How to Buy and Sell Dollars in Nigeria: A Complete Guide

December 20, 2022
Mins Read
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How to Buy and Sell Dollars in Nigeria: A Complete Guide


Interested in learning how to buy and sell dollars in Nigeria? This post covers all you need to know about trading in dollars, including apps like Pillow Fund, the eligibility requirements, and how to overcome the risks involved in such transactions.


Since the Naira is highly devalued, there is a rise in demand for dollars. This is particularly the case for businessmen, working professionals, and students.

Buying and selling dollars in Nigeria is not easy since many regulations are involved. It's also a risky business since the occurrence of fraud is common. If you're curious about how to buy and sell dollars in Nigeria, read this detailed guide.

How Do Banks Sell Dollars in Nigeria?

If you're thinking of buying dollars in Nigeria, banks are one of your options. However, there are some challenges here since the Naira has dropped. The price of Dollar to Naira is almost 445 Nairas to the Dollar, and banks are making it difficult for those applying for dollars.

To make things easier for you, here is a step-by-step guide for buying dollars:

Ways to Get Dollars From Banks in Nigeria

Commercial banks in Nigeria need to follow the rules laid down by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). Dollars are not issued to everyone, and only certain categories of customers are eligible for dollars.

You can get dollars only if you fall into any of the following three categories:

  • Personal Travel Allowance (PTA)
  • Medical Bills Payment
  • Business Travel Allowance (BTA)
  • Foreign School Fees Payment

There is a ceiling for the amount you can get under the PTA and BTA categories. While the limit for PTA is $4000 per quarter, the limit for BTA is $5000 per quarter. The medical bill limit will be decided based on your illness, and the foreign school fees payment will depend on the institution you have applied to.

Eligibility Criteria for Applying for Dollars in Nigeria

Now that you know the different categories under which you can apply for dollars, you need to find out if you are eligible. Check the eligibility criteria mentioned below:

  • Personal Travel Allowance
  • Applicants need to be 18 years of age and over
  • Applicants should either be account holders or non-account holders in a bank
  • A valid Nigerian passport is mandatory
  • Visa from the destination country is required
  • A return air ticket is compulsory
  • The flight time should be 5 hours or longer
  • The flight needs to take off from Nigeria
  • You need to travel within 14 days of buying the PTA
  • A bank verification number or BVN is compulsory
  • The upper limit for a PTA is $4000 per quarter
  • Business Travel Allowance:
  • Applicants must be 18 years and over
  • Applicants need to be account or non-account holders in a bank
  • A valid Nigerian passport is mandatory
  • Visa from the destination country is required
  • A return air ticket is compulsory
  • The flight time should be 5 hours or longer
  • The flight needs to take off from Nigeria
  • You need to travel within 14 days of buying the BTA
  • A bank verification number or BVN is compulsory
  • The upper limit for a BTA is $5000 per quarter
  • A certificate of Incorporation is required
  • An invitation letter from a foreign company is required
  • A letter of nomination from a Nigerian company is mandatory
  • Foreign School Fees Payment (upper limit $15,000)
  • A valid Nigerian passport is mandatory
  • A destination country visa is required
  • A return air ticket is required
  • A bank verification number (BVN) should be provided
  • Completed Form A should be submitted
  • A valid ID proof like the National Identity Card is required
  • An international passport data page is needed
  • An admission letter from the institution is mandatory
  • A first-degree certificate is compulsory for post-graduate courses
  • Bank details of the foreign institution are required
  • Details of a bank account that has sufficient Naira to fund the course are required
  • Written instructions authorizing the institution to debit the required fund must be given
  • If a guardian is making the payment, an indemnity letter is needed
  • Medical Bills Payment
  • A valid Nigerian Passport is mandatory
  • A visa from the destination country is required
  • The return ticket is compulsory
  • A bank verification number (BVN) should be provided
  • Completed Form A needs to be submitted
  • Valid ID proof like a National Identity Card is necessary
  • The international passport data page has to be submitted
  • Proof of written instructions to the bank for debiting the required funds is required
  • A letter of recommendation from the specialist for treatment abroad is necessary


Application Process for PTA/BTA from a Nigerian Bank

Follow these steps for getting a PTA or BTA:

