importing into nigeriaAssuming you have been importing into Nigeria, you probably know what PAAR is already. For new importers PAAR might be one of those strange words. In principle, all goods imported into Nigeria must follow the Form M/PAAR rout. The courier shipment is not required to obtain PAAR document. What then is PAAR? How do one process PAAR? Thus, answers to these questions and more is what inspired the writing of this article.


PAAR is an acronym for Pre-Arrival Assessment Report. To clear goods entering into Nigeria, an NCS approved and valid PAAR report is required. The single window does not allow individuals the right to process PAAR. Therefore, PAAR must be done by a commercial bank. Usually, PAAR is done by the bank that issued the Form M.


By regulation, the exporter is required to send original PAAR documents for a particular shipment to the bank. The exporter sends documents to the authorised dealer bank directly by courier or any other means. Also, note that PAAR documents are not sent through the one importing into Nigeria. Consequently, if given to the importer, this could delay PAAR issuance. Hence, delay in PAAR issuance have overall impact on clearing speed. However, all hope is not lost. Some banks are considerate and have a faster way of doing things. Vagmon Integrated Services makes your work pretty as fast as you would like it. Contact us via +2349075526276 for whatever the challenge is.

Finally, the bank fills electronic PAAR Consignment form via the Nigeria Single Window Trade Portal. The bank also attaches scanned copies of final documents, to NCS who can view, register, query or reject PAAR.


The Commercial Invoice:


The Packing List:

The packing list is an unabridged Customs cum transport document. It is issued by the manufacturer, supplier or exporter to the buyer. The Packing List contains details of parcel/packaging of goods bought. Goods packaging could be in the form of boxes inside a container or non-containerised parcels of goods. The packing list serves a lot of function in international and national trade.

First of all, for the buyer, packing list helps give an exact of what is packaged and useful for unloading. The transporter uses it to categorise goods for proper labelling and handling, especially for group-age container. For the government agencies like Customs, it serves as a check document. Checks are made between what is stated in the Form M and what is actually imported. Above all, the Packing List allows room for isolated parcel inspection in a grouped container.


Due to the importance of the Packing List document, I will write more about packing list in a separate article. However, suffice to say that packing list is the invoice excluding prices and adding up some other details. Such detail like volume, net and gross weight, dimensions and layout are added. Therefore, to prepare a packing list, you should delete the costs components in the commercial invoice and add up details. Change document name to Packing List. Also remember to add up the Form M numbers for shipment to Nigeria.

The Air Waybill or Bill of Lading or Sea Waybill or Road Waybill:

This is issued by the carrier of your goods. A draft is usually issued to make sure the document complies with local requirements. Check to see that weights, HS Codes, Form M numbers, and goods description are stated. Also, vessel or airline carrying the cargo, number of packages must be stated. Equally important are container number(s) and serial number(s) (for containerised shipment). Telex Releases are acceptable in place of bills. Similarly, Free Zone Waybill is used for free zone shipment, which we shall discuss on a separate article.

SONCAP/Import Permit/NESREA Certificate, etc.:

We shall talk more on Import Permit and NESREA Certificate as alternative to SONCAP in a separate article. Read Also: SONCAP PRODUCT CERTIFICATE: SHIPPING TO NIGERIA


This stands for Combined Certificate of Value and Origin. As the name suggests, the certificate is actually a combination of two parts. One part serves to indicate the actual value or price paid or will be paid for imported goods. The other half authenticates the sources of goods. Hence, one is not wrong to say that the CCVO is both an invoice and declaration by the manufacturer or supplier. The CCVO serves in authenticating the price and origin. In other-words, the CCVO is a customs document used to prove the value and origin of goods imported to Nigeria. Thus, CCVO is for clearance purposes. Therefore, the Federal Ministry of Finance mandates that all goods imported to Nigeria be backed by CCVO. The CCVO is to be signed and stamped (may not stamp) by the seller or supplier as the case may be.


Form M and PAAR document are needed to clear goods in Nigeria. Lastly, PAAR is processed by the bank. Furthermore, PAAR documents are; CCVO, Packing List, SONCAP, Commercial invoice and the Bill of Lading.

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