Yes, a foreigner can open a bank account in Nigeria, but upon fulfilling conditions to operate a bank account in Nigeria in accordance with the extant laws and the Central Bank of Nigerian‘s regulations.

Everybody knows the importance of a bank account. Most foreign companies seeking to set up subsidiary companies and foreign individuals seeking to register a new company in Nigeria would want to ascertain beforehand how difficult or easy it will be to open a bank account in Nigeria. It is a fact that any person or company with a functioning bank account can easily engage in commerce.

There two major requirements any foreigner seeking to open a bank in Nigeria must fulfill, which are as follows:

  1. The number one condition that any individual foreigner seeking to open a bank in Nigeria must fulfill is to be Nigerian-resident. This implies such a person must have obtained the Nigerian resident permit, also known as CERPAC, or is in the process of doing so. The CERPAC- meaning the Combined Expatriate Residence Permit and Aliens Card can only be processed by a foreigner if such a foreigner has been employed by a Nigerian company through an expatriate quota. A foreigner seeking to establish a business in Nigeria must firstly register a company and process both the business permit and expatriate quota together before such a person can be eligible to apply for CERPAC.
  2. The second major requirement is the Biometric Bank Verification Number(BVN). Subject to the CBN’s Regulations, every account holder in Nigeria must have BVN. Furthermore, every director of a registered company must also enroll for the BVN. The BVN can usually be obtained by visiting the banking premises and enroll for it. A person living abroad or a foreign director in a Nigerian company may contact the nearest Nigerian embassy to make an inquiry on the nearby location and procedure for enrolling for the BVN in such a foreign country.

In opening a bank account in Nigeria, the Nigerian nationals living abroad are not categorized as foreigners. The Nigerian citizens abroad have unfettered right to open any bank in Nigeria, provided they have acquired BVN.

By Corporate & Commercial Law Team at Resolution Law Firm.


The Firm regularly assists foreign companies and individuals for the company registration and business setup in Nigeria. The firm also offers capital importation and bank account opening advisory services.