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Nigeria travel guide

About Nigeria

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.

Key facts


923,768 sq km (356,669 sq miles).


181,526,056 (UN estimate 2016)

Population density:

204.2 per sq km.





Head of state:

President Bola Tinubu since 2023.

Head of government:

President Bola Tinubu since 2023.

Travel Advice

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) provides advice about risks of travel to help British nationals make informed decisions. Find out more about FCDO travel advice.

Areas where FCDO advises against travel

Your travel insurance could be invalidated if you travel against FCDO advice.

North East Nigeria

FCDO advises against all travel to:

  • Borno State
  • Yobe State
  • Adamawa State
  • Gombe State

FCDO advises against all but essential travel to:

  • Bauchi State
  • Taraba State

North West Nigeria

FCDO advises against all travel to:

  • Kaduna State
  • Katsina State
  • Zamfara State

FCDO advises against all but essential travel to:

  • Kano State
  • Jigawa State
  • Sokoto State
  • within 20km of the border with Niger in Kebbi State

North Central Nigeria and the Federal Capital Territory, including Abuja

FCDO advises against all but essential travel to:

  • Niger State
  • Kogi State
  • Plateau State

South East and South South Nigeria

FCDO advises against all travel to the riverine areas (the river and swamp locations accessible by boat, but not by road) of Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Cross River states.

FCDO advises against all but essential travel to:

  • Abia State
  • non-riverine areas of Delta, Bayelsa, and Rivers and Akwa Ibom states
  • Anambra State
  • Imo State

Nigeria-Niger border   

The Nigeria-Niger land border has been closed by the Nigerian authorities in response to the political situation in Niger. If you’re planning to travel by land across this border, check with the local authorities for the latest information before travelling.

See Niger travel advice before travelling by land across this border.

Find out more about why FCDO advises against travel

Before you travel

No travel can be guaranteed safe. Read all the advice in this guide as well as support for British nationals abroad which includes:

  • advice on preparing for travel abroad and reducing risks
  • information for women, LGBT+ and disabled travellers

Follow and contact FCDO travel on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. You can also sign up to get email notifications when this advice is updated.

Travel insurance

If you choose to travel, research your destinations and get appropriate travel insurance. Insurance should cover your itinerary, planned activities and expenses in an emergency.

This advice 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 not sure how these requirements apply to you, contact the Nigeria High Commission in the UK.

COVID-19 rules

There are no COVID-19 testing or vaccination requirements for travellers entering Nigeria.

Visa requirements

You must have a visa to enter Nigeria as a visitor. Get your visa before travelling.

Some business travellers are eligible to apply for a visa on arrival. Check the visa conditions from Nigerian Immigration Services.

If you have a valid Nigerian residence permit (CERPAC or Green Card), you do not need a visa to enter Nigeria.

For further information contact the Nigeria High Commission in the UK.

Applying for a visa

You can apply for a visa from Nigerian Immigration Services.

Vaccination requirements

At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the vaccinations and certificates you need in TravelHealthPro’s Nigeria guide.

Depending on your circumstances, this may include a yellow fever vaccination certificate.

Health screening

You must fill in an online Nigeria Health Declaration Form when entering Nigeria. This includes transit passengers. On arrival, a paper version is available.

You may be asked to take part in thermal screening and carry out a travel history check. This is to assist the Nigerian Government in the detection of diseases of public health importance.

Customs rules

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 African art, particularly antiques, without written authorisation from the Department of Antiquities. Find more details from the Nigeria High Commission in the UK.

You should also read FCDO’s overall travel advice and regional risks advice.


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 alert at all times.

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.

Terrorism in Nigeria

Terrorists are very likely to try and carry out attacks in Nigeria.

The primary terrorist threat in Nigeria comes from Islamic State West Africa (ISWA) and Boko Haram. These groups are mainly based in north-east Nigeria in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states. Since 2021, there have also been attacks likely associated with terrorist groups in Niger, Kaduna, Kogi, Bauchi, Ondo, Zamfara, Taraba, Jigawa, Sokoto, Edo and Kano states, as well as the Federal Capital Territory.

Attacks could be indiscriminate and could occur at any time, including in places frequented by foreign nationals, such as:

  • places of worship
  • markets
  • malls
  • hotels
  • bars and restaurants
  • sports venues and screenings
  • displacement camps
  • train networks and stations
  • government buildings
  • educational institution
  • international organisations
  • large public gatherings

Take particular care during election periods, or periods of religious significance or other public holidays.

