Frequently Asked Questions on Form M

The Form ‘M’ is a declaration of intention to import physical goods into Nigeria.

Yes, it is. It is a mandatory document to be completed by anyone intending to import physical goods into the country irrespective of the value and whether payment is involved or not.

The Form ‘M’ is electronic and can be accessed online via a portal called the Single Window for Trade.

Users (Importers, Banks, CBN, NCS & FIRS) of the portal require unique log-on access for their respective profiles to enable submission and processing of the form ‘M’ applications.

Importer registers/applies for Tax Identifier Number (TIN) at any FIRS office

Proforma invoice (PFI) with a maximum validity of 90 days from the date of issuance.

  • Electronic insurance certificate covering 110% of the invoice value.

Yes, depending on the item of import the following documents may be required:

  • SON Product Certificate
  • NAFDAC certificate for all edibles, chemicals, and Pharmaceuticals
  • Department of Petroleum Resources Permit for petroleum oil products
  • PHCN permit for Generating Sets
  • Ministry of Agriculture, Department of Fisheries permit for the importation of fish
  • Pharmaceutical Certificate and Certificate of Retention of premises for the importation of medicinal drugs.
  • NESREA for used items
  • End User Certificate for explosives, fireworks, fertilizers, arms, and ammunition, treated vehicles, private security gadgets, etc.

In addition to the Proforma Invoice and Marine Insurance, these listed documents are also required:

  • Petroleum Product Import Permit from Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR)
  • Depo License
  • Throughput agreement where the depo license provided belongs to a third party.

Yes. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has a list of goods that are under outright ban from importation into the country while some others require special approval before form M for importation can be processed.

The Form M number is generated which begins with the prefix ‘MF’, the Bank officer is able to review and validate to Nigeria Customs if form M is properly filled but where there is a need to make corrections / amendments to the details provided on the form M the bank officer queries it and it is returned to the importer’s profile for correction. Registration by Nigeria Customs is the final stage of Form M acceptance.

It is generated after the Bank officer validates the Form M.

No. Supplier may only be advised to ship upon registration of e-Form M by NCS

The BA prefix is used for import items that are subject to inspection upon arrival into the country; most merchandise fall into this category.

The CB is used for items that are exempt from inspection; they include:

  • Military hard wares
  • Items meant for foreign missions in Nigeria
  • Vaccines
  • Corpse
  • Petroleum products (except base oil). Other items advised by Finance Ministry.

When a transaction is classified as being Valid for FX, it means payment can be made with foreign exchange (FX) sourced from the official market (CBN/inter-bank)

When a transaction is classified as Non-Valid for FX, it implies payment cannot / will not be sourced from the official market (CBN, I &E and Interbank)

The Harmonized [Commodity Description & Coding] System (HS) code is the internationally standardized system of names & numeric classification unique to each item of import. It was developed & maintained by the World Customs Organization (WCO) for the purpose of identifying, describing & classifying each import item and assessment duty payable where applicable.

Payment mode is either of the following as agreed by both importer and exporter

  • Letter of Credit
  • Bill for Collection
  • Advance Payment
  • Not Valid for FX

Yes. Where customer does not intend to use official funds for payment on the Letter of Credit or Bills for Collection transaction, form M can be processed on Not Valid for FX Basis with customer using their own foreign currency domiciliary account funds for settlement.

Yes, it is. Changes in some fields like country of origin/supply, port of discharge can be accommodated after Form M acceptance.

However, a new Form M must be opened if changes required are on non-amendable fields e.g.  Prefix, Bank Code and Country of Origin

Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON) Conformity Assessment Program (SONCAP) run by SON.

SON Product Certificate is issued to the exporter by SON office or SON- authorized accrediting agency in exporting country after an acceptable test report valid for 1 year.

  1. Upon receipt of such certificates by the importer or the exporter, it is activated on the Nigerian SON activation portal using the link below.
    1. https://soncap.son.gov.ng/certificateActivation/webform
  2. The activated SON product certificate is provided along with other documents for Form ‘M’ opening.
  • At point of shipment, SON Certificate of Conformity is issued to the exporter who in turn sends it to the importer. SON office in Nigeria replaces this with the SONCAP Certificate to be presented to NCS for clearing of goods.

All goods imported into the country shall require SONCAP certification except the under listed products.

  • Food Products
  • Drugs and medicals
  • Military wares and equipment
  • Aviation related products
  • Used products other than automobiles and machineries