How Many Documents Are Required To Export Goods From Nigeria?

The process of exporting goods from Nigeria to international markets is a vital component of the country’s economic activities. To engage in this global trade successfully, understanding the documentation requirements is of utmost importance.

In this article, we will look into the essential documents needed for exporting from Nigeria, shed light on their significance, and provide insights into how meticulous documentation ensures a smooth and compliant journey for Nigerian exporters.

Whether you are a seasoned exporter or considering entering the global market, having a comprehensive understanding of these documents is crucial to international trade.

How Many Documents Are Required To Export From Nigeria

Types of Documents Required For Exports In Nigeria

  1. Export Licenses and Permits: Export licenses and permits are essential documents issued by government authorities, such as the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC). They grant legal authorization to individuals or companies to engage in export activities. The specific license or permit required may vary depending on the nature of the goods being exported.
  2. Commercial Invoice: A commercial invoice is a detailed bill provided by the exporter to the foreign buyer. It includes essential information about the goods, their quantity, unit prices, total value, payment terms, and other transaction-related details. This document serves as evidence of the commercial transaction and assists customs authorities in assessing duties and taxes.
  3. Bill of Lading (B/L): The bill of lading is a crucial shipping document issued by the carrier or shipping company. It serves as both a receipt for the goods and a contract of carriage. The B/L contains information about the cargo, its destination, and the terms of the shipment. It is essential for tracking the shipment and transferring ownership of the goods.
  4. Certificate of Origin: This document certifies the country of origin of the goods being exported. It provides information about where the products were manufactured or produced. Some foreign countries require a Certificate of Origin to determine tariff rates and assess the quality of imported goods.
  5. Packing List: A packing list is an itemized document that describes the contents of each package or container in the shipment. It includes details such as the quantity, weight, dimensions, and a description of the goods. Customs officials and logistics personnel use the packing list to verify the contents and ensure proper handling.
  6. Phytosanitary Certificate: This certificate is crucial for the export of agricultural products and plant-based goods. It confirms that the products meet the phytosanitary requirements of the importing country. It ensures that the goods are free from pests, diseases, and contaminants that could harm the recipient’s agriculture.
  7. Insurance Documents: Insurance documents, including a certificate of insurance and a policy, provide coverage for the goods during transit. Exporters often obtain marine cargo insurance to protect against potential loss or damage to their products while in transit. These documents provide proof of coverage and terms.
  8. Export Declaration Form: The export declaration form is a document that exporters must complete to declare the details of their shipments to customs authorities. It includes information about the goods, their value, destination, and other relevant details. Accurate completion of this form is crucial for customs clearance and compliance.
  9. Form NXP (Nigeria Export Proceeds Form): Form NXP is a mandatory document issued by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and required for every export transaction. It serves as a declaration of the exporter’s intention to repatriate export proceeds to Nigeria. It provides details about the export transaction, including the value of the goods.
  10. Proforma Invoice: A Proforma Invoice is an initial invoice provided by the exporter to the buyer before the actual shipment. It includes a detailed description of the goods, their prices, and other relevant terms of the sale. Buyers often require this document for internal approval processes.
  11. Sales Contract/Agreement (where applicable): A Sales Contract or Agreement outlines the terms and conditions of the sale between the exporter and the foreign buyer. It includes details such as the agreed-upon price, payment terms, delivery schedule, quality standards, and other contractual obligations. Not all exports may require a formal contract, but it is advisable for significant transactions.
  12. NEPC Registration Certificate: The Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) issues registration certificates to exporters. It signifies that the exporter is a recognized entity engaged in export activities. This certificate may be required by foreign buyers and authorities as proof of the exporter’s legitimacy.
  13. Relevant Certificate of Quality: The Certificate of Quality is issued by relevant Nigerian agencies responsible for certifying the quality and compliance of specific goods. Different products may require certification from different agencies. It ensures that the exported products meet the quality standards set by the importing country.
  14. Shipping Documents (e.g., Bill of Exit, Bill of Lading, etc.): Shipping documents are critical for the transportation and clearance of goods. The Bill of Exit is used for customs clearance in Nigeria, while the Bill of Lading is issued by the carrier and serves as evidence of the goods being shipped. These documents are essential for tracking and transferring ownership of the cargo.
  15. Other Certificates (e.g., Form EUR-1): Depending on the destination and the nature of the goods, additional certificates may be required. For example, Form EUR-1 is a certificate of origin that may be necessary for exports to European Union countries to benefit from preferential trade agreements.

These additional documents complement the core set of export documentation and ensure that the export process is legally compliant, transparent, and smooth.

Exporters should be aware of specific requirements for their products and destinations to avoid delays and issues during the export process.

Challenges and Tips Associated With Export Documentation In Nigeria


  1. Documentation Complexity: Export documentation can be complex and time-consuming, with different requirements for each destination country.
  2. Quality Control: Ensuring consistent product quality and meeting international standards is crucial but can be challenging for some exporters.
  3. Logistics and Shipping: Shipping and logistics arrangements, including finding reliable freight forwarders and dealing with shipping delays, can be daunting.
  4. Market Access: Identifying and accessing foreign markets, especially in the face of competition, can be a hurdle.
  5. Payment Risks: Dealing with payment risks, such as non-payment by international buyers or currency fluctuations, is a concern.