Terrorist groups have also constructed bogus vehicle checkpoints on major supply and commercial routes, such as the A3 Maiduguri-Damaturu road.

A heavy security presence is often a sign of a particularly high risk. Avoid affected areas in the immediate aftermath of an attack. Stay aware of your surroundings, keep up to date with local media reports and follow the advice of local authorities.

Recent significant attacks have included:

  • in June 2023, Islamic State West Africa (ISWA) carried out an IED attack in Nasarawa State
  • in April 2023, ISWA claimed an IED attack on civilians in Jigawa State
  • in February 2023, ISWA bombed a local government office in Kogi State
  • in 2022, ISWA claimed responsibility for attacks on Nigerian security personnel in Ondo and Edo states
  • in 2022, ISWA attacked the Kuje Prison in the Federal Capital Territory and an unknown number of prisoners escaped
  • in 2022, ISWA claimed responsibility for attacks on policemen in Niger State, within 30 kilometres of the Federal Capital Territory

Terrorist kidnap

Terrorist groups are highly likely to carry out kidnaps in Nigeria. Kidnappings are widespread and could occur anywhere. Foreign nationals and humanitarian workers have been kidnapped in the North, including in the states of Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Katsina, Kano and Kebbi. There may be an increased risk of kidnap, particularly to NGO workers, in Borno State.  

British nationals are seen as legitimate targets, including tourists, humanitarian aid workers, journalists and business travellers. If you are kidnapped, the reason for your presence is unlikely to protect you or secure your safe release. 

The long-standing policy of the British government policy 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. 

Political situation

Political rallies, protests and violent demonstrations can take place with little notice. Get advice on areas to avoid. Take care if you’re visiting crowded public places or attending events which attract large crowds. If you see a threatening or intimidating situation, do not try to make your way through it. Turn around and move to safety.

Incidents of intercommunal violence occur frequently and often without warning throughout Nigeria. Although foreign nationals are not normally targeted, there is a risk you could be caught in an attack. Monitor local government announcements and media reporting.

Curfews and communication blackouts

The authorities impose, amend and lift curfews and restrictions on the movement of vehicles at short notice throughout Nigeria.

If you fail to observe curfews and restrictions, you could be at significant risk. Check with the local authorities or someone with local knowledge for up-to-date information.

Network operators in Nigeria have in the past been ordered to suspend mobile networks and wi-fi with very little notice.


Street and road crime

Throughout Nigeria there are high levels of violent street crime including muggings and armed robbery.

There are frequent reports of carjackings, some involving armed gunmen, on Nigeria’s urban and rural road networks.

Criminals have targeted visiting British nationals as their perceived wealth makes them attractive victims. Follow guidance offered by hosts or employers and limit road travel at night as far as possible. Avoid carrying large amounts of cash and never 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, immediately comply with the attackers’ demands.

Withdrawing and exchanging money

Areas around banks and ATMs have seen a spike in criminal activity, so take extra precautions when withdrawing cash, especially at night.

The Central Bank of Nigeria has issued new 200, 500 and 1000 naira notes. Check notes from currency exchange vendors are valid.

Credit card fraud is common, so keep your card within sight when paying bills.

Financial scams

British nationals are increasingly targeted by scammers operating in West Africa. Scams come in many forms including romance and friendship, business ventures and work or employment opportunities. Scams can put victims at great financial risk. Be cautious about requests for funds, job offers, business ventures and face-to-face meetings with anyone you have been in contact with online. Get more information on scams from Action Fraud, including ‘419’ emails and letters.

If you’re emailed about a money transfer to Nigeria for someone you know, contact the person supposedly receiving the money. If a caller claims to be in distress, ask if they have reported the incident to the British Deputy High Commission in Lagos.

If you receive a suspicious email that claims to be from any British High Commission office in Nigeria, contact the Consular Section of the British Deputy High Commission in Lagos.

IVF and fertility treatment scams

If you’re considering fertility treatment in Nigeria, be cautious. There have been a number of staged fake births (commonly called ‘miracle babies’) where visitors are falsely led to believe they have given birth. There is a risk in bringing a child who is not biologically related to you into the UK without following the legal procedures. The UK has restricted overseas adoption of children from Nigeria.

Kidnapping for ransom

Kidnapping is widespread across Nigeria. There has been a recent increase in kidnappings in the Abuja Federal Capital Territory area.

