Nigeria travel guide
From the loud laughter of traffic-choked Lagos to the green-fringed villages that line rivers and streams, Nigeria is one of the most exciting places to visit in Africa.
Once known only for oil and chaos, the country is changing rapidly. It has a rising middle class, a dynamic arts scene and more miles of golden sand than you can shake a bucket and spade at. Its national parks are home to some of the last remaining endangered species in West Africa, while its mountains offer a cooler climate and spectacular views of the most populous country in Africa.
Those 177 million people are as diverse as the nation itself; in the north, you'll see men in colourful Muslim dress lining prayer mats on Fridays, while their southern counterparts play checkers before church. The cuisine too is varied; there are hot and spicy dishes, fresh fish and meat, fast food and imported fare.
But Nigeria's greatest asset – its wealth of native races and religions, its vibrant population – have also proven its downfall on countless explosive occasions, and military overthrows, coups and assassinations have been numerous. The situation is particularly fraught in northern Nigeria, which is home to the jihadist group, Boko Haram (meaning “Western education is forbidden”).
For all its domestic difficulties, Nigeria remains a major regional power and lays claim to the biggest economy in Africa – if you want to feel the excitement of an emerging country, this land will blow you away.
It’s full of surprises, too. Visitors can find themselves dancing the night away at a Nigerian wedding party, sipping champagne with supermodels, haggling for art in Lagos’ hipster district, Yabi, and swimming beneath cascading waterfalls in the mountains.
Though Nigeria is a loud and brash destination, it also has a quieter, more reflective side that deserves to be seen. In fact it has so many faces that at times it feels more like a continent than a country.
923,768 sq km (356,669 sq miles).
181,526,056 (UN estimate 2016)
204.2 per sq km.
President Bola Tinubu since 2023.
President Bola Tinubu since 2023.
The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) advises against all travel to:
- Borno State
- Yobe State
- Adamawa State
- Gombe State
- Kaduna State
- Katsina State
- Zamfara state
- riverine areas of Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Cross River States
The FCDO advises against all but essential travel to:
- Bauchi State
- Kano State
- Jigawa State
- Niger State
- Sokoto State
- Kogi State
- within 20km of the border with Niger in Kebbi State
- Abia State
- non-riverine areas of Delta, Bayelsa and Rivers States
- Plateau State
- Taraba State
- Anambra State
- Imo State
Before you travel, check the ‘Entry requirements’ section for Nigeria’s current entry restrictions and requirements. These may change with little warning. Monitor this advice for the latest updates and stay in contact with your travel provider. All travellers must complete the online Nigeria Health Declaration Form before travelling to Nigeria.
If you plan to pass through another country to return to the UK, check the travel advice for the country you’re transiting.
Around 117,000 British tourists visit Nigeria every year. Most visits are trouble-free, but a small number of British people encounter problems. You should take sensible precautions to protect your safety.
The Nigeria-Niger land border has been closed and commercial flights between Nigeria and Niger have been prohibited by the Nigerian authorities, in response to the political situation in Niger. Flight times between Nigeria and other neighbouring countries may also be affected. See Local Travel.
Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in Nigeria. See Terrorism. Most attacks occur in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States in the North East. There have also been significant attacks in other states, including in Gombe, Kano, Kaduna, Plateau, Bauchi, Taraba, Kogi, Niger, and the Federal Capital Territory. Further attacks are likely and could occur at any time. Attacks could be indiscriminate and could affect western interests as well as places visited by tourists. Attacks are more likely to attack crowded locations or symbolic targets, such as places of worship. There is a heightened risk during religious events, public holidays or election periods.
Political rallies, protests and violent demonstrations can occur with little notice throughout the country. International news events can sometimes trigger anti-Western demonstrations. There is the potential for increased tension on Fridays. See more information under ‘Protests and Demonstrations’
Throughout Nigeria there are high levels of violent street crime including muggings, car-jackings and armed robbery in Nigeria. You should be vigilant at all times. See Crime.
UK health authorities have classified Nigeria as having a risk of Zika virus, Cholera, Lassa fever, Yellow fever, Monkey pox, Poliomyelitis and Ebola virus transmission. See Health.
It is more important than ever to get travel insurance and check it provides sufficient cover. See the FCDO’s guidance on foreign travel insurance.
