All you need to know about obtaining a Business Permit in Nigeria

A business permit is the authorization or approval issued by the Nigerian government to an individual or corporate body for the start and operation of business in Nigeria

A business permit is the authorization or approval issued by the Nigerian government through the Department of Citizenship and Business, Ministry of Interior to a foreign individual or corporate body for the start and operation of business in Nigeria. The possession of the business permit confers rights to commence business in Nigeria upon due registration of a company wholly owned by foreigners within Nigeria.

Business permit


A Foreign owned company that intends to apply for a business permit must have been duly registered by the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC). Business Permit and Expatriate Quota are usually applied for at the same time, however, for the purpose of this article Business Permit will be focused on. The next article will discuss Expatriate Quota, documentary requirements, renewal, restoration, redesignation, etc.


The first step for a foreigner or foreign company seeking to do business in Nigeria is registration of Business with the CAC, the authority with the responsibility to regulate the formation and management of companies in Nigeria. It is important to note that, a foreign owned company or company with foreign participation is required to have  a minimum share capital of 10,000,00 Naira. The following are information required;

  1. Company Name 
  2. Address
  3. Business Objects
  4. Shareholders
  5. Directors
  6. Share Capital
  7. Identification
  8. Proficiency Certificate (this is required for certain sectors)

Upon registration with the CAC, a Certificate of Registration and Certified true copy of the application is issued.


The National Investment promotion commission (NIPC) is charged with the responsibility of encouraging, promoting and coordinating investment in the Nigerian economy. A company with foreign participation must apply for registration with the NIPC before commencing business in Nigeria. The following documents are required to register with the NIPC;

  1. Duly completed NIPC BRC Form I;
  2. Certificate of Incorporation;
  3. Memorandum & Articles of Association;
  4. CAC Form 1.1 (or CAC Forms CO2 and CO7 for old companies);
  5. Power of Attorney/ Letter of Authority (where applicable); and
  6. Evidence of Payment of Processing fee of N15,000 

Upon approval, the NIPC issues a Certificate of Registration of Business with Foreign Participation. The NIPC aims to revert within 24hours of submitting an application, however, in our experience this can be longer due to backlog of applications.


After successful registration of the company with the CAC and NIPC, such company with foreign participation can proceed to apply for a Business Permit with the Ministry of Interior. The following documents are required to obtain a business permit: 

    1. An application letter to the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry for Interior.
    2. Certificate of registration obtained from NIPC.
    3. Certificate of incorporation obtained from CAC.
    4. A copy of CAC forms showing statement of share capital structure and particulars of directors.  
    5. Memorandum and articles of association. 
    6. Tax Clearance Certificate. 
    7. Evidence of acquisition of business premises (Lease Agreement or C of O).
    8. Feasibility report (should be certified or registered with CAC
    9. Joint Venture Agreement for partnership venture between Nigerian and foreigners 

The Department of Citizenship and Business, Ministry of Interior usually reverts with the approval within a duration of less than 2weeks.

Business permit


The following Fees are the official fees for obtaining a Business Permit in Nigeria

1Automation Fees 51,000------
2Processing Fess-- 30,000----
3Grant of Business Permit ---- 100,000--
4Amendment Of Business Permit---- 50,000      --


In a bid to improve efficiency, reduce processing timelines for applications, provide a centralized database for the Ministry, and further improve the ease of doing business in Nigeria. The process for applying for a business permit has been fully automated by the ministry. An online portal has been created where all fees, registration procedure and document uploads will be done. 


In our experience, companies that have been issued a Business Permit might want to change their core business or there has been mistakes while processing it. The following are documentary requirements for such amendment

  1. Board Resolution on the changes of line of activities duly registered with CAC;
  2. Extract of minutes of Board of Directors Meeting showing decision taken and attendance;
  3. Evidence of resignation / appointment of Directors (old & new) where applicable; and
  4. Company Current Tax Clearance Certificate (original to be presented for sighting)

NOTE: Board Resolution should indicate names of Directors present at the meeting and must be fully signed by the Chairman and Company Secretary.

Sidebrief has professionals versed in the Procurement of operational licenses and permits, Expatriate Quota Approvals, Work/Residence Permit ­(CERPAC), ECOWAS Permits, Dependent Applications, Filing of Monthly Returns, Free Trade Zone Compliance, E­Citibiz Registration and Regulatory Authorities Liaison,. We are available to discuss any questions you might have regarding any of the above. or Phone: 09018081296

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