Criminal groups may kidnap victims by stopping cars on major highways, including the:

  • Abuja-Kaduna highway
  • Enugu-Awka-Onitsha expressway in Anambra

There is a high threat of kidnapping and other armed attacks at oil and gas facilities in the Niger Delta region. This also applies to facilities at sea.

Possible targets for kidnap include British nationals of Nigerian origin visiting friends and relatives, and British nationals working for international corporations. They will have connections in the country with ready access to funds. There is a possibility that criminal groups could sell hostages on to terrorist organisations.

When arranging meetings, use a secure location. Avoid regular patterns of travel and aim to only travel during daylight hours.

Laws and cultural differences

Using a mobile

Your SIM must be linked to a Nigerian Identification Number. Get guidance from your network operator.


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.

Ramadan is a holy month for Muslims. The dates vary by year. During this time, in any predominantly Muslim area you should not:

  • eat, drink, smoke or chew gum in public areas (including in cars and taxis) during the daytime
  • sit down to eat in hotels and restaurants without checking if there is a separate or screened area for food and drink
  • ignore dress codes – it is more important to wear respectful clothing during Ramadan
  • play loud music, swear, shout, sing or dance

Be aware that driving may be erratic, particularly at dusk when people are getting back home to eat.

Illegal drugs and prison sentences

Possession or use of illegal drugs is a serious offence and can result in lengthy prison sentences and heavy fines.

Using cameras in secure areas

Photography of government, military buildings and airports may lead to arrest.

LGBT+ travellers

Same-sex relationships are 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.

Read more advice for LGBT+ travellers.

Transport risks

Road travel

Road travel across Nigeria can be chaotic and slow moving. Take a mobile and a supply of bottled water with you when travelling by car.

You can drive in Nigeria with a UK driving licence for up to 3 months. If necessary renew or update it. The minimum legal age for driving is 18.

If you’re staying longer, you will need a 1968 international driving permit (IDP). For stays of more than a year, you will have to get a Nigerian driver’s licence.

Limit travel after dark outside city centres as far as possible. Avoid quiet and poorly lit roads. Be alert when 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 (such as a police station).

Take care when driving outside cities and consider travelling in convoy.

Dangers at road checkpoints

There are authorised and unauthorised vehicle checkpoints throughout Nigeria. Some are for security checks, others to extort small payments of money. Slow down at any type of checkpoint and stay calm. 

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 in Borno State, including the A3 Maiduguri-Damaturu road. These attacks have targeted civilians, security forces and aid workers.

Taxis and buses

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, so use these where possible. Taxis, including online taxi app services, can pose a kidnap risk to passengers.

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.

Sea travel

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 get professional security advice and take appropriate precautions.

Swimming risks

Swimming off the coast of Nigeria is sometimes dangerous due to rip tides and undertows, with drownings occurring each year. Get local advice before swimming.

This section has safety advice for regions of Nigeria. It only covers regions where FCDO has specific advice. 

Insecurity is increasing across Nigeria. Kidnapping, violent crime, and intercommunal violence occur throughout all regions of Nigeria. You should also read FCDO’s overall travel advice and safety and security advice.

North East Nigeria

FCDO advises against all travel to Borno State, Yobe State, Adamawa State and Gombe State.

FCDO advises against all but essential travel to Bauchi and Taraba states.

There is a high and increasing threat from 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.

There is a high threat of kidnap and violent attacks. Intercommunal tensions can lead to outbreaks of violence. During the dry season when roads are more easily accessible this risk is 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. Make sure your safety procedures and contingency plans are up to date. If you are working, make sure you have confidence in your employer’s ability to extract you in the event of any emergency.

If in Maiduguri, be aware that if security were to deteriorate any further, it could be extremely difficult for you to leave the city. FCDO does not advise travelling by road in this area. 

North West Nigeria

FCDO advises against all travel to Kaduna State, Katsina State and Zamfara State.

FCDO advises 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 and there is a high threat of kidnap. Incidents of intercommunal violence occur and trains are vulnerable to attack. If you’re travelling in the north-west against FCDO advice, be extremely cautious and monitor local media.

North Central Nigeria and the Federal Capital Territory, including Abuja

FCDO advises against all but essential travel to Niger, Kogi, and Plateau states due to criminal and militant activity and incidents of intercommunal violence.

The outer suburbs of Abuja, within the Federal Capital Territory are prone to varying levels of violence, and the safety of daily activity is unpredictable. Violent crime, often involving firearms, has increased and spread from the outer suburbs to more central, wealthier areas of the city.

