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  • What is SONCAP?

    The SONCAP is an offshore and pre-shipment certification scheme to monitor, check and control the importation of regulated products into Nigeria. It comprises a set of conformity assessments and verification procedures applicable to all SON-regulated products imported into Nigeria.

    The Federal Government of Nigeria introduced the Standards Organisation of Nigeria Conformity Assessment Programme (SONCAP) to address the number of unsafe products entering the country and to eliminate their subsequent risks to public health and safety.

    The scheme employs four mandatory processes of verification of product quality to meet specification standards such as NIS, International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO), and International Electrotechnical Committee (IEC) among others.

    The processes are:

    • Product Certificate 1 (otherwise known as PC1 or Unregistered)
    • Product Certificate 2 (otherwise known as PC2 or Registered Status)
    • Product Certificate 3 (otherwise known as PC3 or Licensed Status)
    • SONCAP Certificate (also known as SC)

    These documents are mandatory for the importation and Customs clearance of SONCAP-regulated goods, as stipulated in the revised Import Guidelines, under the import requirement of the Federal Government of Nigeria.

  • Why do I need SONCAP Certificate for my import to Nigeria?

    The SONCAP scheme is designed to protect Nigerian consumers from unsafe and substandard imported finished products, to ensure that imported products meet the specifications of acceptable standards while ensuring easier monitoring by responsible agencies.

    Any regulated products that find their way to Nigeria without the SONCAP certificate are in violation of extant regulations and shall be subject to detention, testing, and possible destruction at the expense of the importer.

  • What is involved in the processing of SONCAP certification?

    Under the SONCAP regime, imports are required to undergo verification and testing at the country of supply (Exporting country) of any of the approved Independent Accredited Firms (IAFs), and a SONCAP Certificate (SC) is issued to demonstrate that the products have met the applicable standards and regulations, or a Non-Conformity Report (NCR) is issued where the goods do not comply.

    The conformity assessment elements undertaken in SONCAP include, but are not limited, to physical inspection prior to shipment, sampling, testing, and analysis in accredited laboratories, audit of production processes and systems, and documentary check of conformity with regulations and overall assessment of conformity to standards.

    Under this program, importers of regulated products must obtain two certificates to process the importation and clearance of the goods.

    • Product Certificate (PC), either unregistered, registered, or licensed
    • SONCAP Certificate (SC)

    The Product Certificate and the SONCAP Certificate are mandatory for the processing of Form M and Nigerian Customs’ clearance of SON-regulated goods respectively under the import requirements of the Federal Government of Nigeria.

  • What is the PC?

    The product certificate (PC) is the first certificate issued during the SONCAP certification process, which represents the conformities of products to quality requirements. It is used in the opening of the CBN Form M, or other CBN documents for processing importation, to enable importation into Nigeria. The PC is issued to the exporter, as only his details are stated on the certificate.

  • What is the SC?

    The SONCAP Certificate (SC) is used to process the PAAR for the clearance of goods from any Nigerian port. The SC is issued to an importer, whose details are stated on the SONCAP certificate.

  • What is the meaning of HS code?

    The Harmonised Commodity Description and Coding System, also known as the Harmonised System (HS) of tariff nomenclature is an internationally standardized system of names and numbers to classify traded products.

    The Harmonized System is used by the Standards Organisation of Nigeria as a mechanism for the identification, modification, and implementation of regulatory control over all products. The Nigeria Customs Service also uses it to implement duties and taxes on products, and for gathering statistics.

  • Who are the IAFs

    The IAFs are the Independent Accredited Firms (IAFs) engaged to conduct offshore Conformity Assessments, on behalf of Standards Organisations of Nigeria, to address the challenges of the incessant influx of substandard and unsafe products into the country. They also issue test reports, Product and SONCAP certificates from accredited laboratories.

    There are four (4) Independent Accredited Firms (IAFs) managing the SONCAP offshore process. The names of the IAFs are listed below:

    1. COTECNA Inspection Limited (COTECNA)
    2. Bureau Veritas (BV)
    3. China Standard Inspection Company (CSIC)
    4. China Hansom Inspection & Certification Co., Ltd (CHICC).
  • How long does it take to process SONCAP Product certificate?

    PCs are generated within 96 Hours considering all time zones.

    However, PCs can be generated within 24 Hours subject to the following fulfillments:

    • All Qualifying documents and Test Reports are submitted within a reasonable time frame.

    All products comply with applicable standard requirements.

  • How much does it cost to apply for SONCAP Product certificate?
    • Product Certificate 1 (Unregistered Status) = $500
    • Product Certificate 2 (Registered Status) = $1000
    • Product Certificate 3 (Licensed Status) = $2,000
    • New Product = $350
    • Certificate amendment fee = $100
    • Non-conformity Report = $350.00
    • Additional model to be included in the same certificate, and covered in the same test report, is charged at an additional$10.00 per month of validity per model.
      • PC1 = $60
      • PC2 = $120
      • PC3 = $120
  • How much does it cost to apply for SONCAP certificate?

    $350.00 per certificate

  • How long does it take to process SONCAP certificate?