Before considering travel to areas to which the FCDO advise against all or all but essential travel you should take professional security advice. Be vigilant at all times and keep others informed of your travel plans. If you’re working in Nigeria you should follow your employer’s security advice, make sure your accommodation is secure and review your security measures regularly. Consular support is offered in Nigeria although limited in areas where the FCDO has existing advice against all travel and all but essential travel (as set out above).
If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission.
Nigeria has removed COVID-19 travel restrictions, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority website has the latest guidelines.
Coronavirus travel health
Check the latest information on risk from COVID-19 for Nigeria on the TravelHealthPro website
See the TravelHealthPro website for further advice on travel abroad and reducing spread of respiratory viruses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
You should contact local authorities for information on testing facilities.
International commercial flights are operating to Abuja and Lagos. Contact your airline for the latest information on flights to and from Nigeria.
Entry and borders
See Entry requirements to find out what you will need to do when you arrive in Nigeria.
Be prepared for your plans to change
No travel is risk-free during COVID-19. Countries may further restrict travel or bring in new rules at short notice, for example due to a new COVID-19 variant. Check with your travel company or airline for any transport changes which may delay your journey home.
If you test positive for COVID-19, you may need to stay where you are until you test negative. You may also need to seek treatment there.
Plan ahead and make sure you:
- can access money
- understand what your insurance will cover
- can make arrangements to extend your stay and be away for longer than planned
Travel in Nigeria
Passengers’ temperature may be taken on arrival at the airport.
Healthcare in Nigeria
Most medicines that require a prescription from a doctor in the UK will require one in Nigeria. If necessary, you should get an electronic prescription from your medical practitioner to enable a local doctor to write one.
Unlike in the UK, you will need to go to a pharmacy or chemist to obtain most over-the-counter medicines. Only a very limited selection are available at supermarkets or other stores. Pharmacies are widely available. They will accept prescriptions from the UK.
For contact details for English speaking doctors visit our list of healthcare providers.
For information on financial support you can access whilst abroad, visit our financial assistance guidance.
Help and support
If you need urgent consular assistance, contact your nearest British embassy, high commission or consulate. All telephone numbers are available 24/7.
- The Nigerian Centre for Disease Control has a 24 hour, toll free number for advice: (+00234) (0) 800 970 000010.
- SMS: (+00234) (0) 809 955 5577
- WhatsAapp: (+00234) (0) 708 7110839
- Mobile: (+00234) (0) 703 670 8970 0010.
While most visits for British nationals are trouble-free, insecurity is increasing across Nigeria. Kidnapping, violent crime, and inter-communal violence occurs throughout all regions of Nigeria. Other threats, such as terrorism and militant groups, are heightened in specific regions. Refer to local travel below for FCDO guidance in the region you are travelling or working in.
Violent crime such as mugging, kidnapping, car-jacking and armed robberies are common, particularly in the larger cities. Large scale attacks are rare in the region but Islamic State West Africa has claimed two attacks in 2022, see terrorism for further detail. Intercommunal violence is prevalent. Whilst these attacks have not targeted foreign nationals, caution should be exercised to avoid being caught up in such incidents.
You should be vigilant at all times and take into account any security advice given by your hotel, employer or your hosts.
South East and South South
The FCDO advise against all travel to the riverine areas (ie the river and swamp locations accessible by boat, but not by road) of Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Cross River States.
The FCDO advise against all but essential travel to Abia, Anambra and Imo States and non-riverine areas of Delta, Bayelsa and Rivers States.
Militant groups are active across the Niger Delta region and have carried out a number of attacks on oil and gas infrastructure. There’s a high risk of armed robbery, criminality and criminal kidnap in the Niger Delta region.
There have been a number of attacks and targeted killings in the South East and South South regions of Nigeria. Some of these attacks have been on isolated roads and in remote locations, but there is a chance that they could occur in metropolitan areas. There is also a heightened risk of indiscriminate attacks on police and security infrastructure, which may inadvertently affect bystanders. A number of states have imposed curfews. Travellers to these regions are advised to exercise caution if travelling in remote areas at night and follow local news and information outlets for further information, including on local curfews.
Secessionist groups are active in the South East and attacks and violent clashes often occur with the military and other security forces. Although foreign nationals are not normally targeted, there is a risk you could be caught in an attack. You should be alert to local government announcements and media reporting.