The risk of terrorism in Abuja and the Federal Capital Territory area has increased. Islamic State West Africa (ISWA) has claimed responsibility for attacks. In one attack on Kuje Prison in Abuja in 2022, an unknown number of prisoners escaped, including suspected terrorists. The risk is present across the Federal Capital Territory, including Abuja, particularly in the border areas.

Be cautious when travelling in the Federal Capital Territory. Take advice from trusted contacts and be prepared to cancel or limit your plans.

There are regular protests in Abuja, which can turn violent. Monitor local media, avoid demonstrations and large gatherings and follow instructions from local police and security forces.

South East and South South Nigeria

FCDO advises against all travel to the riverine areas (the river and swamp locations accessible by boat, but not by road) of Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Cross River states.

FCDO advises 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 kidnap in the Niger Delta region.

There have been a number of attacks and targeted killings. Some attacks have been on isolated roads and in remote locations, but they could occur in metropolitan areas. There is also a heightened risk of indiscriminate attacks on police and security infrastructure, which may affect bystanders. A number of states have imposed curfews. Be cautious about travelling in remote areas at night and follow local news and information outlets.

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. A period of civil disobedience is expected from 15-19 December. Some previous protests have turned violent.  Anyone travelling to the region should exercise increased caution and continue to follow FCDO travel advice. Monitor local government announcements and media reporting.

South West Nigeria

Violent crime such as mugging, kidnapping, car-jacking and armed robberies are common, particularly in the larger cities . Large-scale attacks are rare, but Islamic State West Africa claimed 2 attacks in 2022. Intercommunal violence is common. While these attacks have not targeted foreign nationals, try to avoid being caught up in such incidents.

Be alert and take any security advice given by your hotel, employer or your hosts.

Nigeria borders

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.

Before you travel check that:

  • your destination can provide the healthcare you may need
  • you have appropriate travel insurance for local treatment or unexpected medical evacuation

This is particularly important if you have a health condition or are pregnant.

Emergency medical number

Call 112 to report an emergency.

There is no national ambulance service and hospital-owned services are extremely limited. You may need to get local advice or arrange local transport.

Contact your insurance company promptly if you’re referred to a medical facility for treatment.

Vaccinations and health risks

At least 8 weeks before your trip check:

There are ongoing outbreaks of diphtheria in Nigeria in 2023. You can find more information from TravelHealthPro.


Pharmacies are widely available in Nigeria. They will accept prescriptions from the UK.

Most medicines that require a prescription from a doctor in the UK will require one in Nigeria. If possible, bring a prescription from your GP for a local doctor to copy.

Read best practice when travelling with medicines on TravelHealthPro.

The NHS has information on whether you can take your medicine abroad.

Healthcare facilities in Nigeria

FCDO has a list of doctors in Nigeria

Medical standards differ from the UK and you will have to pay for any medical treatment that you receive at public hospitals. Private hospitals are more expensive. Local hospitals may be crowded and there can be shortages in medical supplies and equipment.

Travel and mental health

Read FCDO guidance on travel and mental health. There is also mental health guidance on TravelHealthPro.

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) cannot provide tailored advice for individual trips. Read this travel advice and carry out your own research before deciding whether to travel.

Emergency services in Nigeria

Telephone: 112 (ambulance, fire, police)

There is no national ambulance service and hospital-owned services are extremely limited. You may need to get local advice or arrange local transport.

Contact your travel provider and insurer

Contact your travel provider and your insurer if you are involved in a serious incident or emergency abroad. They will tell you if they can help and what you need to do.

Refunds and changes to travel

For refunds or changes to travel, contact your travel provider. You may also be able to make a claim through insurance. However, insurers usually require you to talk to your travel provider first.

Find out more about changing or cancelling travel plans, including:

  • where to get advice if you are in a dispute with a provider
  • how to access previous versions of travel advice to support a claim

Support from FCDO

FCDO has guidance on staying safe and what to do if you need help or support abroad, including:

Contacting FCDO

Follow and contact FCDO travel on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. You can also sign up to get email notifications when this travel advice is updated.

Help abroad in an emergency

If you’re in Nigeria and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the British High Commission in Abuja or the Deputy High Commission in Lagos.

You can also contact FCDO online.

FCDO in London

You can call FCDO in London if you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad.

Telephone: 020 7008 5000 (24 hours)

Find out about call charges

Risk information for British companies

The Overseas Business Risk service offers information and advice for British companies operating overseas on how to manage political, economic, and business security-related risks.

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