  • Ensure that you have sufficient Nigerian Niara to cover the dollar amount
  • Click on 'Start Application' at the Trade Monitoring Systems Portal (TRMS) of CBN
  • Choose any option, either PTA or BTA
  • You need the bank verification number or BVN for PTA and the Tax Identification Number of your company for the BTA
  • You'll get an OTP at your registered email address
  • Verify your email id by clicking on the mail sent there
  • Log in using your login id and password
  • Upload your return flight ticket, visa page, and international passport data page, along with the filled-up form
  • The certificate of Incorporation and letter of nomination of the company is also required for the BTA
  • Enter your bank detail that has the required funds in Naira
  • Enter details of the bank along with the branch from which the dollars will be collected
  • Submit the form
  • Visit the chosen bank to collect your dollars

Application Process for Foreign School Fees Payment

Follow these steps when applying for foreign school fees payment:

  • Ensure your account has the required Naira
  • Choose the 'start application' option after logging on to the TRMS portal.
  • Under the educational fees option, select 'school fees'
  • Enter the relevant student details followed by details of the educational institution
  • Upload the following documents:
  • First-degree certificate
  • School invoice
  • Admission letter
  • International passport data page
  • Mention the sponsor details if payment is made through a sponsor
  • Enter the exact school fee
  • Provide details of the bank account with the Naira funds
  • Choose the preferred bank and branch
  • Confirm by clicking 'submit'. The maximum amount you can get is $15,000 per semester

Application Process for Medical Bills Payment

To apply for medical bills payment, you need to follow this process:

  • Set aside the required funds in Naira
  • Choose 'start application' after logging on to the TRMS portal
  • Select 'medical allowance'
  • Fill out the form that is displayed
  • The following documents need to be uploaded:
  • International passport data page
  • Return flight ticket
  • Letter of recommendation from the specialist
  • If payment is by a sponsor, then the sponsor's permission to debit is needed
  • Provide the Naira-denominated bank account details
  • Choose the bank and branch
  • Complete the process using the 'submit' button
  • Collect your dollars from the bank

Why Do Nigerians Buy and Sell Dollars?

Western countries like the US offer far better opportunities when it comes to education or medical treatment. You might also want to visit these countries for a holiday since they have a lot of exotic locations to explore.

You could also do business with companies from countries like the US. However, to be able to do all these things, there is one thing you need in common: US dollars.

It is for these reasons that you have 'dollar men' in Nigeria. They are dollar traders who buy and sell the currency. As a dollar man, you would have to travel to a foreign country, get dollars, and sell them in Nigeria for a higher rate.

How to Sell the Dollar in Nigeria?

With the frequent changes in the dollar rate in Nigeria, you can start a profitable business of selling dollars.

Here are some reasons why selling the dollar in Nigeria is lucrative:

  • There is a huge market for dollar buyers ranging from businessmen to students planning foreign education.
  • Being an import-dependent country, Nigeria offers lucrative opportunities in the purchase and sale of dollars.

To start a business in dollar trading, however, you need to register as a Bureau de Change or BDC operator. By acquiring this registration, you can provide the following services:

  • Personal Travel Allowance
  • Business Travel Allowance
  • Payment of Medical Bills
  • Payment of Foreign School Fees

A BDC operator can earn revenues of several million Naira in a short period of time. Transparency, accountability, and liquidity are important.

You need to pay a non-refundable fee and have a minimum capital to qualify as a BDC operator. Other requirements include a feasibility study. The two stages you need to get through to become a BDC operator are the Approval-in-Principle and Final License.

You could also sell dollars in the following ways:

  • Conversion at a Bank: You may have some dollars left after returning from a foreign trip. This can be encashed at a commercial bank, but you will get a lower rate than the market price.
  • Conversion at a Foreign Exchange Bureau: There are foreign exchange bureaus where you can exchange your currency. However, you get even less than what commercial banks offer. The reason for this is high commissions, transport, and paperwork.


What Are the Risks Involved in Dollar Buying and Selling in Nigeria?

The price of Dollar to Naira attracts a lot of fraudulent practices. It's important that you are aware of these risks; the main ones that you should know about are as follows:

Price Fluctuations

The Dollar rate in Nigeria keeps fluctuating and can go up or down by as much as 10%! If you want to sell dollars, it's difficult to predict the dollar's value the next day.