North Central and the Federal Capital Territory, including Abuja
The FCDO advises against all but essential travel to Niger, Kogi, and Plateau States due to criminal and militant activity and incidents of inter-communal violence.
The outer suburbs of Abuja, within the Federal Capital Territory can be prone to varying levels of violence, and the safety of daily activity is unpredictable. Violent crime, often involving firearms, has also increased in recent months and has spread from the outer suburbs to more central and wealthier areas of the city.
The risk of terrorism in Abuja and the Federal Capital Territory area has increased in 2022. Islamic State West Africa (ISWA) has claimed responsibility for attacks, including an attack on Kuje Prison in the Federal Capital during which an unknown number of prisoners escaped, including suspected terrorists. The risk is present across the Federal Capital Territory, including Abuja, and particularly in the border areas of the Federal Capital Territory. For information on terrorism, see Terrorism page
You should be cautious and vigilant when travelling in the Federal Capital Territory, take advice from trusted contacts, and be prepared to cancel or curtail your plans.
There are regular protests in Abuja, which have the potential to turn violent. You should monitor local media, avoid any demonstrations or large gatherings and follow any instructions from local police and security forces.
The FCDO advise against all travel to Kaduna State, Katsina State, and Zamfara State.
The FCDO advise against all but essential travel to: Kano State, Jigawa State, and Sokoto State; and within 20km of the border with Niger in Kebbi State.
Banditry and violent attacks are frequent in the region and there is a high threat of kidnap. Incidents of inter-communal violence occur and trains are vulnerable to attack. If you’re travelling in the North West against FCDO advice, you should exercise extreme caution and monitor local media.
The FCDO advises against all travel to Borno State, Yobe State, Adamawa State, Gombe State.
The FCDO advises against all but essential travel to Bauchi and Taraba States.
There is a high and increasing threat from extremists linked to Boko Haram or Islamic State West Africa, particularly around transport hubs, religious areas and large gatherings. Humanitarian personnel, vehicles, supplies and infrastructure can be targeted by terrorists and criminals. For recent attacks, see Terrorism. Further attacks may occur without warning.
There is a high threat of kidnap, violent attacks and inter-communal tensions which can lead to outbreaks of violence. During the dry season (which normally runs from around October to March) this risk is likely to be heightened.
Regular military operations are ongoing in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states. There is a risk of retaliatory attacks.
If you’re in the North East against FCDO advice, keep in touch with the authorities and the wider community on the security situation and make sure your procedures and contingency plans are up to date. If you are working, you should be fully confident in your employer’s ability to extract you in the event of any emergency. If in Maiduguri you should be aware that if security were to deteriorate any further, there is a significant likelihood that it could be extremely difficult for you to leave the city. We do not advise travelling by road.
The Nigeria-Niger land border has been closed by the Nigerian authorities in response to the political situation in Niger. Additional checks are in place at the Nigeria-Benin, Nigeria-Niger and Nigeria-Cameroon land borders. If you’re planning to make a land crossing from Nigeria, check with the local authorities for the latest information before travelling.
Protests, demonstrations and intercommunal violence
Political rallies, protests and violent demonstrations can occur with little notice throughout the country.
Be vigilant and take local advice on areas to avoid. Take particular care if you’re visiting crowded public places or attending events which attract large crowds. Keep yourself informed of developments and if you encounter a threatening or intimidating situation, don’t try to make your way through it. Turn round and move to safety.
Incidents of inter-communal violence occur frequently throughout Nigeria. Attacks can occur without warning. Although foreign nationals are not normally targeted, there is a risk you could be caught in an attack. You should be alert to local government announcements and media reporting.
There’s a high threat of terrorist and criminal kidnaps in Nigeria.
Those engaged in tourism, humanitarian aid work, journalism or business are viewed as legitimate targets. If you are kidnapped, the reason for your presence is unlikely to serve as protection or secure your safe release.
Incidents of criminal kidnap can occur in any part of the country, at any time, with an increased risk in:
- the northern and middle belt states of Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Nassarawa, Niger, Plateau, Sokoto, Taraba, Benue, Yobe and Zamfara
- the Niger Delta states of Abia, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Bayelsa, Delta, Imo and Rivers
- Edo State
Criminal groups target whole communities or individuals. Kidnaps are sometimes take place along major highways, such as the Abuja – Kaduna highway and Enugu-Awka-Onitsha expressway in Anambra.