    SCs are generated within 96 Hours considering all time zones.

    However, SCs can be generated within 24 Hours subject to the following fulfillments:

    • All Qualifying documents and Test Reports are submitted within a reasonable time frame.

    All products comply with applicable standard requirements.

  • Is it possible to use one SONCAP Certificate to clear multiple consignments?


    SONCAP Certificate is only limited to processing a single PAAR consignment and issued to only one entity

  • Can one apply for SONCAP certificate after the consignment has left the country of origin? What is the penalty of not conforming to the SONCAP scheme prior to my consignment arriving in the country?


    The SONCAP is an offshore and pre-shipment certification scheme, thus, cannot be processed after the consignment has left the country of origin. What is applicable at this stage is the SONCAP Default, which shall be charged at 20% CIF of the consignment or 2 million Naira, whichever is higher

  • What is the validity period of PC and SC?
    • Products Certificate (PC1) – Unregistered /Unlicensed (Conformity verification) – valid for six months and for single use.
    • Product Certificate (2) (Registered Status) – valid for 12 Months (One Year) multiple use.
    • Product Certificate (PC3) (Licensed Status) – valid for 12 months (one year) multiple use.
  • Is it possible to process SONCAP certificates without a FIRS issues Tax Identification Number?


    One of the key requirements for processing SONCAP and Import Permits is the FIRS Tax Identification Number (TIN). This TIN must be registered for trade on the trade portal before it can be used to process any of SON’s clearance certificate

  • What products are exempted from the SONCAP scheme?

    The following items are exempted from the SONCAP Offshore certification scheme:

    • Food products.
    • Medicines
    • Medicals, other than equipment and machines.
    • Chemicals, used as raw materials by bonafide manufacturers, to produce food products and medicines (note that some chemicals whose usage also extend to other industrial purposes aside from Food and medicines are regulated by SON)
    • Goods clarified as contraband by the Federal Government of Nigeria.
    • Used products, other than automobiles (refurbished and re-engineered commercial article must process Import Permit)

    The exemption of some products from the SONCAP Offshore scheme does not translate to some of these articles not being regulated by SON.

    Importation of some sensitive, high-risk, life-endangering, and associated products, is mandated to be processed through a special license issued by the Director General/Chief Executive (SON). In such circumstances, the importer will be guided on the importation process.

  • What is SONCAP Import Permit?

    The SONCAP Import permit is issued to exempt certain categories of imports of regulated products from offshore certification (SONCAP).

    Such categories include raw materials, packaging, and Industrial Machinery imported by Bonafide manufacturers imported.

    Bonafide manufacturers who intend to import machinery, raw materials, and packaging materials to produce SON-regulated products, are advised to apply to the SONCAP Division SONCAP Import Permit (equivalent to the Product Certificate) to enable them to optimize production, save time and cost, and further participation in the MANCAP scheme.

    Other articles permitted under SONCAP Import Permit are Project specific items, Humanitarian/Charitable items, and other non-commercial products.

    • Import Permit is issued after the evaluation of the importer, import documents, intent of importation, and permit verification inspection (pre or post-import) by SON.
    • All of the above forms the basis for the approval or denial of an application, under the directive of the Director General.
    • All commercial items and articles for subsequent sale and distribution are to be processed through the SONCAP Product certification route to ensure conformity to standards, fitness for purpose, and safety.
  • How long does it take to obtain SONCAP Import Permit?
    • Issuance of Demand Note – 3 Working Days
    • Activation of Import Permit to NICIS Portal – 3 Working Days
    • Activation of Import Permit for PAAR- 3 Working Days (Note: All Pre-Arrival Assessment Report Applications must be carried out at the time of departure of consignments to Nigeria. Any application for PAAR for goods already at Nigerian Ports and Borders will be termed as default and penalized accordingly.
  • How much does it cost to apply for SONCAP Import Permit?

    Demand Note values are determined using any combination of the following criteria:

    • 5% FOB subject to a minimum of #550,000.00
    • Item of Import, HS code, and their use
    • Availability of alternative locally
    • Terms on the SON-MAN MOU for members of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria
    • MANCAP certification status of the product whose raw material is being imported

    Special charges as approved by SON’s Management.

  • I have a valid Import Permit for processing FormM, why is my PAAR Certificate activation request being rejected?

    PAAR activation can be rejected for a combination of reasons, namely:

    • HS code and number of items approved for the PC differ from that now being declared during PAAR activation
    • The number of items declared during PAAR activation is more than the number approved on the PC
    • The value of the articles declared during PAAR activation is more than the value declared and approved on the PC
    • The required document(s) were not attached, or not in the approved format.
      • FormM
      • Final Invoice
      • Bill Lading
      • NSA EUC

    Other approvals.

  • Can I change the contact email or phone number associated with my account on SONCAP portal?

    No, you cannot

  • Must I have a TIN before I can start the SONCAP application process?

    Yes, you must

  • I want to use my Import Permit for FormM to process PAAR Certificate, but I cannot trace it on the portal

    The Import Permit for processing FormM has a validity of 12 months, after which it becomes invalid.

