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Invisible Trade Transactions, FAQs.


Here are some quick answers to your frequent questions around invisible trade transactions –  payments by Nigerian residents to beneficiaries outside Nigeria for services rendered locally or outside the country. If you still need to contact us, please send an email to [email protected] or [email protected] 


0700 822 0000

What are invisible trade transactions?

They are payments by Nigerian residents to beneficiaries outside Nigeria for services rendered locally or outside the country. Payments for books and magazines (single copies) are also processed under the invisible transaction category. Common examples of invisible transactions include:

  1. School fees payment – secondary, undergraduate and post-graduate studies
  2. Membership subscription, exam fees, conference/seminar/course fees
  3. Medical treatment
  4. Technical/software
  5. Servicing of Existing Mortgage to the tune of USD 5000.00
  6. Personal Home Remittances

What documents do I need to submit to access official funds for payment of my daughter’s school fees who is studying in a foreign university

The following are required

  1. Duly completed Form A.
  2. School admission letter
  3. School bill for the current period
  4. Photocopy of First-Degree Certificate (for post graduate programs)
  5. Customer’s request letter/debit authority and bank details of beneficiary

Any limit on the amount that can be assessed for payment listed above? 

There is currently a regulatory cap of $15,000 or equivalent in other currencies per semester per student

A request to pay the tuition fee of my child who is attending a primary school in the UK was declined even though my account was fully funded, and all relevant documents submitted; why?

The official window can only be assessed for payment of fees for undergraduate and postgraduate programs subject to prescribed limits and appropriate documentation.  This does not however preclude customers from making payments for other types of program from their ordinary domiciliary accounts

Can school fees be transferred directly to the student’s account for further credit to the beneficiary institution?

Only the living expenses component may be transferred directly to

student’s account where it is separated on the invoice. The tuition fee component must be transferred directly to the school account.

The school bill for my ward did not separate the living expenses component from the tuition. What can be done?

Full remittance can be made to the school account. Schools usually maintain accounts for students from where they can draw their living expenses

Form A may not be readily available when needed. Can I make photocopies of blank form A and keep for future use?

No. Each form A has a unique application number which may not be reused for other transactions. Until the CBN launches e form A the same way they have done for Form M and Form NXP, customers can continue to approach any of our branches nationwide for their form A needs.

Can payments be made in other currencies apart from USD/GBP/EUR?

Yes. A cross rate will be obtained from Treasury to determine the currency equivalent. Sterling Bank will transfer the equivalent based on Treasury advised rate with an instruction for the paying bank to pay the beneficiary in the desired currency 

My university admission lapsed after payment of initial deposit and the school has initiated a refund / return of funds. How will the bank handle the refund?

 The handling will depend on the source of funds. Funds purchased from the CBN must be repatriated to the CBN for repurchase and customer credited with Naira equivalent upon receipt of the same from the CBN. However, funds from other autonomous market will be repurchased by Treasury and customer credited with the Naira equivalent.

Why does the beneficiary receive less than the amount transferred by the customer?

The shortfalls are generally due to deduction of charges by the Offshore bank(s) Where a customer wants the beneficiary to receive the full amount transferred, they must state their willingness to bear offshore bank charges on the transfer instruction submitted to the bank.

Why do school fees payment get processed faster than other invisible transactions?

There is a special allocation from the CBN to cater for school fees

and medical payment whereas payment for other invisibles depend on how quickly funds can be sourced from other official windows

How do banks decide on the documentation requirements for invisible transactions?

The documentation requirements are spelt out in the CBN Foreign Exchange Manual while Banks are required to seek clarification in case of doubt on documentation requirements for any invisible transaction type not listed in the manual.

Can Importers source funds from several windows to fund a Letter of Credit transaction?

Customers can source funds from several windows including own ordinary domiciliary account and own export domiciliary account to fund eligible trade transaction. However, care must be taken to ensure allocated amount does not exceed transaction value to forestall loss that may arise from repurchase of excess allocation.

I am submitting relevant documentation for the bank to process a form A transaction from my Naira account. What exchange rate will the bank use to convert the Naira to dollar?

Transaction will be processed using the prevailing exchange rate for

the product types.

I received a passionate email from a friend in the U.K. requesting for financial assistance. I really wish to help but don’t know how to go  about this as I only maintain accounts in Naira.

Your request can be treated under invisible transactions provided the amount required does not exceed $500 or equivalent in other currencies to individuals during any calendar year.

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