Tips to Overcome Challenges:

  1. Education and Training: Invest in export training programs and seek guidance from organizations like the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) to understand export procedures and documentation.
  2. Quality Assurance: Implement rigorous quality control measures and obtain relevant quality certifications to ensure your products meet international standards.
  3. Professional Assistance: Engage experienced customs brokers, freight forwarders, and shipping agents to handle the logistics efficiently.
  4. Market Research: Conduct thorough market research to identify potential buyers and understand market trends and preferences. Build relationships with international buyers and distributors.
  5. Payment Security: Use secure payment methods like letters of credit (LCs) to minimize payment risks. Consider credit insurance for added protection.
  6. Export Associations: Join export associations and networks to access valuable resources, connect with industry experts, and stay updated on export opportunities.
  7. Government Support: Explore government export promotion programs and incentives that can help reduce export costs and provide market information.
  8. Diversification: Consider diversifying your product offerings and target markets to spread risks and increase opportunities for success.
  9. Professional Advice: Consult with export consultants or export advisory services for personalized guidance and strategies tailored to your specific export goals.
  10. Persistence and Patience: Understand that export success may take time. Be persistent, patient, and adaptable in overcoming challenges and seizing opportunities.

How Many Documents Are Required To Export Goods From Nigeria?

Exporting from Nigeria typically requires several important documents to facilitate the process and ensure compliance with international trade regulations.

The number and specifics of the required documents may vary depending on the type of product, destination country, and other factors.

Here are some of the key documents commonly needed for exporting goods from Nigeria:

  1. Proforma Invoice: This is a preliminary invoice provided by the exporter to the buyer. It includes details of the goods, their prices, and other terms of the sale.
  2. Sales Contract/Agreement: A formal contract outlining the terms and conditions of the sale, including pricing, payment terms, delivery schedule, and quality standards.
  3. Nigeria Export Proceeds Form (Form NXP): A mandatory form issued by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) that declares the exporter’s intention to repatriate export proceeds to Nigeria.
  4. NEPC Certificate: The Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) issues certificates to registered exporters, indicating their legitimacy in export activities.
  5. Certificate of Quality: Depending on the product, certificates of quality may be issued by relevant Nigerian agencies to ensure that the exported goods meet specific quality standards.
  6. Bill of Exit: A document required for customs clearance in Nigeria, providing details about the exported goods.
  7. Bill of Lading: A document issued by the carrier (shipping company) that serves as evidence of the goods being shipped.
  8. Certificate of Origin: Sometimes required, this document certifies the country of origin of the goods and may be essential for trade agreements and customs clearance in the destination country.
  9. Packing List: A detailed list of the contents of each package, including quantity, weight, and description of the goods.
  10. Phytosanitary Certificate: Necessary for the export of agricultural products, this certificate confirms that the goods are free from pests and diseases.
  11. Certificate of Insurance: Often required to protect the goods during transit, especially for high-value shipments.
  12. Import License (for the destination country): Some countries require import licenses or permits for specific goods. Ensure compliance with the importing country’s regulations.
  13. Export Declaration Form: This form is used to declare the details of the export transaction to customs authorities.
  14. Certificate of Incorporation: Required if you are exporting goods as a registered company, as it demonstrates your legal status.
  15. Commercial Invoice: An invoice that provides a detailed breakdown of the transaction, including the unit price, total price, and payment terms.
  16. Certificate of Free Sale: Some products may require this certificate to confirm that they are freely sold and consumed in Nigeria.
  17. Certificate of Analysis: Necessary for certain products to provide information about their chemical composition and quality.
  18. Export Permit (for certain goods): Certain goods, such as crude oil or minerals, may require specific export permits from relevant government agencies.
  19. Customs Documentation: Various customs declarations and forms may be necessary for customs clearance both in Nigeria and the destination country.

It’s important to note that the specific documentation requirements can vary widely based on the nature of the goods, the destination country’s regulations, and changes in trade agreements.

Therefore, exporters should consult with relevant government agencies, industry associations, and experienced customs brokers to ensure they have the necessary documents and comply with all legal requirements for their particular export transactions.


How many documents are required for export from Nigeria? The number of documents required for export from Nigeria can vary depending on various factors, including the type of product and destination country. However, exporters typically need to prepare a range of documents, including invoices, certificates, permits, and licenses.

What documents must an exporter provide when shipping goods from Nigeria? Exporters from Nigeria must provide essential documents such as a Proforma Invoice, Sales Contract/Agreement, Nigeria Export Proceeds Form (Form NXP), NEPC Certificate, Certificate of Quality, Bill of Exit, Bill of Lading, Certificate of Origin (if required), and other relevant documentation depending on the nature of the goods and destination.

How much does an export license cost in Nigeria? The cost of an export license in Nigeria can vary based on the type of license and the issuing authority. The fee for obtaining an export license from the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) was approximately N10,000. However, fees may change over time, so it’s advisable to check with NEPC or relevant authorities for the latest fee information.

What is the most common document used in exporting from Nigeria? The Proforma Invoice and Sales contract/agreement are among the most common documents used in exporting from Nigeria. The Proforma Invoice provides essential details of the goods and the proposed transaction, while the Sales Contract/Agreement outlines the terms and conditions of the sale.

Please note that document requirements and fees may change, and exporters need to stay updated with the latest regulations and consult with relevant authorities or trade associations for accurate and current information related to export documentation in Nigeria.

Scroll to Top