On 16 May 2023 a US diplomatic convoy was attacked and people were kidnapped in Anambra State in the Ogbaru area, close to Delta state. The incident is under investigation.
There is a high threat of kidnapping and other armed attacks targeting oil and gas facilities and workers in the Niger Delta region. This also applies to facilities at sea.
Travellers wishing to travel to any of the locations above should be alert to the threat of kidnap, and pay attention to local government announcements and media reporting.
The great majority of kidnapping victims remain ordinary Nigerians. Foreigners as well as Nigerian businessmen, traditional rulers and politicians are often targeted in the expectation of a high ransom reward. When arranging meetings in Nigeria make sure those who attend are known to you and hold the meeting at a secure location.
British nationals may be targeted. Foreign nationals, including British nationals, have been kidnapped in the past, and in some cases killed. British nationals of Nigerian origin visiting friends and relatives are often perceived as being wealthier than locals and are at particular risk of kidnap for ransom. There is a possibility that criminal groups would sell hostages on to terrorist organisations. See Terrorism.
The long-standing policy of the British government is not to make substantive concessions to hostage takers. The British government considers that paying ransoms and releasing prisoners increases the risk of further hostage taking. The Terrorism Act (2000) also makes payments to terrorists illegal.
Curfews and telecommunication blackouts
Curfews and restrictions on the movement of vehicles, can be imposed, amended and lifted at short notice throughout Nigeria.
Failure to comply with all curfews and movement restrictions could put you at significant risk. You should check with the local authorities or someone with local knowledge for up to date information on curfews and restrictions before you travel.
Telecommunication operators in Nigeria have in the past been ordered to suspend services in certain areas, including mobile telecommunications and WiFi. Future shutdowns may happen at short notice and may also be extended to new areas without advanced notice.
There have been armed robberies and incidents of piracy in Nigerian waters, the wider Gulf of Guinea, and on the rivers and harbours in the Niger Delta area. Mariners should seek professional security advice, be vigilant and take appropriate precautions.
Throughout Nigeria there are high levels of violent street crime including muggings, kidnappings, car-jackings and armed robbery.
Criminals have targeted visiting British nationals as their perceived wealth makes them an attractive victim.
You should be vigilant at all times, even if staying with friends and family, follow the security guidance offered by employers or hosts and limit road travel at night as far as possible. Avoid carrying large amounts of cash and don’t wear valuable watches, jewellery or items of sentimental value. If you suspect danger, move to a safer area.
If you’re caught up in an armed robbery, you should immediately comply with the attackers’ demands.
British nationals are increasingly being targeted by scam artists operating in West Africa. The scams come in many forms including romance and friendship, business ventures and work or employment opportunities. Scams can pose great financial risk to victims. You should be very cautious about any requests for funds, a job offer, a business venture or a face to face meeting from someone you have been in correspondence with over the internet who lives in West Africa. You can read more about scam or ‘419’ emails and letters on the Action Fraud website.
If you or your relatives or friends are asked to transfer money to Nigeria you should make absolutely sure that it is not part of a scam and that you have properly checked with the person receiving the money that they are requesting it. If the caller claims to be in distress, you should ask whether they have reported the incident (by phone or e-mail) to the British Deputy High Commission in Lagos.
People have received scam e-mails claiming to be from a British High Commission office in Nigeria. If you receive an email that appears to be from any British High Commission office in Nigeria asking for bank details or money, you should immediately contact the Consular Section of the British Deputy High Commission in Lagos.
If you’re considering fertility treatment in Nigeria, you should be cautious. There have been a number of staged fake births (commonly called ‘miracle babies’) which result in visitors being falsely led to believe they have given birth. You should be aware of the risks associated with bringing a child who is not biologically related to you into the UK without following appropriate legal procedures. The UK has restricted overseas adoption of children from Nigeria.
Road travel across Nigeria can be chaotic and slow moving. You should take a mobile telephone and a supply of bottled water with you when travelling by car.
You can drive in Nigeria with a valid UK driving licence for up to 3 months. If you’re staying longer, you will need to get a Nigerian Driver’s Licence. You can contact the Federal Road Safety Corp on their website.
