A business permit is the consent of the Nigerian government obtained through the Minister of internal Affairs for the commencement and operation of business in Nigeria by a Nigerian company requiring the services of a non-Nigerian, by a company solely owned by foreigners in Nigeria or by any foreign company intending to operate its subsidiary in Nigeria.


This is predicated on the provisions of Section 36 of the Nigeria Immigration Act, which provide that no person other than a Nigerian can do business, practice any profession or partner with any Nigerian unless the person has sought and obtained the consent of the Minister of Internal Affairs. The consent of the Minister of Internal Affairs is granted in the form of a Business Permit issued to applicant company.


To obtain a business permit in Nigeria, the applicant company must be registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) with a minimum share capital of N10,000,000.00 (Ten Million Naira). In applying for a business permit, the following documents are to be submitted:


  1. Application letter from the company to the Minister of Internal Affairs. 
  2. Certificate of Incorporation of company. 
  3. CAC Forms CO2 (Particulars of Shareholders) and CO7 (Particulars of Directors). 
  4. Memorandum and Articles of Association of the company. 
  5. Application letter to Executive Secretary, Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC). 
  6. Duly completed NIPC Form 1. 
  7. Certificate of Capital Importation. 
  8. Evidence of acquisition of business premises – tenancy agreement or lease agreement. 
  9. Feasibility report or company profile.


A business permit is different from a residence permit, which a non-Nigerian would require to live and work in Nigeria. The residence permit is referred to as the Combined Expatriate Residential Permit and Alien Card (CERPAC).


It is important to note that there is a difference between registration of business with the NIPC on the one hand and a business permit from the Ministry of Interior on the other hand. The major duties of the NIPC is to monitor and promote foreign participation in Nigeria. Thus, registration with NIPC is a prerequisite for obtaining a business permit from the Ministry of Interior.

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