Everything you need to know about NIN in Nigeria

April 29, 2024
9 min read

On May 25, 2007, the National Assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria enacted the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) Act, 2007 (ACT No. 23 of 2007). In line with the Act, the NIMC was created in 2010 to establish, own, operate, maintain, and manage the following: 

  • Manage the National Identity Database in Nigeria
  • Register eligible people as covered by the Act
  • Assign a unique National Identification Number (NIN) to registered individuals 
  • Issue General Multi-Purpose Cards (GMPC) to Nigerians and legal residents 

As a result, the Department of National Civic Registration (DNCR) — the agency formerly in charge of the country's identity sector —  was effectively decommissioned, transferring all its assets and liabilities to the NIMC.

Here’s everything you need to know about NIMC’S NIN:

What is an NIN?

An NIN is a set of 11 numbers randomly chosen by NIMC’s system and assigned to eligible individuals upon completion of enrolment into Nigeria’s National Identity Database (NIDB).


Typically, enrolment involves filling in your demographic information, appending a digital signature, and compulsory captures of all fingerprints and a head-to-shoulder facial picture. 

These data are uploaded to the NIDB, after which you’ll receive a slip that contains your unique NIN, and eventually, a national ID card. 

Why an NIN?

According to the NIMC, the NIN is part of the Nigerian government's efforts to:

  • Streamline the national identity database
  • Discourage double identity
  • Prevent identity fraud 
  • Serve as a lifetime identifier for the holders to establish or verify identity

What can your NIN be used for in Nigeria? 

You can use your NIN in Nigeria for anything that requires identity verification, including: 

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  • Processing your international passport application and acquisition 
  • Linking your SIM card 
  • Opening personal bank accounts 
  • Obtaining your driver’s license 
  • Getting your Permanent Voters’ Card
  • Participating in the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS)
  • Linking a prepaid metre (Only Lagos for now) 
  • Paying taxes and other relevant services from the Nigerian Government 

Who is eligible for an NIN?

The NIN is meant for every Nigerian citizen and legal resident. It’s mandatory and it can be done anytime from birth. 

Note: While minors (0 -15 years) can get their NIN slip, they aren’t issued National ID cards until they turn 16. 

How much does NIN enrolment cost? 

Registering for and obtaining your NIN in Nigeria is TOTALLY free.

How can eligible individuals register for NIN?

You can enrol for your NIN in two ways: assisted service or self-service. The process is essentially the same for either method. 

Method 1: Assisted service — go straight to approved registration centres

Step 1: Visit any accredited Enrolment Centre (ERC) with a valid ID. 

Step 2: The customer service officer or desk officer verifies you and issues you an NIN enrolment form to fill in.

Step 3: An enrolment officer transfers your information from the form into the NIMC system.

Note: You’ll be required to confirm the correctness and completeness of all information.

Step 4: The system will capture and upload your biometrics (head-to-shoulder facial photograph and fingerprints) and you’ll be required to append your signature digitally.

Step 5: Submit supporting documents (valid means of identification) for documentation, which will be scanned and returned to you.

Supporting documents include: 

  • Birth certificate
  • Declaration of age
  • School ID Card
  • NHIS ID card
  • Nigerian passport
  • Attestation letter from a prominent ruler in the community
  • Attestation letter from a religious or traditional leader
  • Nigerian Commission for Refugees (NCFR) Refugee Certificate
  • Refugee ID card
  • Refugee Factsheet

Step 6: You’ll be given a “Transaction Slip” and told when to come collect your NIN slip.

Method 2: Self-service — online pre-enrolment

Visit this NIMC page to fill your NIN enrolment form online. This is an initial step in the enrolment process. 

To complete enrolment, print out the summary sheet bearing a 2D barcode and take it to the nearest ERC to capture your biometrics and submit a digital signature (See Steps 4 to 6 of method 1). 

Note: You can also print the empty enrolment form, fill it in in block letters, and go to the nearest ERC. 

Chart: Nigeria: Total number of NIN enrolments from 2012 to May 2021
Find more insights at Intelpoint.

How to enrol minors (0-15 years) for NIN

Minors will be made to follow the same enrolment steps as stated above but with a parent or guardian present.