You should limit travel after dark outside city centres as far as possible; and avoid quiet and poorly lit roads. You should be particularly vigilant when sitting in traffic jams or at traffic lights. Keep car windows up and doors locked, and make sure valuables are out of sight. If you feel your vehicle is being followed, drive to the nearest place of safety (eg the nearest police station).
You should take particular care when driving outside cities and consider travelling in convoy and avoid travel after dark.
In Lagos, eating, smoking or using a mobile phone while driving and riding a motorcycle without a helmet are prohibited. Motorists face fines or imprisonment for violations.
There are authorised and unauthorised vehicle checkpoints throughout Nigeria. Some are for security checks, others to extort small payments of money. You should slow down at any type of checkpoint and use common sense at all times.
Since October 2019, there has been an increasing trend of illegal vehicle checkpoints on major supply and commercial routes in Northern Nigeria. This includes attacks on major roads into Maiduguri, Borno State, including the A3 Maiduguri-Damaturu road. These attacks have directly targeted civilians, security forces and aid workers.
There are frequent reports of robberies and car-jackings, some involving armed gunmen, on Nigeria’s urban and rural road network.
Public transport throughout Nigeria is dangerous. Taxis and long distance buses are often poorly maintained, uninsured and driven by unqualified drivers. Most major hotels offer cars for hire with drivers. You should use these where possible.
If you are expecting a greeter or driver to collect you at any of Nigeria’s international airports, make sure they have properly identified themselves before you set off. Bogus greeters are a problem.
Commercial flights between Nigeria and Niger have been prohibited by the Nigerian authorities in response to the political situation in Niger. If you’re planning to travel to or from Niger, check the FCDO’s Niger travel page or with the local authorities for the latest information before travelling. Flight times between Nigeria and other neighbouring countries may also be affected. You can find a list of recent incidents and accidents on the website of the Aviation Safety network.
The FCDO can’t offer advice on the safety of individual airlines. However, the International Air Transport Association publishes lists of registered airlines that have been audited and found to meet a number of operational safety standards and recommended practices – IATA Operational Safety Audit and IATA Standard Safety Assessment. These lists aren’t exhaustive and the absence of an airline from this list doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s unsafe.
The International Civil Aviation Organisation has carried out an audit of the level of implementation of the critical elements of safety oversight in Nigeria.
Med-View airline has been refused permission to operate services to the EU due to safety deficiencies. However, Med-View airline may continue to operate services to the EU using aircraft leased from other airlines. You can find a full list of airlines banned from operating within the EU on the European Commission website. Refusal of permission to operate is often based on inspections of aircraft at EU airports. The fact that an airline isn’t included in the list doesn’t automatically mean that it meets the applicable safety standards. British government employees travelling within Nigeria have been advised to use carriers that aren’t subject to the EU operating ban.
Swimming off the coast of Nigeria is dangerous due to rip tides and undertows, drownings occur each year. You should take care and seek local advice.
President Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress Party was sworn-in for a four-year term in May 2023, following democratic elections in February 2023.
The current Nigerian Constitution was enacted in 1999 and restored democratic rule to Nigeria, bringing an end to 30 years of military rule.
Nigeria’s National Day falls on 1 October, and marks the anniversary of Nigeria’s independence from Britain in 1960.
Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in Nigeria. Attacks could be indiscriminate and could affect western interests, as well as places visited by tourists and foreign nationals resident in Nigeria. Further attacks are likely and could occur at any time, including around religious or other public holidays or during election periods.
UK Counter Terrorism Policing has information and advice on staying safe abroad and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack. Find out how to reduce your risk from terrorism while abroad.
Most attacks are conducted by Boko Haram or Islamic State West Africa (ISWA) and occur in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States in the North East. There have also been significant attacks in other states, including in Gombe, Kano, Kaduna, Plateau, Bauchi and Taraba States.
The risk of terrorism across Nigeria includes the capital city Abuja, and the surrounding Federal Capital Territory area. This risk has increased in 2022. Since May 2022 Islamic State West Africa (ISWA) have conducted a number of attacks in Kogi, Niger, and in the Federal Capital Territory. The risk is present across the Federal Capital Territory, including Abuja, and particularly in the border areas of the Federal Capital Territory.
