How to Register a Car in Nigeria

All cars that ply Nigerian roads have number plates. These plates are issued by approved government authorities.Here is the step by step guide on how to register a car in Nigeria

Car registration is important because government officials who manage and regulate traffic can impound motorists’ cars when they notice it has no covering papers.

Therefore, it is important my readers learn how to register a car in Nigeria so that they can guide friends and family members on how to do it.

Whether imported or newly bought, all cars that ply Nigerian roads must be registered in Nigeria, and note that it costs some money to register vehicles in Nigeria.

Also, car registration can take a long time if for example I am in Kano but need a Lagos number plate. Abuja and Lagos are the most expensive plate numbers in Nigeria. You have to follow in some steps to achieve this.


Step 1: I will ensure have a driver’s license

If I can drive but do not have a license yet, I will go to Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) office near me and apply for a driver’s license.

They will need my biometric data capturing and the sum of N10,000 to process a new one. After the process is completed, I will be given a temporary driver’s license which will last for 60 days.

After the 60 days, my new driver’s license will be ready for pick up. So, after getting a valid driver’s license, I will take the next step. To register a car in Nigeria, I must have a valid driver’s license.


Step 2: Registration Process

This is another important stage. At SBIR/MLA office, I will pick up the allocation of plate number form. I will fill out all the required details on the form and submit this form with original copies of all the documents I had come with.

Also, I will pay for vehicle number plate. My car will be physically inspected to check for its road worthiness. After my new (or fairly used) car has been certified okay, they will issue me a Road Worthiness Certificate.

If VIO (Vehicle Inspection Officer) is satisfied with my car, I will be asked to go to Road Safety to verify the documents provided. Some documents are required to register a car in Nigeria and they include my driver’s license, valid ID card (International Passport or national ID card) and proof of address.

Others are custom papers (imported car), chassis number, and engine number, and proceed to State Board of Internal Revenue/Motor Licensing Authority (SBIR/MLA).


Step 3: Verification process

The verified documents for my brand new car are driver’s license, auto insurance policy, attestation letter from my car dealer, car invoice, delivery note from my car dealer, my passport photograph, Motor Vehicle Duty Certificate, and means of proof of address (address on utility bill).

Also, the verified documents for my fairly used (imported or Tokunbo) are Certificate of Entry, Payment Schedule, Engine Number, Receipt of Purchase, Terminal Delivery Order, Vehicle Releasing Invoice, and my passport photograph. After due verification, the official will forward all documents to a policeman attached to the unit to sign and stamp.

I will be asked to pay the sum of N50,000 (depending on the state) for my number plate at the bank. This process is important to register a car in Nigeria.


Step 4: Going back to SBIR/MLA

After the payment at the bank and I am back at SBIR/MLA, my Proof of Ownership Certificate (POC), Vehicle Identification Tag (VIT) and Vehicle Number Plate will be given to me.

All original documents I submitted will be returned to me. Remember that car insurance is important to register a car in Nigeria and they come in 2 forms – Third Party Auto Insurance Cover and Comprehensive Auto Cover.

Third Party Auto Insurance Policy is usually done by an insurance company to protect car owners from losses caused by their cars on other people in the course of driving.

If I am driving my car down the road and mistakenly run over someone, the insurance company will bear the cost of my victim’s treatment.

That is why it is advisable to do auto insurance with a known insurance company. On the other hand, the comprehensive auto cover is the third party auto insurance and “more.”

If I want to indemnify myself against car theft and fire I have to choose this second option. All auto insurance must be done with known insurance companies and not with car dealers.

Note also that insurance companies have a maximum amount they do not exceed when they pay for damaged cars or compensation.

Most insurance companies do not exceed N1million when paying compensations. Auto insurance is important aspect in the quest to register a car in Nigeria.


Required Documents for vehicle registration in Nigeria:

Before you nurture the plans to proceed to vehicle registration in Nigeria, ensure that you have all the needed documents intact. Most requested of all the documents are;

  • A valid Driver’s License.
  • Insurance Policy Number
  • Means of Identification e.g. International passport, national identity card etc.
  • Proof of Address (e.g. Utility Bill)

Other documents also required are;

  • Custom papers
  • Engine number written out (not compulsory but necessary)
  • Proof of Ownership
  • Insurance papers
  • Tax Identification Number (recently added nut not compulsory yet)

Cost of vehicle registration in Nigeria

The cost really depends on which type of vehicle starting from motorcycle to truck or bulldozer. For salon cars the cost would vary between N35k – N45k at the time of writing this article.

What Next?

Do you have the above listed documents ready? If yes, let’s proceed.

  1. Visit the Federal Road Safety Corp National Vehicle Identification System website at and completes online registration (MVA01) form,
  2. Prints the completed form and attach all relevant vehicle documents
  3. Proceeds to SBIR/MLA (State Board of Internal Revenue/Motor Licensing Authority) office and collect the allocation of plate number form, Plate number Tag, CMR and information required issued by the police
    Pay for vehicle number plate at SBIR/MLA and collect your vehicle number plate.
  4. After that, take your vehicle to Vehicle inspection Office (VIO) for physical inspection and collect a Road worthiness certificate, if VIO is satisfied with the condition of the vehicle.
  5. Now go back to Road safety for the verification of documents provided. Here, the verified documents are Driver’s License: Insurance Policy Number, Means of Identification, and Proof of Address (e.g. Utility Bill)

You are done with Vehicle Registration in Nigeria! Now,

Go back to SBIR/MLA, where you collect the following registered vehicle documents:

  • Proof of Ownership Certificate (POC) number
  • Proof of Ownership Certificate,
  • Vehicle Number Plate
  • Vehicle Identification Tag (VIT)


Why Should you Register your Car Before Driving?

The Nigerian law makes it compulsory for all vehicles (trucks, cars, tricycle, and motorcycle) using Nigerian roads to be fully registered or risk being impounded by federal authorities.

Efforts have been made in the past by authorities of Federal Road Safety Commission to introduce new number plates for easy tracking of vehicles and their various owners.

The commission argued that the current method of registering vehicle is weak in that Nigerians easily use a plate number of a car for another, so they wished to introduce a new-improved system that will make such actions punishable under law with severe consequences, but Nigerians resisted this move.

All efforts geared towards proper registration of vehicles should be encouraged by general public so as to reduce car snatching and theft in Nigeria.

The steps above guide to register a car in Nigeria in few days or months.

Congratulations from me once again for buying your new vehicle and passing through this process. You are now authorized to ply the Nigerian roads without any fear or foe.

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  1. MARK

    November 19, 2015 at 1:42 pm

    Please i bough a car 2 yrs ago and i have not been using it coz its giving me a lot of problem then so i decided not to use the car again, now i found a Good mechanic who fixed the car for me and its not working perfect But i have lost all the document even one of the plate number have lost, How can i go about this ??

  2. Adam

    August 15, 2015 at 9:51 am

    Okay i bought a car frm a dealer,provided me wit al d necessary documents xcept he took d plate number…how do i register for a new one?

    • Ifiokobong Rob

      August 17, 2015 at 8:58 am

      Hi Adam, I think everything about car registration is explained in the post above. Kindly follow the step-by-step instructions there. Thanks

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