What you must know about COVID-19 and international travel

Factual Pursuit of Truth for Progress

Following the resumption of international flights on Monday, the Federal Government has released further guidelines for intending travellers departing or arriving the country.

For the first time since March 23, a foreign aircraft touched down on Nigerian turf – signalling a gradual return to normal activities crippled by the coronavirus.

An Ethiopian Airlines, carrying 120 passengers and 13 crew members, landed at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport in Abuja at exactly 1:32 p.m. local time.

According to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), others have successfully arrived in the country since then including British Airways, Emirates, ASKY Airlines, and Air Cote d’Ivoire.

However, the FG appears not to be leaving any stone unturned in its quest to avoid a spike in COVID-19 cases due to the return of international flights with the launch of a dedicated website.

The Nigeria International Travel Portal (NITP) provides all the necessary tips on how to depart or arrive in the country with ease. Here is all you should know:

How much does the COVID-19 repeat test for travellers’ cost?

The cost of COVID-19 PCR test varies across private laboratories. Currently, it ranges between 42,750 – 50,400 naira on the payment portal.

What is the procedure for short trips (less than 7 days)?

All travellers to Nigeria must adhere to the self-isolation period. Please consider reviewing your travel plans to ensure that you can adhere to the self-isolation guidance, such as extending your travel time.

For short trips, you may consider virtual meeting options while you are in self-isolation.

Is the test required for children under the age of 18?

Currently, only children under the age of 10 are exempt from providing a negative COVID-19 PCR test result before travel.

What countries require a PCR negative test?

This depends on the country you are travelling to, as countries have different entry requirements. Kindly check with the embassy of the country you intend to travel to.

When should the pre-boarding COVID-19 test be done?

The pre-boarding COVID-19 PCR test MUST be within 96 hours before departure (mandatory) and preferably within 72 hours pre-boarding (advisory).

Tests done more than 96 hours before departure are not valid and persons will not be allowed to board. Please note that tests other than PCR tests for COVID-19 (such as rapid diagnostic IgG/IgM or antigen tests) are not acceptable.

When should I register on the travel portal?

You are advised to begin your registration the moment you receive your COVID-19 PCR negative test result. This is to give sufficient time in the event of payment-related or any other delays.

When should the post-arrival COVID-19 test be done?

The post-arrival COVID-19 PCR test should be done on the 7th day after arrival.

You will be contacted via email to schedule an appointment by the private laboratory you selected during online registration and payment. However, if you develop symptoms of COVID-19 while in self-isolation, please contact the state emergency help-line or the NCDC toll-free number 0800 9700 0010 immediately.

When should passengers with long layovers carry out their pre-boarding tests?

The pre-boarding COVID-19 PCR test MUST be within 96 hours pre-departure (mandatory) and preferably within 72 hours pre-boarding (advisory) before leaving the country of travel origin.

Remember to maintain strict physical distancing and respiratory hygiene standards during your layover.

I keep receiving an error m sage saying, “duplicate records”. What should I do?

Duplicate records mean the system has received and stored your information.

This means you started an earlier transaction and could not finalise or there is a delay in receiving a response.

Please do any of the following:

Ensure you are registering through the national portal https://nitp.ncdc.gov.ng/

Check your email spam folder to be sure your confirmation email/QR code has not been received.

Use an alternative email to restart the process.

Must travellers departing from Nigeria test for COVID-19?

The requirement for COVID-19 PCR negative test depends on the airline and travel destination. Kindly check with the airline you are travelling with and/or the embassy of the country you intend to travel to.

In my country of departure, it takes 7 days to get results. What should I do?

It is mandatory that all tests are taken at least 96 hours before travel. Please contact an accredited private laboratory in your country of departure for travel-related testing.

I am yet to get a QR code despite making payment. What should I do?

Refresh your email.
Check your spam folder.
Send an email to travelportal@ncdc.gov.ng with SUBJECT: REQUEST FOR QR CODE.

I cannot afford to stay in either Lagos or Abuja for 7 days. Can I carry out a test outside Lagos and Abuja?

Yes, you can carry out a test at your state of residence if there is an accredited private laboratory in the state on the payment portal. If there is no private laboratory in your state of final destination, the laboratory you have chosen for your test during registration will make arrangements to have your sample taken at a designated site.

The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and NCDC are urgently working with all states to create a mechanism for private testing. Please see list of accredited private laboratories on the NCDC COVID -19 website: https://covid19.ncdc.gov.ng/privatelabsthe

My airport of departure and the terminal option is not captured on the portal. What should I do?

Please send the details of your airport and terminal options to travelportal@ncdc.gov.ng.

Please send an email to travelportal@ncdc.gov.ng with Subject: CORRECTION OF TRAVEL INFORMATION.

How do I correct the information already provided?

As a temporary measure, any passenger that is unable to complete the payment online will be allowed board the flight if they have a valid COVID-19 negative PCR result. The passenger will be required to pay for the repeat COVID-19 PCR test on arrival in Nigeria. Please note that passengers without a QR code may face longer delays on arrival in Nigeria before exiting the airport.

My airline insists on a QR code before boarding, but I haven’t received one since making payment.

What should I do? What should I do if I am debited for a failed payment or if I am debited more than once for a payment?

Please follow the following steps:

Complain to your Bank providing transaction details (transaction date, the amount, and transaction reference).

You may be required to provide the first 6 digits and last 4 digits on your debit card (masked pan).

For cards issued by Nigerian Banks, the dispute will be resolved 3 working days from the date the complaint is lodged with your Bank.

For international cards, disputes will be resolved within 45 days from the date the complaint is lodged with your Bank.


  1. God help us. Some new multimillion Aires are in the process of being created in Nigeria at the expense of the already traumatised public. Business is being created for some laboratories around Nigeria. Fees of N50,000.00 for one covid-19 test is no chicken feed particularly when multiplied by the number of arrivals per day, per week and per month. The Private laboratories are are already swamped by work before covid-19 as government laboratories haven’t been able to cope.

    However I still find it difficult to understand why the validly acceptable and accepted pre-departure covid-1- Free test result cannot suffice if its required of everyone before boarding a flight to Nigeria. It is assumed that All passengers on that flight are covid-19 – free before boarding. Unless they’re spending 14 days in flight, which is very unlikely, they should not under normal circumstances be required to take another or a follow-up test as they call it since they’re going directly into self isolation unless of course, NDDC believes that ALL passengers, Nigerians and non-Nigerians can’t be trusted to self isolate for the required period… My 2 kobos..


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