Public places where crowds gather have been targeted in the past, including places of worship, markets, shopping malls, hotels, bars, restaurants, football viewing centres, displacement camps, transport terminals (including train networks), government buildings, security and educational institutions (schools, further education colleges and universities are all regular targets), and international organisations.
Methods of attack have included coordinated armed assaults, rocket attacks, assassinations, kidnapping, use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs), bombings (including by child and female bombers), car bombings and arson. Use of military uniforms and vehicles have been used as a tactic to get close to the intended target.
Terrorist groups have been known to construct illegal vehicle checkpoints on major supply and commercial routes, such as the A3 Maiduguri-Damaturu road.
Humanitarian staff and assets, civilians and aid workers have been targeted, especially in the North East, including in garrison towns and on roads. Humanitarian sites have also been targeted.
You should avoid places where there are political or other large public gatherings. Be vigilant, remain alert and pay attention to your surroundings at all times. You should follow local news reports and be alert to developments particularly around religious and public holidays. A heavy security presence often indicates areas of particularly high risk. You should avoid affected areas in the immediate aftermath of an attack. You should avoid regular patterns of travel or movement, and aim to only travel during daylight hours.
Recent attacks have included:
On 5 July 2022 the Kuje Prison in The Federal Capital Territory was bombed and attacked by gunmen and an unknown number of prisoners have escaped. Islamic State West Africa (ISWA) has claimed responsibility for the attack.
- On 22 September 2022, a police patrol was attacked by gunmen in Ondo state, and on 23 September 2022, security personnel were attacked by gunmen in Edo state. Islamic State West Africa (ISWA) has claimed responsibility.
- On 28 July 2022, a Nigerian military checkpoint in Niger state, 30km from Abuja, was attacked.
- Islamic State West Africa (ISWA) has claimed responsibility for killings of policemen in Suleja, Niger State, on 12 May and 4 July 2022. Suleja is less than 20 kilometres away from the Federal Capital Territory.
- Islamic State West Africa (ISWA) has claimed responsibility for an IED attack on a bar in Kabba, Kogi State, on 29 May 2022.
- In April 2022, Islamic State West Africa (ISWA) claimed two improvised explosive device (IED) attacks in Iware and Jalingo, Taraba State, and in May 2022 claimed an attack against a military facility in Jalingo.
There is a high threat of terrorist attack globally affecting UK interests and British nationals, including from groups and individuals who view the UK and British nationals as targets. You should remain vigilant at all times.
Terrorist groups, including Boko Haram and ISWA, are highly likely to carry out kidnaps in Nigeria. Kidnappings are widespread and could occur anywhere.
Ansaru, Boko Haram and ISWA have carried out a number of kidnaps in Nigeria. Several foreign nationals and humanitarian workers have been kidnapped in the north of Nigeria, including in the states of Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Katsina, Kano and Kebbi. Some victims of kidnap, including two British nationals, have been killed by their captors. There may be an increased risk of kidnap, particularly to NGO workers, in Gwoza and Bama local government areas, Borno State. ISWA has also targeted foreigners for kidnap in south Nigeria.
British nationals are viewed as legitimate targets, including those engaged in tourism, humanitarian aid work, journalism, government or business sectors. If you’re kidnapped, the reason for your presence is unlikely to serve as a protection or secure your safe release.
You should exercise vigilance when travelling, when in crowded public places, including religious gatherings and insecure spaces like places of worship, markets, shopping malls, hotels, bars, restaurants, transport hubs and camps for displaced people. You should avoid regular patterns of travel or movement, and aim to travel only during daylight hours.
The long-standing policy of the British government is not to make substantive concessions to hostage takers. The British government considers that paying ransoms and releasing prisoners builds the capability of terrorist groups and finances their activities. This can, in turn, increase the risk of further hostage-taking. The Terrorism Act (2000) makes payments to terrorists illegal.
Terrorist groups operating in Nigeria
Boko Haram and Islamic State West Africa (ISWA)
Boko Haram or JASDJ is an Islamist terrorist group operating in Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger. The group aspire to establish a Sharia State in Nigeria and West Africa, de-stabilise the Nigerian government and remove western influence from the country.
The group was formerly linked to Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). On 12 March 2015, Daesh (formerly referred to as ISIL) accepted a pledge of allegiance by Boko Haram. In August 2016, the group split into 2 factions: Islamic State in West Africa (ISWA) and JASDJ or Boko Haram.
