How to Buy PTA/BTA From Nigerian Banks
Needless to say, the struggles of Nigerians to access services that deal with foreign currencies are well-documented. From educational to business to recreational travel, Nigerians continue to navigate the Nigerian financial system for their forex needs.
In recognition of these needs, the Central Bank of Nigeria introduced the Personal Travel Allowance and Business Travel Allowance in 2021. This came shortly after the Apex Bank banned the sale of forex to Bureau de Change operators across the nation in order to curb the acute shortage of forex in the Nigerian banking system. In this piece, we take a look at the Personal and Business Travel allowances, what they are, and how you can use them for your forex needs.
What Is PTA/BTA?
As earlier mentioned, PTA/BTA is a foreign currency product that ensures customers who are traveling out of the country on personal or business trips have access to foreign currency at approved CBN rates. To access these allowances, customers are not required to own bank accounts with the bank from where they want to access these allowances.
PTA is the official travel allowance each Nigerian is entitled to on every foreign travel at the CBN rate. This amount is capped at $4000 -– or its equivalent — for every Nigerian traveler to pay for school fees, medical bills, or tourism. BTA, on the other hand, is an allowance that is available to business people and it is capped at $5000 or its equivalent on each trip.
The CBN sets the official exchange rate and the rates can be monitored via Nawafx’s website.
CBN Rules and Requirements for PTA/BTA
Before approaching any bank to get PTA/BTA, there are a few stipulations by the CBN. If you run foul of these requirements, you are unlikely to receive these allowances. These rules are listed below:
- The Personal and Business Travel Allowances are available to only Nigerians.
- The applicant must be older than 18 years.
- The destination country must be more than 5 hours away (by air).
- Your flight must be a return ticket.
- Where the applicant for PTA/BTA did not travel, the obtained forex bought must be returned to the bank within 2 weeks of purchase.
- When the scheduled date for travel is changed, you are required to update that information with the bank that disbursed the allowance.
- The travel date must be within 2 weeks of receiving the allowance.
- The limit for BTA is $5,000 per quarter (3 months).
- The limit for PTA is $4,000 per quarter (3 months).
- Your passport must be stamped after each disbursement.
Step-by-Step Procedure to Apply for PTA/BTA in Nigerian Banks
Now that you are familiar with these allowances and what rules guide their disbursement, here are the steps you should take to get PTA/BTA:
- Fund your bank account with the Naira equivalent of the amount (in dollars) you need.
- Go to the CBN’s Trade Monitoring System Portal.
- Register with your TIN (organization) or BVN (individual). An OTP will be sent to your registered email address to verify the registered email address.
- Login to the portal and fill in the necessary fields.
- Upload your biodata page, visa page, and a flight ticket.
- Choose your preferred bank and branch for retrieval of your funds.
- Submit your information.
- Go to the chosen bank branch with your international passport to collect the dollar equivalent of your deposited Naira.
Once your relevant details are submitted, the bank will start processing your request immediately. Upon approval of your request, you can present your international passport for stamping and collect your cash at the bank.
Requirement for Traveling Students to Apply for PTA in any Bank
Nigerian Students who plan to study abroad and wish to access the $4000 PTA offered by the CBN must provide original copies of the following documents:
- An international passport containing the student visa page in it.
- Return flight ticket.
- Provisional admission letter from the foreign institution.
Requirement for Other Travelers to Access the $4000 PTA
If you are traveling abroad for any other personal reason and wish to access the $4000 PTA offered by the CBN must provide original copies of the following documents:
- Your valid and current international passport.
- A valid visa to the country you are traveling to.
- Confirmation of a return flight ticket originating from Nigeria (Must be a return ticket and the trip must be within two weeks from the application date).
- Cash/credit balance of the Naira equivalent amount being sold in a Nigerian bank account.
Requirements for BTA for Business Travelers
If you are traveling abroad on a business trip and wish to access the $5000 PTA offered by the CBN must provide original copies of the following documents:
- Your valid and current international passport.
- An introduction letter from the company you are attached to stating the purpose of your travel.
- Letter of invitation from overseas business partners where such invitations exist at all.
- Copies of Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) documentation showing registration details of the company you are attached to.
- A valid visa to the country you plan to visit.
- Confirmation of a return flight ticket originating from Nigeria (must be a return ticket and the trip must be within two weeks from the application).
- Credit/cash balance of the Naira equivalent amount being sold.
Extra Considerations To Note
There are Nigerians who seek to circumvent these requirements by presenting fake visas at the bank just to access forex at the official rate and then sell it on the black market for arbitrage profiteering. The CBN has been unequivocal about this offense, reiterating at several fora that defaulters can earn a BVN blacklist and/or a jail term.
Also, there has been some uncertainty surrounding the availability of FX in some banks. This has made some banks resort to devising ‘Sale days’ (days when forex are available for PTA/BTA) and ‘Non-Sale days’ to aggregate all their requests and process them within a devised short window. If you need to know which days and/or branches your preferred bank and branch make forex available for PTA/BTA, you should contact your bank before filling your form on the CBN portal.
The scarcity of forex within the Nigerian banking system has made it considerably difficult for travelers to access forex. However, with the option of PTA/BTA, you can satisfy your forex needs.