Many factors affect the price of international currencies, and you need to be aware of these factors when buying or selling dollars. Understanding these factors could help you get a high return on investment since you could buy when prices are falling and sell when they are rising.


When you are unfamiliar with the trade, an experienced person with the wrong intentions can try to cheat you. You might end up with fake dollars.

The best way to protect yourself against this risk is to find a foreign exchange expert to guide you when trying to buy dollars.

Exchange Rate Risks

The reason for this risk is that exchange rates differ from exchange to exchange due to the dollar-to-Nigeria currency conversion.

You don't know how much you need to pay or can expect to get when buying or selling dollars respectively because different agencies' exchange rates are different. So do your research before you trade in dollars.

Mitigating Risks of Dollar Buying and Selling in Nigeria

Just like any business or profession you choose, buying and selling dollars in Nigeria is risky due to the Dollar-to-Naira conversion rate.

A lot of people try to sell fake or counterfeit dollars. You could also be arrested for trying to leave the country illegally if you are caught with dollars in your possession. But there's always a way out! You can get your dollars and use them in the following ways:

Get Authentic Dollars

Here are some ways to check if your dollar is real or not:

  • If you find that the security strip on the dollar bill is rough, the currency is fake.
  • The watermark on a genuine bill will be clearly seen.

Leaving the Country

If you are caught while leaving the country with more than $10,000, you could get arrested for illegal currency trade.

To protect yourself, don't exceed $10,000 when you get foreign exchange. At the lower range, don't take less than $1,000. In both cases, you are following the law, and this minimizes your chances of getting arrested for owning dollars.


Buying and selling dollars in Nigeria is a very profitable business opportunity. If you can understand international currency movements, you can earn a high return on investment. But just like in any other business where there is lots of money to be made, there are quite a few risks that you need to be aware of.

You can buy and store your currency through the Pillow Fund app, which has insurance of $250 million to ensure your investments are protected. A dedicated research team manages the investments, and the returns are generated by selecting the safest protocol among more than 500+ protocols.

Pillow Fund follows an investment strategy that generates around 10.42% annually. Any changes in the return rate are communicated to you in advance.

Here is the return chart on USDC (US Dollar digital coin):

Portfolio Size

APY (Annual Performance Yield)



> $500 and <=$100,000




For example, if you have invested $1000, you would get 10.42% on $500 and 8.42% on the next $500 or 52.1 + 42.1 = 94.2 dollars.

Register on the Pillow Fund app with just 50 Naira and get the best return on investment on your dollars!


What app can I use to buy Dollars in Nigeria?

With the devaluation of the Naira, it's a wise decision for the citizens of Nigeria to buy and save in dollars. Some of the apps in Nigeria that you can use to save and invest in dollars include Pillow Fund. The app ensures the safety of your investment. You can buy dollars and store them in your electronic wallet.

How Much Can I Sell Dollars Today in Nigeria?

The dollar rate in Nigeria is 444.97, but if you want to sell dollars, you will have to sell either through commercial banks or foreign exchange agencies.

While commercial banks will offer you a slightly lower rate than the currency's market value, foreign exchange agencies will additionally charge you commissions and transport charges, and a lot of paperwork is also involved.

How Can I buy Dollars From a Bank in Nigeria?

Getting dollars from a bank is quite challenging since, given the devaluation of the Naira, the Dollar to Naira rate has gone up substantially. However, if you are eligible for the following categories, you may buy dollars from a bank:

  • PTA (Personal Travel Allowance): If you need to travel abroad and you have the required documents, you are eligible for PTA. You need the Naira equivalent in your account, and there is a ceiling on the amount sanctioned.
  • BTA (Business Travel Allowance): You may also buy Naira if you are going to a foreign country to do business. Like PTA, BTA also has a ceiling.
  • Foreign School Fees: Admission to a foreign institution also qualifies you for the purchase of dollars.
  • Medical Bill Payment: Dollar purchases are also authorized for payment of medical bills if your specialist approves it.

Where can I Sell Dollars in Nigeria?

There are two places where you can sell dollars in Nigeria:

  1. Commercial Banks: You can sell dollars to commercial banks. However, don't expect to get the market rate but a slightly lower value.
  2. Foreign Exchange Bureaus: You can also sell your dollars at foreign exchange bureaus, but a lot of charges, including commissions, are deducted.

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