BasicsTime: GMT +1
Electricity: Electrical current is 230 volts, 50Hz. Round and square three-pin plugs are used.
Money: Nigerian currency is the Naira (NGN), which is divided into 100 kobo. Approved exchange facilities include major hotels and the airport, but official rates are very high. It is illegal to change money on the street. Credit card fraud is a problem, and visitors are advised to exercise caution when using credit cards. Credit card facilities are also limited outside of the major cities. Prior to travel, visitors should ensure they have a variety of currency options available to them (Pounds, US Dollars or Euros) in cash. Travellers should be aware of the prevalence of commercial fraud in Nigeria.
Currency Exchange Rates
Language: English is the official language in Nigeria and is widely used, though many other languages are also spoken.
Entry requirements for Americans: United States citizens must have a passport valid for six months after date of arrival. A visa is required. However, no visa is required for former nationals of Nigeria with a valid foreign passport and an expired Nigerian passport.
Entry requirements for UK nationals: British citizens must have a passport valid for six months after date of arrival. A visa is required. However, no visa is required for former nationals of Nigeria with a valid foreign passport and an expired Nigerian passport.
Entry requirements for Canadians: Canadians must have a passport valid for six months after date of arrival. A visa is required. However, no visa is required for former nationals of Nigeria with a valid foreign passport and an expired Nigerian passport.
Entry requirements for Australians: Australians must have a passport valid for six months after the date of arrival. A visa is required. However, no visa is required for former nationals of Nigeria with a valid foreign passport and an expired Nigerian passport.
Entry requirements for South Africans: South Africans must have a passport valid for six months after date of arrival. A visa is required. However, no visa is required for former nationals of Nigeria with a valid foreign passport and an expired Nigerian passport.
Entry requirements for New Zealand nationals: New Zealand citizens must have a passport valid for six months after the date of arrival. A visa is required. However, no visa is required for former nationals of Nigeria with a valid foreign passport and an expired Nigerian passport.
Passport/Visa Note: Nationals of virtually all countries require a visa to enter Nigeria, the few exceptions are mainly neighbouring African states. Visas must be obtained in advance and all visitors require a return ticket, documents for onward travel and sufficient funds. Those entering for business reasons must also have a letter of invitation and verification from Nigerian representatives abroad stating purpose of entry. Passports must be valid for at least six months after arrival. Visas can be obtained on arrival. E-visas can be obtained before departure at www.portal.immigration.gov.ng/visa/freshVisa. Passengers must have a printed e-visa confirmation.
Travel Health: When travelling to Nigeria, an international vaccination certificate against yellow fever is required. A Cholera vaccination certificate is also required if coming from an infected area. As a precaution against cholera, visitors should drink only boiled or bottled water and avoid ice in drinks. Anti-malaria prophylaxis and TB inoculation are recommended, and at present there is still a slight risk of polio infection in northern Nigeria. Visitors should seek the latest medical advice on inoculations at least three weeks prior to departure.
In major cities, private hospitals offer good facilities, and private clinics are found even in the smallest towns. As in many countries, costs for medical services or hospital care must be shouldered by the traveller. There are government hospitals throughout the country, but apart from emergencies, the hospitals are more geared to serving the local population. Individuals needing specialised treatment for acute illness or severe injury are usually evacuated to Europe or South Africa. Good, comprehensive insurance is strongly advised, and should include evacuation. Pharmacies abound in Nigeria, even in supermarkets, and are open during normal trading hours.
Tipping: In restaurants, a 10% tip is adequate if a service charge hasn't already been added. Negotiate taxi fares before embarking on a journey; remember that fares are usually increased for tourists so tipping isn't necessary. Porters should be tipped accordingly.
Climate: Abuja experiences three seasons each year: a hot and humid rainy season from April to October; a dry season from October to April; and a brief windy season in between known as the Harmattan season, when the dry and dusty West African trade wind blows through the city, coupled with intense cold. Sometimes the dust storms severely limit visibility and can even block the sun for several days, comparable to a heavy fog. During the rainy season average daytime temperatures reach around 86°F (30°C) while nights are relatively warm. In the dry season, daytime temperatures in Abuja can soar as high as 104°F (40°C) and evenings can be chilly, with temperatures dropping as low as 54°F (12°C).
