The new Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) regulations left most of us confused about money transfers to Nigeria. As sending Naira is no longer possible, we need to look for alternative ways to send money to Nigeria.
This is where domiciliary accounts come in handy. A domiciliary account, commonly called a “dom account,” is a type of account that doesn’t accept Naira (Nigerian currency). It does, however, accept foreign currencies such as euros, dollars, pounds, etc. The domiciliary account works like any other savings account. The only difference is that it can be used in international business dealings and can accept foreign currency transactions.
Why should you open a domiciliary account in Nigeria?
To start with, if you want to send money into Nigeria, this is your only option. You can open a domiciliary account with most banks in Nigeria and can make transactions from in and outside of Nigeria.
The benefits of having a dom account vary from one bank to another but usually include the following:
- International business. It is the best option for those who do business internationally as it enables them to make both domestic and international transactions
- Savings account. You can use the domiciliary account as a savings account, which proves especially useful for parents who want to save money for their children’s education abroad
- Send and receive money internationally. The domiciliary account can be used to transfer funds abroad and also to receive funds in USD, EUR, GBP, etc. from another international account
- Attractive rates. Check with your bank as usually, banks provide attractive interest rates for dom accounts
- Online banking. Gain access to online features such as mobile banking, debit card, online banking, transaction alert via Email, and more
How to open a domiciliary account?
The requirements needed to open dom accounts are more or less similar across all Nigerian banks. For your reference, here are two great examples: Fidelity Bank and Guaranty Trust Bank.
- Fidelity Bank
Nigerians living in the diaspora can open a dom account with Fidelity bank by simply submitting the needed documents and without any hassle.
To qualify for a dom account, you must be a Nigerian citizen who legally resides abroad. The bank provides a joint nominee signatory option in which a relative or friend of your choosing can run the account on your behalf.
Here are the requirements:
- Fill in a diaspora account opening form
- One (1) passport size photograph (digital passport is also allowed)
- Proof of Identity – a valid document that shows your photo, has your name and indicates your Nigerian nationality. It can be any of the following:
- Voter’s card
- Valid or expired Nigerian passport
- Birth certificate
- Drivers license
- Proof of Address – a certified copy of the following is accepted:
- Bank statement or credit card statement received within the last 3 months
- Utility bills received within the last 3 months
- Stamped banker’s confirmation
- Tenancy agreement or receipt from rent
- Two (2) Nigerian bank references indicating a currently active account, a domiciliary account, or a corporate account
To open a domiciliary account with Fidelity bank, you must deposit a minimum of $50/€50/£50, depending on the currency of your choice.
- Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB)
If you are a Nigerian resident, you can open a domiciliary account with GTBank. To do so, you must follow these steps:
- Fill in and sign a Domiciliary Account opening form
- A copy of your identification document (driver’s license, international passport, or your national I.D card)
- One (1) passport photograph
- Two (2) reference forms – these must be filled out by current bank account holders, which are not salary accounts
- Utility bill issued within the last 3 months
What if you’re not a Nigerian resident?
You can still open a domiciliary account with GTBank. To do so, you’ll need the following:
- Fill in a Non-Resident Account opening form
- One (1) passport photo
- A copy of an identification document such as a Nigerian passport, a voter’s card, a drivers’ license, or a notarized foreign international passport or international drivers’ license
- Proof of address (stamped reference letter or a stamped bank confirmation that shows your address)
- Provide either of these references:
- A stamped reference letter or a stamped banker’s confirmation of your bank abroad
- Two (2) reference forms from current Nigerian bank account holders
- If you are interested in opening a joint account, provide a copy of your marriage certificate
Of course, there are additional options and a variety of money transfer options such as wire transfers and cash pickups. While the CBN regulations have us all a bit frustrated, there is some logic behind them.
Still, many of us who live abroad find comfort in our ability to conduct an open discussion and consult with one another about money matters, alternatives of sending Naira to Nigeria, and anything that relates to living far away from home. I encourage you to find your own space in which you can discuss current events and share ideas.