How to Buy Foreign Currency from Nigerian Banks

Due to CBN recent policy on foreign currency, which bans Bureu De Change operators in the country from buying dollars directly from the apex bank, most Nigerians are now required to buy foreign currency from their commercial banks.

The new CBN policy claims that most BDC operators have allowed themselves to become middlemen in money laundering and therefore, will no longer be able to purchase dollars directly from the CBN which is much cheaper. The policy also directs all licensed commercial banks in the country to setup infrastructures to handle the surge of customers that will be coming their way as BDCs will no longer officially participate in Nigeria’s FX market.

If you’re looking to buy some dollars to travel abroad for school, medical treatment, business or as a tourist, this article will guide you on how to buy and the requirements/documentation you need to present at your bank.

Most commercial banks in Nigeria already buy and sell foreign currency before now, in most bank branches you can withdraw hard currency like you would the naira. But that operation is limited as most Nigerians get their FX from BDCs who are now no longer part of the system.

Banks dispense personal travel allowance (PTA) and business travel allowance (BTA) in Dollars, Pounds or Euro at most of their branches Nationwide, and they cap these at a maximum of $4000 for PTA, $5,000 for BTA or its equivalent per quarter.

How do I buy dollars from Nigerian banks?

To be eligible, you must meet the following requirements and provide the following documents:

  • You must not have been paid a total of $4000 or its equivalent within the quarter
  • PTA/BTA applicants must provide a duly completed Form A, a valid Nigerian Passport with a valid visa, an international return ticket with a travel date not more than 14 days from the date of PTA/BTA purchase.
  • BTA applicants are required to present document of Incorporation/Registration, Letter of Invitation from a business partner abroad.
  • PTA/BTA is valid for journeys of 5 hours minimum flight time originating from Nigeria. Countries within the West African Region and Cameroon are exempted from PTA/BTA
  • For school fees, applicants should be Self or a parent/guardian with a valid BVN
  • Admission letter, payment invoice and a duly completed Form A and Applicant’s valid ID card are required for school fees


CBN governor, Godwin Emefele

Where can I purchase foreign exchange?
According to the new CBN policy you should be able to buy dollar at any bank branch, but this will be subject to availability and individual banks might direct customers to a special branch if the need arises.

Do I have to own an account with a certain bank to buy foreign currency from them?
No, banks are required sell to both account holders and walk–in customers. But it does make things easier to buy from your bank.

Can a traveler buy all three currencies at the same time?
Absolutely, as long as the quarterly limit for PTA/BTA is not exceeded. The US dollar is the base currency.

Are children entitled to buy foreign exchange?
Foreign exchange can be purchased by holders of Nigerian passports who are 18 years and above

Can I still buy foreign exchange, even if I do not want up to my maximum travel allowance?
Yes you can. The minimum purchase amount is $100 or it’s equivalent in other currencies. You can buy any amount between 100 and 5,000 dollars.

Do Nigerian banks deal in all the currencies in the world?
At this time, most banks only deals with the three major world currencies, US Dollar, British Pounds and the Euro. If you’re traveling to any country outside the United States, UK and Europe, it is advisable that you buy the dollar which you can easily convert to the currency of where you are going.


A writer! Columnist and an academic researcher
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