Safety Information: Numerous hazards await unwary and uninformed visitors, from bogus greeters at the airport, to scams attempting to extort money from visitors' relatives back home, and even kidnappings for ransom. Violent street crime, armed robberies, muggings, and car jackings are prevalent in Lagos and elsewhere in the more populous southern regions of the country. Visitors should ensure that their local hosts and/or family and friends at home know their travel plans. Public transport is potentially dangerous with poorly maintained buses and taxis, and fraud and criminal activity rife among drivers. The reliability of domestic airlines has also been questioned after numerous accidents. Fuel shortages often occur, and road travel may be hazardous due to the risk of armed robbery and car jackings, particularly in traffic jams and rural areas. Visitors should avoid travelling at night, and should consider driving in convoy through rural areas. There are frequent outbreaks of civil unrest and violence in Nigeria, and strikes often cause disruption to transport and other services. Travellers are advised to avoid all protests and demonstrations, and to be extremely cautious in the northern region of Nigeria. Yobe, Borno, Adamawa, Gombe, and Bauchi States should all be avoided to due frequent violent attacks, as should Kano City and Warri City. The Delta, Rivers and Bayelsa States should also be avoided, particularly the riverine areas and Port Harcourt, due to hostage-taking and terrorist threats. All but essential travel to Akwa Ibom State should also be avoided, as oil facilities have been attacked and expatriate oil workers seized. Elections were held in February-March 2019. The results are subject to challenge, and tensions are high. Public gatherings and demonstrations may take place at short notice. Visitors are advised to avoid such gatherings, and monitor local media for updates.
Local Customs: Nigeria has a relatively formal society and it is appropriate to address Nigerians by their surnames until you know them very well. Beachwear is only appropriate for the beach. Nigeria has the largest Muslim population in Africa, concentrated mainly in the north. Women should dress modestly, and avoid wearing trousers, and all visitors should exercise discretion in behaviour and dress, especially when visiting religious sites and during the holy month of Ramadan. Time is a different concept in West Africa than in Europe or North America. Being 'on time' to a Nigerian could easily be a couple of hours after an agreed start-time. Evening social events tend to start late and often continue into the small hours. Photography in airports may lead to arrest. Homosexuality is illegal in Nigeria.
Business: Those looking to do business in Nigeria, and especially those who've never done business on the African continent before, will certainly have to prepare themselves to face unique challenges. Although great strides have been made within Nigeria's corporate landscape, the country still suffers from massive corruption and a debilitating lack of infrastructure, which can make doing business there difficult. The management style typically found in Nigeria is extremely hierarchical. The boss - invariably male, and always of an older generation - will expect and will receive respect from all those working beneath him, and will never be publicly criticised. However, this does not necessarily mean that all decisions are made on this authority-figure's whim; business relationships are extremely important in Nigeria, and often, compromises can be reached. In general, Nigerian business leaders will lead firmly, giving their employees instructions that are expected to be followed closely. Teamwork, and the ability to work together toward clearly-defined goals, is considered a more valuable asset than independent thinking or individualistic efforts. Business meetings in Nigeria are very social occasions, providing the framework within which solid interpersonal connections are to be made. Bear the following in mind: respect for elders is huge in Nigeria; even if one is more qualified than older colleagues, there is no surer way to cause offence in Nigeria than by disrespecting members of the older generation. In Nigeria, especially for men, it is important that business dress reflects status; men tend to wear dark, stylish suits and a tie, and don't hold back on the accessories. Dressing for work in Nigeria can be trickier for female expats, especially those used to the more relaxed dress codes of the UK or America. Nigeria is a very traditional country, and therefore, skirts above the knee and cleavage-revealing tops are unacceptable in the office environment, as is the exposure of too much skin around the collarbone and shoulder area. There is no specific protocol for the exchanging of business cards in Nigeria - although it is considered rude not to study the card in the presence of the person who gave it to you. Make sure any tertiary education or qualifications you have received are printed on your card, and that your title is prominently displayed. In a country of so many different ethnic groups and dialects, English has emerged as the de facto language of business in Nigeria. Business hours are generally from 8am (or 8.30am) to 5pm, from Monday to Friday. In the northern (predominately Muslim) part of Nigeria, Friday is a day of rest.
Communications: The country code for Nigeria is +234. Full international direct dialling is available. Free wifi is available in many cafes, restaurants, and hotels in tourist areas. A local prepaid SIM card can be purchased to avoid paying high international roaming charges.
Duty free: Travellers to Nigeria over 18 years old do not have to pay duty on 200g of tobacco products, 1 litre of spirits and 1 litre wine, perfume or eau de Cologne for personal use and gifts to the value of NGN 50,000 (excluding jewellery, photographic equipment, electronics and luxury goods). Prescription medication and pharmaceutical products should be accompanied by a letter from your GP as well as the original prescription, and should not be carried in your checked luggage. The following items carry substantial duty levies: cameras, projectors and other electronic goods, unless visitors can provide proof of possession for at least three years or can submit a certificate of re-importation. Prohibited items include beer, mineral water, soft drinks, sparkling wine, fresh fruit and vegetables, textiles, mosquito netting, jewellery and precious metals, cereals, and eggs. Flowers, plants and seeds often need permits and the rules regarding specific species often change, so it is best to check the situation as close to your time of travel as possible.
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