Visible trade involves the import/export of physical goods. All applications for import of physical goods are processed with Form 'M' while Form 'NXP' is used for processing exports.

Form 'M'

Form M is a mandatory statutory document to be completed by all importers for importation of goods into Nigeria.

The life span of a Form M is 12 months (for general merchandise and raw materials) and 24 months (for plant and machinery), after which an extension of 6 extra months days can be granted on the Form M by the Authorized Dealer. Any further extension must be approved by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

It is therefore mandatory for all importers to complete and register Form 'M' with Authorized Dealers at the time of placing orders whether the transaction is valid for foreign exchange or not. This is currently initiated electronically on Trade Portal provided by the Central Bank of Nigeria in conjunction with the Nigeria Customs Service.

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Letters Of Credit

A Letter of Credit (LC) is a mode of payment used for the importation of visible goods.
It is a written undertaking given by a Bank (issuing Bank) at the request of it's customer (applicant), in which the Bank obligates itself to pay the exporter (seller/beneficiary) up to a stated amount within a prescribed time frame upon presentation of stipulated documents that conform to the terms and conditions of the documentary credit.

The major participants in an LC transaction are:

  • The Buyer/Importer/Applicant i.e the customer requesting LC to be issued.
  • The Seller/Exporter/Beneficiary i.e the Recipient of the LC.
  • The Issuing Bank - which gives the written undertaking.
  • Advising Bank/Seller's Bank i.e the bank that advises the LC to the beneficiary.

The common types of LCs are:

  • Unconfirmed LC
  • Confirmed LC

Unconfirmed LC 
Any LC that has only the payment obligation of the issuing bank.

Confirmed LC 
Any LC that carries the payment obligation of at least two banks being the issuing bank and any other bank i.e the confirming bank.

The seller may either request a named bank to confirm the credit or just ask for confirmation by any reputable bank.
Confirmation comes at a cost since it is a service rendered by the confirming bank. The cost of confirmation can be borne by either the applicant or the beneficiary depending on the agreement between them and the instruction given to the opening bank.

For an LC payable at sight, payment would be made upon presentation of credit compliant documents while for deferred payment LC, payment is made at a later date (in accordance with the agreed date stated in the L/C e.g 60 days from bill of lading date or invoice date e.t.c)

Bills for Collection (Documentary Collection)

Bills for Collection is also a mode of payment used for the importation of visible goods to Nigeria.
A Bill for Collection is defined according to Uniform Rule for Collection (URC 522) as the handling of documents (financial and/or commercial) by banks in accordance with instructions received from the exporter in order to:

  • Obtain payment or acceptance or
  • Deliver documents against payment and/or acceptance or
  • Deliver documents on other terms and conditions.

The major participants of a Bill for Collection transaction are:

  • The Buyer/Importer/Applicant
  • The Seller/Exporter/Beneficiary
  • The importer's bank/Collecting bank
  • The exporter's bank/Remitting bank

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Customs Duty Collection

All importation into the country must be done by opening a form M, whether valid for FX or not. Customs duty payment can only be processed at the bank where the form M was opened except where the Bank that approved the form M is not a Duty Collecting Bank.

Payment Instruments: A customer can pay duty using any of the following:

  • Cash
  • FCMB draft
  • The customer’s FCMB cheque
  • Other bank’s draft and cheque (receipt is issued after draft/cheque has cleared)
  • Electronic transfers

Shipping Documents/Endorsements

This relates to the collection of shipping documents for visible import transactions.

Those activities range from:

  • Collection of shipping documents on importation of goods to Nigeria from exporter/exporter's bank/correspondent bank.
  • Collection of all Exchange Control Documents from customers
  • Upload documents on the Central Bank of Nigeria Single Window Trade Portal for issuance of Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR)
  • Report (RAR)
  • Endorsement and release of shipping documents

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The Form NXP is a mandatory statutory document to be completed by all exporters for shipment of goods outside Nigeria.

According to the CBN Circular reference TED/A-D/50/99, anyone willing to engage in export business is required to register with the Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC). In addition, any export transaction should have the following documents:

  • A duly completed NXP Form ( 6 Copies)
  • A Proforma Invoice
  • Nigerian Export Promotion Council (N.E.P.C) Certificate.
  • Corporate Affairs Commission (C.A.C) Certificate
  • Request For Information (R.F.I) Form
  • A Contract agreement, where applicable.
  • Relevant Certificate of Quality issued by one or more government agencies.
  • Shipping documents e.g Bill of Lading, Commercial invoice e.t.c
  • Other certificates e.g Form EUR-1 for goods being exported to Europe.

The shipping documents to be submitted to the bank by the exporter include:

      • Bill of Exit
      • Bill of lading
      • Final invoice
      • EUR certificate (A certificate issued after pre-shipment inspection, for goods going to Europe)
      • Commercial Invoice
      • Packing List
      • Certificate of Origin
      • Clean Certificate of Inspection (CCI)


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The processing of invisible transactions is also done by the Foreign Operations Unit. Form A is a mandatory statutory document to be completed by all individuals for payment of services outside Nigeria.

Invisible transactions are essentially payment for services i.e there are no tangible goods involved. There are different types of invisible transactions. Some of which are:

  • Course Fees
  • Dividend Remittances
  • Payment for Medical Services outside Nigeria
  • Technical Service Fee Remittance
  • Personal Home Remittance
  • School Fees Remittance etc.
  •  PTA (Personal Travel Allowance)
  • BTA (Business Travel Allowance)

Documentation requirements for invisible transactions are as listed in the Foreign Exchange Manual

Trade Service Desk

Trade service team is positioned to cater for the needs of our Trade customers. The team gives advisory services on transactions and also train customers on all trade transactions/products.

All inquiries should be forwarded to or

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