OPENING A BANK ACCOUNT IN NIGERIA
There are various regulations and procedures guiding the opening and operation of a bank account for both locals and non-resident persons in Nigeria. The opening of Non-resident bank account in Nigeria is relevant to Nigerian citizens in diaspora and foreigners having Nigerian residency status.
By virtue of the Central Bank of Nigeria Regulations, no person or entity may open a bank account in Nigeria unless the signatory to the bank’s bank account is resident in Nigeria and has enrolled for the biometric Bank Verification Number (BVN).
Nonetheless, due to the technology advancement, most banks in Nigeria now allow a person not physically present in Nigeria to open a bank account as long such individual is a Nigerian citizen or foreigner legally resident in Nigeria with the CERPAC (Combined Expatriate Residence Permit Aliens Card). The purpose of this scheme is to attract huge Nigerian population in the diaspora to carry out banking activities in Nigeria. The scheme is also targeted at any itinerant foreign workers with the Nigerian residency status.
It is important that the minimum requirements stipulated by the Nigerian banks for opening an account in Nigeria must also comply with. The requirements are almost the same as the requirements for ordinary Nigerians physically present or residing in Nigeria. Some of the top tier Nigerian banks offering non-resident bank account opening services include Zenith Bank Nigeria Plc, First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, United Bank for Africa Plc, Access Bank Plc among others. The Nigerian top tier banks are recognized worldwide for their huge assets base, sound financial systems and high ratings.
It is important to note that the bank’s non-resident bank accounts are targeted to only Nigerian citizens or any foreigner holding the Nigerian residency status. It does not extend to a foreigner without the Nigerian residency status. A foreigner seeking to obtain a Nigerian residency may do so by investing and opening a company in Nigeria first, before applying for the Nigerian residency.
In conclusion, any Nigerian citizen in diaspora or foreigner with the Nigerian residency must enroll for a Bank Verification Number(BVN) before opening a bank account. The Nigerian embassies in various countries regularly advise on the procedure to enroll for the Nigerian BVN oversees.
Lastly, for a foreign-owned company incorporated in Nigeria to open and maintain a bank account, the director or signatory to the account must either be a Nigerian citizen or a foreigner who has duly obtained the Nigerian resident permit (CERPAC). Consequently, a foreign-owned company seeking to temporarily open and maintain a bank account without permanently based in Nigeria are allowed to appoint a local or nominee director for such purpose under the law.
BY RESOLUTION LAW FIRM