ISWA is affiliated with ISIS core in Iraq and Syria and has expressed an intention to target Nigerian government, Christian and western interests. ISWA have launched a series of successful attacks against Nigerian military locations, increased their freedom of movement across Borno and Yobe states, and taken multiple hostages.
Ansarul Muslimina Fi Biladis Sudan (Vanguard for the protection of Muslims in Black Africa) (Ansaru)
Ansaru is an Islamist terrorist organisation based in northern Nigeria, and is proscribed by the UK. It emerged in 2012 and is motivated by an anti-Nigerian Government and anti-Western agenda.
Ansaru is broadly aligned with Al Qaeda. Since 2012, the group has kidnapped at least 8 hostages, mainly Europeans. They are believed to have killed a number of hostages, including 2 British nationals.
Homosexuality is generally viewed as unacceptable in Nigeria. The ‘Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Bill’ allows lengthy prison sentences for those entering into a same sex marriage, those witnessing, aiding or abetting a same sex marriage, the operation and support of gay clubs, societies and organisations and the public display of same sex relationships. See our information and advice page for the LGBT community before you travel.
On 15 December 2020 the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) announced that mobile SIMs must be linked to the Nigerian Identification Number (NIN) of the SIM user. This applies to all residents including foreign nationals. You are advised to seek guidance on compliance from your network operator.
Possession, use of or trafficking in illegal drugs is a serious offence and can result in lengthy prison sentences and heavy fines.
It is illegal to import beer, mineral water, soft drinks, sparkling wine, fruits, vegetables, cereals, eggs, textile fabrics, jewellery, and precious metals. It is illegal to export pieces of African art, particularly antiques, without written authorisation from the Department of Antiquities. Contact the Nigeria High Commission in London for more information about customs requirements.
Nigeria has the largest Muslim population in sub-Saharan Africa. You should behave and dress modestly, particularly in the north and when visiting religious sites. Also see Travelling during Ramadan.
Photography of government, military buildings and airports may lead to arrest.
This page has information on travelling to Nigeria.
This page reflects the UK government’s understanding of current rules for people travelling on a full ‘British Citizen’ passport from the UK, for the most common types of travel.
The authorities in Nigeria set and enforce entry rules. If you’re unsure how Nigeria’s entry requirements apply to you, contact its UK embassy, high commission or consulate.
You will need a valid visa to enter or travel through Nigeria as a visitor.
See Visas section for more information.
On 15 February, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control announced the online Nigeria Health Declaration Form for incoming travellers. This is a requirement for all travellers to complete before travel to Nigeria. This requirement has been introduced as part of measures to combat the spread of infectious diseases.
You may be asked to take part in thermal screening and/or travel history checks when arriving into Nigeria. This is to assist the Nigerian Government in the detection of diseases of public health importance.
All passengers travelling to Nigeria should complete the health questionnaire either on board the aircraft before landing or on arrival at the airport.
If you’re transiting through Nigeria
All passengers travelling to Nigeria in order to transit to another country, must also register and complete the online pre-boarding health declaration at the Nigeria International Travel Portal.
On arrival all passengers will be screened by Port Health Officials and be required to provide full contact details.
The above guidance applicable to fully vaccinated or not fully vaccinated travellers, should be followed for all transit passengers, including those staying in the airport (airside), or passing through immigration (sometimes known as a layover).
Check your passport and travel documents before you travel
If you are visiting Nigeria, your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date you arrive.
If you are a resident in Nigeria, your passport must be valid for 6 months from the date you arrive.
Check with your travel provider to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.
You should get a valid visa before travelling.
Some business travellers might be eligible to apply for a visa on arrival. Applications for a visa on arrival must be made in advance and applicants must obtain a pre-approval letter from the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) before travelling. Guidance on applying for a visa on arrival is available on the NIS website.
If you have a valid Nigerian residence permit (CERPAC or Green Card) you don’t need a visa to enter Nigeria.
For further information on entry requirements, contact the Nigeria High Commission in London.
Yellow fever certificate requirements
Check whether you need a yellow fever certificate by visiting the National Travel Health Network and Centre’s TravelHealthPro website.
If you have a health condition, or you are pregnant, you may need specialist healthcare abroad. Check whether your destination country can provide the healthcare you may need and ensure you have appropriate travel insurance for unexpected medical evacuation or local treatment.
