Looking for SONCAP or Product Certification ?

Looking for SONCAP or Product Certification ?

Standards Organisation of Nigeria Conformity Assessment Programme

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.

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.

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.

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.
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.

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.

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.

  • 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

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.


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


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

  • 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.
  • No.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
  • 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.

  • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.