Other requirements include:

  • The parent's or guardian’s NIN Slip must be submitted 
  • Provide supporting documents and proof as the guardian to the minor (if the guardian’s NIN is submitted)
  • Minor's birth certificate and statutory age declaration

How can people outside Nigeria get their NIN? 

In 2019, the NIMC began the diaspora enrolment campaign to document Nigerians living abroad in the National Identity Database and issue them their NIN.

Nigerians outside the country can enrol their NIN with these licensed NIMC partners

Is NIN enrolment also free for Nigerians abroad? 

No. Because these licensed NIMC partners bear the costs for all infrastructure and operations of the enrolment exercise, they charge some fees for their services. 

In what countries are there licensed partners?

The NIMC has published a curated list of all the countries where Nigerians outside the country can enrol for their NIN. 

How can foreigners with work permits and a SIM enrol for NIN?

Like citizens, foreign nationals who have obtained legal residency in Nigeria can enrol for NIN at any NIMC enrolment centre following the normal steps. 

How long does it take to get the NIN slip? 

According to the NIMC, it takes anywhere between 1 and 5 working days after enrolment completion for your NIN slip to be ready for collection. However, this can change depending on several factors, including network connection. 

Should NIN be displayed? 

No. You should hide and protect it like you would your ATM debit card number or PIN. 

What happens to a person's NIN after they die?

Once the NIMC receives a death certificate and confirms that someone has died, their NIN is removed from the database and retired forever. It can't be re-issued to another person. 

How many times can one person register for NIN?

Once in your lifetime. After your NIN is assigned to you and the Automated Biometric Information System (ABIS) stores all your data, you’re not to enrol again. 

Any attempt to re-enrol will be detected and considered identity fraud, which is a prosecutable offence. 

Where are NIN enrolment centres (ERCs) located in Nigeria? 

There are ERCs in all the capitals of the 36 states, including the FCT. Accredited centres also exist in various locations in Abuja and across all 774 Local Government Areas (LGAs) offices countrywide. 

Check here to find an enrolment centre. 

Is there a deadline for NIN enrolment?

No. NIN enrolment is an ongoing exercise that can be done at any time. 

The Commission, however, advises all eligible individuals to complete the process as soon as possible. 

How can you retrieve your NIN?

Do either of the following:

  • Visit the nearest ERC and provide an official with your phone number, date of birth (DOB), or fingerprints.
  • Dial the USSD code *346# with the phone number you submitted during enrolment or any phone number. It costs ₦20 and is available on all mobile networks.

What to do when you lose your NIN slip?

If your NIN is lost or gets stolen, you'll required by regulation to provide the following: 

  • Recent police report 
  • Sworn court affidavit for loss of documents 
  • Evidence of fee payment of ₦500
  • Photo ID

The ₦500, which must be paid through REMITA, can be done as follows: 

Step 1: Visit www.remita.net to begin the payment process.

Step 2: Click the “Bills & Purchases” button and select the “Pay Billers” option. 

Step 3: Fill in the appropriate fields:

For the “Who do You want to Pay,” select the National Identity Management Commission

For “Name of Service/Purpose,” select NIN Slip Re-issue

“Amount to Pay” will automatically be set to ₦500

For “Payer’s Name,” fill in your full name 

For “Payer’s Phone,” fill in your mobile phone number

Tick the “I am not a robot” reCAPTCHA checkbox, select the right images, and click the “Verify” button.

Step 4: Select the “Submit” button and go to the payment page.

A new page (your invoice) will pop up, bearing your Remita Retrieval Reference (RRR). Print the invoice and note the RRR.

Step 5: Select a payment method and click “Pay,” “Print Invoice,” or “Continue” to complete payment. 

Present your Remita teller alongside other required documents to any NIMC ERC to request a NIN slip reprint.

What other instance can warrant an NIN reprint? 

In the case of damage, you'll be required to submit: 

  • Proof of the damaged NIN slip 
  • Evidence of fee payment of ₦500 

In the case of information change or modification, you’d need to submit: 

  • Transaction slip issued after modification was completed 
  • Evidence of fee payment of ₦500 per data field modified (₦15,000 for DOB) 

What NIN details can be modified or corrected?

