Foreign persons/companies are welcome to open bank accounts in Nigeria, provided all the necessary conditions are met. This is often necessary as opening a bank account is a pre-requisite to doing business or setting up a company in Nigeria. In addition, with a corporate/ business bank account, foreign companies are better able to monitor their finances and comply with other regulatory requirements.
To open a bank account in Nigeria as a foreign person, you must be a resident of Nigeria.[i] This is because a residence permit and evidence of a physical address in Nigeria are some of the required documents necessary to open a bank account.
Furthermore, a foreigner, whether as an individual or company, would need to obtain a Bank Verification Number (BVN).[ii] All account holders with Nigerian banks must have a BVN, foreigners inclusive. Thus, a foreigner is advised to visit any bank in Nigeria to obtain a BVN. Where the foreigner is not within Nigeria and wants to enroll from his/her location outside the country, he/she may make an inquiry to the nearest Nigerian embassy for the procedure for enrolling for the BVN in that foreign country.
Although the procedure for opening a bank account in Nigeria as a foreigner may differ from bank to bank, the documentary requirements are essentially the same. The following is a checklist of documents required to open a bank account as a foreign company in Nigeria[iii]:
- Certified Memorandum and Articles of Association
- Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) Certificate
- A company seal (if available)
- Resolution from the Board of Directors/Proprietor authorizing the opening of the account and approving the account signatories
- Company Tax Identification Number (TIN)
- Certified true copies of incorporation documents
- Utility bill showing physical address
- Business permit & Residence permit
- Bank Verification Number (BVN) of a director/proprietor
- Completed Corporate Account opening form signed by designated signatories
- Means of Identification by directors/proprietors
- Passport Photograph of signatories
- Personal details of the directors
- Two (2) duly filled reference forms by corporate account holders
- Special Control Unit Against Money Laundering (SCUML) registration, where applicable
- Minimum Opening Balance of N5,000 – N10,000 depending on the particular bank
Banks in Nigeria provide a wide range of services that a foreigner may take advantage of, such as the transfer of funds outside the country, internet banking, credit and debit cards, maintaining multi-currency accounts, etc.[iv] The specific service may vary from bank to bank, therefore, it is advised that when selecting a desired bank, attention should be placed on the type of services they render, amongst other things. It is advised that foreigners also choose a bank with a branch in one’s foreign country.
Opening a bank account in Nigeria as a foreigner can be a seamless process, provided that all the necessary documents are readily available.
[i] Resolution Law Firm, Can a Foreigner Open a Bank Account in Nigeria https://www.resolutionlawng.com/can-a-foreigner-open-a-bank-account-in-nigeria/ Accessed on February 10, 2023
[iii] Aziza.com.ng, Guide to Open Business Bank Account as a Foreigner in Nigeria https://www.aziza.com.ng/guide-to-open-business-bank-account-as-a-foreigners-in-nigeria/
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