decided to write this short article in order to aid foreigners who intend to register businesses in Nigeria.

The Nigerian system has made it quite easy for foreign business participation in Nigeria. There are a few requirements for such participation and they include;

  1. Foreign companies intending to do business in Nigeria must incorporate a limited liability company with share capital of at least 10million naira with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). This process usually takes 2-3weeks.

Requirements for the registration of a foreign company in Nigeria

  • A Nigeria address for receipt of documents and notices
  • Name and address of business
  • Nature /object of business
  • Share capital at least 10million naira and the share capital structure i.e how it would be shared between the shareholders.
  • Particulars of shareholders and valid identification cards
  • Particulars of directors and valid identification cards
  • Particulars of secretary and valid identification cards.

There are exceptions to this general rule of registration of foreign companies in Nigeria as stated in (S 56) Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA). These exceptions are:

  • Foreign companies invited to Nigeria by the government to carry out a specific duty.
  • Foreign companies in Nigeria for the execution of specific individual loan projects on behalf of a donor or international organization
  • Foreign companies engaged only in export promotion activities
  • Engineering consultants and technical experts engaged in specialist project under contract with the government or any other agency where such contract is approved by the government.


  1. TIN and VAT registration; Foreign companies are expected to obtain a tax identification number at the Federal Inland Revenue. This process can take 1-2 weeks.
  2. Foreign companies are required to open a domiciliary with a bank in Nigeria and obtain certificate of capital importation.
  3. Foreign companies are required to register at the Nigerian Investment promotion council a body set up to monitor foreign investment in Nigeria.
  4. Foreign companies are required to register with the Federal Ministry of Internal Affairs and obtain a business permit, which is a requirement to obtain expatriate quota and start its work permit application if it intends to employ foreign staff.

After the fulfillment of these steps your company is ready for business in Nigeria.

The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only, no information contained in this post should be construed as legal advise, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information included in, or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or professional advise from the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer.

This post is protected by intellectual property law and regulations. It may however be shared using appropriate sharing tools provided that our authorship is always acknowledged and this Disclaimer Notice attached.


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Frequently Asked

  • When are Annual Returns due for filing?

    A company’s first Annual Returns are due for filing after 18 months of its inception, subsequently it should be filed annually as the name implies. The filing dates could differ for each company depending on their financial year end but must be filed not later than 42 days after its Annual General Meeting.

    The Annual Returns for Business Names is due not later than the 30th of June each year except in the year the business was registered.

  • What’s the difference between a business name and an LLC?
    • A business name is a sole proprietorship, usually owned and managed by one individual only. Legally, the sole proprietor and his business are one. It simply means an individual trading with an alias. The sole proprietor is personally liable for all business related obligations.

    • A limited liability company on the other hand is a separate business entity from the individuals that hold its shares and act as directors. Legally, it’s a separate business entity and a person on its own who can transact business, own property separate from its owners and can sue or be sued. 

  • What are the product categories available when registering with NAFDAC?

    The product categories include: Food, Cosmetics, Drug, Medical Device, Agro-Chemicals & Pesticide, Veterinary Products, Vaccines & Biologicals, Herbal and Nutraceuticals and Water

  • Can I process/register multiple products at NAFDAC at the same time?

    Yes, you can process/register multiple products at the same time

  • How many shareholders do I need to start a company?

    A minimum of two (2) shareholders is required to form a company.

  • Why do I need a trademark?

    You need to register your trademark because if you don’t register it, someone else can! It helps identify you as the source ad indicates a consistent level of quality of your products and services. Securing a registered trademark protects your brand, and provides you with tools to prevent someone else from using similar signs and riding off the back of your business.

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