How to open a non-resident bank account in Nigeria

Nigeria has over 20 banks serving more than 200 million people. The Nigerian banking industry is regulated by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), which has enacted series of regulations to guide resident and non-resident banking in Nigeria. 

The CBN was created in 1959 with the primary aim of regulating the Nigerian financial and banking system in general. Since its creation, the CBN has provided stellar advice and guidance to the various banks with the view to regulating the Nigerian banking sector in general. A similar advisory role from the CBN occurs when it comes to non-resident banking.

This work looks at the possibility for non-residents to open a Nigerian bank account.

Recommended: Best banks in Nigeria for personal and business banking

The General rule to Non-Resident Banking in Nigeria

The CBN released regulations indicating that only persons resident in Nigeria can open a bank account, such bank account must be opened in person and not by proxy with the account holder enrolled for the bank verification number (BVN). 

The general rule as indicated above is that a non-resident bank account isn’t possible in Nigeria, this follows from the fact that the CBN’s requirement for opening a Nigerian bank account could be broken down as follows, the account holder must:

  1. open the account in person;
  2. Enroll for the BVN; and
  3. Sign the bank documents in person.

Non-resident banking in practice 

The general rule is that a non-resident person in Nigeria cannot open a Nigerian bank account. Nonetheless, Nigerian banks have fostered ways to manoeuvre the CBN’s rules while maintaining accounts for non-residents in Nigeria. The advent of technology drives this possibility of registering Nigerian accounts in the diaspora while keeping to the regulations of the CBN. 

The rule followed by most banks in Nigeria is that Nigerian citizens with a valid Nigerian passport can open a non-resident bank account from the diaspora through the bank’s various internet platforms. With the country having a population of over ten million Nigerians in the diaspora, this measure comes as a saving grace to allow Nigerians living abroad to transact with their loved ones and family through Nigerian banks. 

The basic requirement to be obeyed for opening a non-resident bank account in the diaspora is to be a Nigerian citizen. The privilege of opening a non-resident Nigerian bank account does not fall on non-Nigerian citizens. Also, applicants must comply with the general requirements set by the CBN for the opening of a bank account in Nigeria. 

How to open a non-resident Nigerian bank account

Only Nigerian citizens resident abroad can open a non-resident Nigerian bank account. For a foreigner to open a Nigerian bank account, such a foreigner must be present physically in Nigeria to do so.

When opening a non-resident bank account, applicants must pay clear attention to the requirements set by the bank they intend to open with; nonetheless, here are some general requirements for the opening of non-resident Nigerian bank accounts adopted by most Nigerian banks.

Also read: Top 10 biggest banks in Nigeria

1. Visit the bank

When seeking to open a non-resident Nigerian bank account, there are two options available. The first option is to visit a branch of the Nigerian bank you intend to apply with, this is the easiest but only if the Nigerian bank has a branch located in the city or country the Nigerian resides in.

If the country or city where the Nigerian is resident doesn’t have a branch of the Nigerian bank intended to be opened, the applicant can opt for the second option, which is the internet banking method.

2. Fill out the form

Whether through the bank’s branch or internet banking, the applicant must fill out a form with the necessary details; including the name, address, occupation and other significant information of the applicant. 

3. BVN enrollment

The applicant must enrol for the BVN, if not already enrolled. The enrollment ends with the applicant having a special bank verification number, which can be used to undertake banking transactions in Nigeria from the diaspora. 

To enrol for the BVN, the applicant can register through the bank’s branch or the Nigerian Inter-bank Settlement System (NIBSS) partners in the country of residence. To register through the NIBSS partners, the applicant must visit the NIBSS partners page.

4. Provide the necessary documents needed

Once the above has been completed, the applicant must submit the necessary documents with the application, the documents are stated below:

  1. valid means of identification of the applicant scanned. This could be the applicant’s Nigerian-issued international passport. 
  2. The applicant’s BVN, which was registered previously.
  3. A passport photograph of the applicant. 
  4. The utility receipt of the applicant, the receipt must show the address of the applicant.

When using the internet banking method, the documents above must be scanned and sent to the bank’s platform for verification and approval by the Nigerian bank. 

Nigerian banks offering registration options to non-resident Nigerians

Not all banks in Nigeria offer the option of non-resident banking account opening features. Before you opt for a Nigerian bank to open, applicants ought to have conducted considerable due diligence on the possibility of the chosen bank offering such additional services.

Even when the services are offered eventually, the bank terms for the service can be overwhelming.

Here are the top ten Nigerian banks offering non-resident Nigerians the option for opening bank accounts in the diaspora in a very easy and flexible manner.

1. Access bank

2. First bank

3. Guaranty Trust Bank

4. Zenith bank

5. United Bank of Africa

6. Ecobank

7. Fidelity bank

8. Wema bank

9. Sterling bank

10. Citibank Nigeria

Conclusion

The evolution of the Nigerian banking system has been occasioned by a strong push towards the best practices available following the advent of technology that has caused far-reaching changes to the Nigerian banking sector. 

This article brought to bear the steps to opening a diaspora Nigerian account of non-resident Nigerians.

Recommended: List of banks in Nigeria with their details

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What services are available to applicants on their non-resident Nigerian account?

This depends on the bank you intend to open an account with. Various banks come with varying features to make banking seamless for applicants.

Can I use my Nigerian non-resident account while in Nigeria?

Yes, your non-resident bank account is also functional while in Nigeria. 

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Richard Okoroafor

Richard Okoroafor

Richard is a brilliant legal content writer who doubles as a finance lawyer. He brings his wealth of legal knowledge in corporate commercial transactions to bear, offering the best value that exceeds expectations.

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