Export cars from the U.S. Buyer Tips

Shipping a Car From the U.S. to Nigeria: A Simple Guide

By Odet Garcia Updated: 07/09/2022 Posted: 08/09/2019

The used car market in Nigeria is only showing signs of growing and becoming more and more popular. There is a high number of residents that find it very hard to get approved for financing with banks. Hence, many of these residents have turned to the used car market. Especially, buying their used car through auto auction sites in the US. So, learning about the process of shipping a car from the US to Nigeria has become imperative. 

There are many variables a buyer needs to learn about before shipping a car to Nigeria. It can be a complex and tricky process if one is not aware of the requirements. This simple guide can help you be as ready as you can be to receive your newly purchased used car. 

Buying Your Used Car From An Auction Site

Before you can think of shipping a car you’ll have to, of course, buy one. Fortunately, buying a used or salvage car from an auto auction site is a very simple process. 

Your first step will be registering to the auction site and making a deposit. In most auction sites, the deposit has to be 10% of your total bidding power or of the amount you’d like to spend. For example, Auto Auction Mall asks for a deposit of minimum US$400, which means you can bid for a maximum of US$4,000 on the car you’d like to purchase. You can use the deposit to pay for the car you want, and it is also refundable.

Further Reading

  1. Your Guide to Buy Used Cars on an Online Auto Auction Site 
  2. Used Ford Car for Sale: How to Choose the Right One 
  3. Everything You Need to Know about Buying Used Cars 
  4. How You Can Get Your Next Car from a Dealers Auto Auction 

Once you’ve done this, you can search for the car that matches your needs in the site’s inventory. You can get in contact with the auction agent that they will assign to you. This way it’s easier for you to find something perfect for you. The auction agent can also help you during the bidding process and the final purchase. 

Dealer-Only Auctions VS Public Auctions

One of the biggest advantages about buying used cars at auction sites is the access that they can provide you to dealer-only auctions. This type of auctions give you the chance of browsing a broad inventory and finding a great car for you at a wholesale price. Keep in mind that this only occurs if you register and pay the deposit, otherwise you’d only have access to public auctions where prices are not so attractive. 

“As Is, Where Is”

This is a very important characteristic of used cars bought at auto auction sites. When you buy a used or salvage car from dealer-only auctions, these cars are sold “as is, where is” by the auction site. This means that when you’re buying a used car from an auto auction, you agree to buy the car with the faults or damages that come with it. 

You can arrange with your auction agent to have someone inspect the car for you. This way you can make sure that the description and everything you know about the car is accurate. Also, when you receive your car you know what to expect. 

Shipping a Car to Nigeria

So now that you have purchased the car, it’s time for you to arrange the shipping to Nigeria. It’s important that you have the knowledge about every requirement. This way you avoid having any problems when getting your car through customs in Nigeria or the US. 

You’ll have the option of choosing between two different shipping methods: the traditional container shipping method, or the “Roll-On/Roll-Off” method, also known as RoRo. This method is the most popular one because is more convenient and less expensive. 

The container method is somewhat more expensive, but offers protection to the vehicle in case of experiencing weather issues. On the other hand, the RoRo method requires the car to be operable in order to roll on and off the cargo ramp, which can be an issue depending on the case. 

Forms & Payments

Whichever method of transportation you decide to go with, the following are the documents you need to have ready to ship your vehicle.

  1. Title and registration
  2. Original purchase invoice
  3. Insurance papers
  4. Passport
  5. The make, model and serial number
  6. Packing list (this is required with the Container shipping method)
  7. Certificate of value and origin

The forms you’ll need to fill depend on the shipping agency that you decide to work with. Payments also will depend on the shipping agency. Most likely, your payment will include the standard storage, documents, and loading fees.

Laws & Requirements

You must know that laws for importing used cars into Nigeria can change at any given time. It’s important for you to check the laws before you arrange shipping a car, in order to be sure everything is covered. 

This is what you need to comply with when shipping your used car:

  1. Have at hand proof of documentation (list of documents above)
  2. Keep proof of paid tariffs
  3. The car cannot surpass fifteen (15) years from the year of manufacture
  4. The car will need to be opened in case of local customs inspection


Any shipping agency that you choose will recommend that you have transit cargo insurance, also known as marine insurance. This is to protect your shipment against any damage or loss incurred in transit.

It is very important that you check with your insurance company, if your insurance plan covers the shipping of your car. If not, you can easily arrange insurance coverage with the shipping agency you’re working with. Keep in mind the estimated cost for this is anywhere from 1.5 and 2.5 percent of your car’s estimated value.


This is the final step you need to pass to get your car in Nigeria and start enjoying it. As we said before, keep in mind that you’ll need to constantly check laws and requirements. These can change at any given time by any of the countries involved. And you’ll want to be prepared.

Make sure you double check that you have all documents that are required. Also, that your car meets the standards regulated by Nigerian custom authorities.