Not all data fields are updatable. 

The data fields you can modify include: 

  • Names 
  • Date of Birth (DOB) (this can only be changed once in your lifetime) 
  • Addresses 
  • Phone number 
  • Place of Birth – State, LGA, and Country (if different from Nigeria) 
  • Place of Origin – State, Town, Village, LGA
  • Father’s NIN, Town, Village of Origin, State of Origin, LGA of Origin 
  • Mother’s NIN, Town, Village of Origin, State of Origin, LGA of Origin

Each field will cost you ₦500; ₦15,000 for DOB

How long will the modification take?

Typically, it takes between two and five working days. However, it can take more as the process is subject to network speed.

What are the mandatory requirements before your data can be modified?

  • You must be present physically 
  • Submit the original copy of your initial NIN slip 
  • Remita Retrieval Reference (RRR) Number (if payment was made at the bank) or a payment printout (if the payment was made online) 
  • Attach a signed application letter 
  • Submit necessary supporting documents

Will NIN change with slip reprint?

No, it won't change. 

How can you check NIN?

You can check retrieve your NIN via the following ways: 

  • USSD code
  • NIMC website 
  • Visit nearest ERC
  • Use NIMC app

What is the new NIMC multipurpose ID card? 

The NIMC recently launched a multipurpose National ID card that Nigerians can use not just for  identity verification, but also for making payments and accessing government intervention and services across multiple Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDA). 

The NIMC hasn’t disclosed the exact date the new card will be available to Nigerians. However, here's how to apply for it:

Step 1: Go to the nearest bank or bank-approved centre and request the payment card layered on identity.

Step 2: Submit your NIN for identity verification and proof that you’re at least 18 years old. 

Step 3: The bank, in turn, submits your NIN to the NIMC, where it’ll receive relevant verified identity data in the specified format.

Step 4: The bank takes the verified identity data to generate the standard Europay, Mastercard and Visa (EMV) data for the multipurpose card, after which it’s personalised and printed. 

Step 5: The bank issues the finished card to you.

Does the new NIMC multipurpose ID expire? 

The identity feature of the card will have an issue date printed on the back, but no expiry date.

However, the payment feature of the card will have a standard expiry date, which will be printed on the front. 

What to do once the payment feature expires

Option 1: Visit the bank to request a new payment card layered on the multipurpose card. 

Option 2: Request a new, separate payment card from the bank. 

Will the NIN be displayed on the multipurpose card? 

No, your NIN won't be visible on the card, but it can be retrieved by scanning the QR code on the card. 

What is SIM-NIN linkage? 

It's the government-sanctioned process of attaching your NIN to your mobile phone number to verify you as the owner of the SIM card. It's an ongoing partnership between the NIMC and the Nigerian Communications Commission. 

Note: New network subscribers are required by their respective telecom service providers to submit their NIN at the point of SIM registration. 

Can linkage work if SIM Registration NIN enrolment information doesn't match? 

No. Your NIN won't be linked to your SIM Card if the details you submitted to your service provider during your SIM Registration don’t match the ones in your NIN. 

Why link NIN to SIM card?

The Nigerian government will use the SIM-NIN linkage to achieve the following: 

  • Validate SIM card registration records and make them a viable digital identity 
  • Prevent identity fraud and other online crimes
  • Enhance national security
  • Accelerate and prove the reach of economic planning and development
  • Establish customer identity for Know Your Customers (KYC) initiatives

How can NIN be linked to SIM?

Follow the steps in this detailed video.  

Can NIN be delinked from SIM? 

Yes, it can. Dial *996# and follow the prompt. 

How to check if a SIM has been linked to NIN?

Also, dial *996# and follow the prompt; it’s free. 

How many SIMs can you link to your NIN? 

According to the NCC, you can only register four SIM cards per network provider. However, you can link ALL your SIM cards. 

You can link up to seven mobile phone numbers to one NIN, excluding SIMs that you use in your IOT or Internet of Things devices.

What happens if an NIN isn't linked to SIM

Your line will be blocked by your network provider(s). 

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