See the Coronavirus travel health and Healthcare sections in the Coronavirus page for COVID-19 health information.
At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the latest country-specific health advice from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) on the TravelHealthPro website. Each country-specific page has information on vaccine recommendations, any current health risks or outbreaks, and factsheets with information on staying healthy abroad. Guidance is also available from NHS (Scotland) on the FitForTravel website.
General information on travel vaccinations and a travel health checklist is available on the NHS website. You may then wish to contact your health adviser or pharmacy for advice on other preventive measures and managing any pre-existing medical conditions while you’re abroad.
The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or purchased in the UK can be different in other countries. If you’re travelling with prescription or over-the-counter medicine, read this guidance from NaTHNaC on best practice when travelling with medicines. For further information on the legal status of a specific medicine, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.
While travel can be enjoyable, it can sometimes be challenging. There are clear links between mental and physical health, so looking after yourself during travel and when abroad is important. Information on travelling with mental health conditions is available in our guidance page. Further information is also available from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC).
You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment.
Medical facilities in some parts of Nigeria may only be very basic. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation. The British High Commission publishes a list of medical providers.
Other health risks
Serious tropical illnesses like malaria, typhoid, Lassa fever and yellow fever occur in Nigeria. There has been an outbreak of Lassa fever in 2020. For further information and advice, see the TravelHealthPro website.
There is a greater risk from water-borne diseases during the rainy season (June to October).
There are ongoing outbreaks of diphtheria in Nigeria in 2023. You can find more information on the TravelHealthPro website.
UK health authorities have classified Nigeria as having a risk of Zika virus transmission. For information and advice about the risks associated with Zika virus, visit the National Travel Health Network and Centre website.
Nigeria is mainly a cash economy although the use of credit and debit cards is increasing - especially in the big cities. If you intend to use cash, make sure you bring enough foreign currency to cover costs. It is illegal to change money on the street and travellers cheques are difficult to cash. Credit card fraud is common, so take care if using your card. You should take advice from your card issuer before travelling if you intend to use your credit or debit card in Nigeria.
If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission. If you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad, contact the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) in London on 020 7008 5000 (24 hours).
Foreign travel checklist
Read our foreign travel checklist to help you plan for your trip abroad and stay safe while you’re there.
The FCDO travel advice helps you make your own decisions about foreign travel. Your safety is our main concern, but we can’t provide tailored advice for individual trips. If you’re concerned about whether or not it’s safe for you to travel, you should read the travel advice for the country or territory you’re travelling to, together with information from other sources you’ve identified, before making your own decision on whether to travel. Only you can decide whether it’s safe for you to travel.
When we judge the level of risk to British nationals in a particular place has become unacceptably high, we’ll state on the travel advice page for that country or territory that we advise against all or all but essential travel. Read more about how the FCDO assesses and categorises risk in foreign travel advice.
Our crisis overseas page suggests additional things you can do before and during foreign travel to help you stay safe.
Refunds and cancellations
If you wish to cancel or change a holiday that you’ve booked, you should contact your travel company. The question of refunds and cancellations is a matter for you and your travel company. Travel companies make their own decisions about whether or not to offer customers a refund. Many of them use our travel advice to help them reach these decisions, but we do not instruct travel companies on when they can or can’t offer a refund to their customers.
For more information about your rights if you wish to cancel a holiday, visit the Citizen’s Advice Bureau website. For help resolving problems with a flight booking, visit the website of the Civil Aviation Authority. For questions about travel insurance, contact your insurance provider and if you’re not happy with their response, you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.
Registering your travel details with us
We’re no longer asking people to register with us before travel. Our foreign travel checklist and crisis overseas page suggest things you can do before and during foreign travel to plan your trip and stay safe.
Previous versions of FCDO travel advice
If you’re looking for a previous version of the FCDO travel advice, visit the National Archives website. Versions prior to 2 September 2020 will be archived as FCO travel advice. If you can’t find the page you’re looking for there, send the Travel Advice Team a request.
If you’re a British national and you have a question about travelling abroad that isn’t covered in our foreign travel advice or elsewhere on GOV.UK, you can submit an enquiry, or contact us on Twitter or Facebook. We’re not able to provide tailored advice for specific trips.