    This is a control measure as a PFI validity is usually no longer than three months after which the value therein is no longer valid, thus, an IMP validity is to correlate with the PFI validity.

    For cautionary reasons, every FormM IMP should have been utilized to process CBN FormM within six months after the issuance.

  • I can't access my email what do I do?

    Before creating an account as an importer on the SONCAP App, it is advisable to register with a valid and accessible email address and phone number.

    SON cannot assist any client who may have lost access to the registered email. The solution is to recover the registered email address or to create another account using another email address.

  • Can I be exempted from paying SONCAP Import Permit service charges?

    Exemptions are granted only under special conditions for relief items imported by International NGOs, and charity organisations and for personal articles imported by diplomatic missions. However, the Standards Organisation of Nigeria is obligated to ensure that items being imported are safe for use and fit for purpose.

  • I'm bringing in items donated to charity, do I need SONCAP Certificate?

    Every article coming to Nigeria, even donated items, must possess evidence of conformity to applicable requirements. This is provided for by using the SONCAP Certificate to ensure that the item of import complies with the Federal Government regulations guiding the importation of products.

    For donated items, the NGO may apply for SONCAP Import Permit. The application shall be processed in line with the guideline for processing the importation of donated non-commercial articles.

  • Can I change the TIN on my registered account?

    No, you can’t

    A certificate issued on a TIN is not transferable

  • Can I change the TIN on an activated certificate?

    No, you can’t

  • I am importing on behalf on a government organisation do I still pay?

    Importation made directly by the FG is entitled to concession. However, all importation made using the name of a contractor or private entities shall be processed in line with the procedure for processing SONCAP Import Permit without concession.

  • Is it possible to process consignment clearance without having TIN?

    No, the TIN is the basis for identifying importers during the importation and clearance of goods in Nigeria

  • Why three working days before approval/rejection?

    This is the maximum turnaround time approved to process these items in line with the implementation of SON’s ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management System and the Ease of Doing Business in Nigeria.

  • Is SONCAP Import Permit service charge one-off payment, or do I have to pay all over again whenever I import

    Payment for SONCAP Import Permit is a one-off.

  • What is the lifespan of the certificate

    The lifespan of a certificate is a maximum of 12 months after which the payment is deemed utilized and the certificate no longer valid.

  • How do I process an import permit?

    To process SONCAP Import Permit, an applicant must register as an Importer on the SONCAP Portal through the link

  • How do I update my TIN details?

    Through liaison with the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS). The FIRS is responsible for the issuance and management of the TIN.

  • How do I print my import permit or PAAR certificate from the dashboard
    • By browsing through the relevant sections of my experience after logging into the SONCAP portal.
    • The certificate can also be viewed and downloaded after it has been successfully attached to the FormM or PAAR on the trade portal.
  • Why are manufacturers who are members of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria issued lower service charge for the importation of some articles?

    SON and the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to promote the economic and industrial growth of local industries.

    Thus, local manufacturers have been given special service charges when processing the SONCAP Import Permit to import raw materials, packaging materials, and production machinery.

  • Why am I being denied SONCAP Import Permit for my commercial imports?

    The Import Permit is only issued to exempt certain categories of imports of regulated products from offshore certification. Such categories include imported Industrial Machinery, project-specific items, Humanitarian/Charitable items, and other non-commercial products.

    All other products must be certified as meeting the requirements of application standards; thus, all other products must process PC

  • What next now that I have agreed to conform to the SONCAP scheme?
    • Register and activate FIRS TIN on the national trade portal
    • Process the PC through any of the IAF
    • Apply for CBN FormM and attach the PC
    • Process the SC through the chosen IAF
    • Apply for NCS PAAR and attach the SC
    • Process NCS SGD
    • Inform the SON Port and Border Operations to process the clearance of the consignment out of the ports.
  • Do I have to repeat the same process each time I want to import?

    Yes, as the SONCAP certificate is consignment specific

  • What are the gains of the SONCAP scheme?

    Some of the gains of the SONCAP program include, but are not limited to, the following:

    • Ensuring that regulated products comply with the NIS or approved international standards prior to export to Nigeria.
    • Providing a level playing field in terms of quality for both Imported and locally manufactured products to prevent unfair trade practices and unfair competition with substandard.
    • Easing trade in Nigeria by preventing delays in the clearance of Imported products at Nigerian Ports and Borders, and all Customs Entry Points and Terminals where consignments are being processed for clearance
    • Easing trade in Nigeria by fast-tracking clearance via pre-shipment document submission, Inspections, and pre-consignment arrival clearance document processing.
    • Preventing the dumping of substandard goods in the Nigerian market and in turn, preventing economic loss to the genuine importers and the nation at large.
    • Forestalling any adverse reaction (such as environmental pollution occasioned by the destruction of substandard products) by regulatory Agencies on the arrival of such goods in Nigeria.
    • Encouraging genuine investors and investment in Nigeria.
    • Promoting MANCAP-certified Made in Nigeria products by ensuring conformity to Standards of imported products.
    • Conserving foreign exchange by regulating the importation of regulated products.
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