How to change car ownership in Nigeria (Sample of Form MVA 5 included)


Posted by: Juliet Onyeachonam

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Maybe you intend to purchase a Nigerian used car and you are searching for information on how to change car ownership in Nigeria, you will find it here. You should know that it is against the law in Nigeria not to do this.

When a buyer purchases a Nigerian used car from an original owner, there is need to change car ownership to his or her own name.

The reason for doing that is obviously for property claim in the event of a theft or conflict. Also, once you buy a Nigerian used car, the new owner must change car ownership with the Inspector of Vehicle Offices in Nigeria. Failure to do this is actually an offence and attracts a fine of N5,000.

According to the stipulation of the Federal Road Safety Commission, in order to perform a legal change of car ownership, you will deal with these four offices below:

  1. Vehicle Inspection Office
  2. Vehicle Licensing Office
  3. Vehicle Registration Office
  4. Raters and Taxes Office

Now let's come to detailed guidelines on how to change car ownership in Nigeria, suggested by!

Step 1: Vehicle inspection

Visit any vehicle inspection office nearest to you for a vehicle inspection report. You will need to go with the original owner of the vehicle you want to buy for this inspection.

Ideally, a vehicle inspection officer will carry out series of inspections on the vehicle to determine its road worthiness for Nigerian roads. After that, the VIO issues an inspection report detailing the condition of the car and if indeed it can be transferred to a new owner.

So basically, this step is to get an inspection report from a vehicle inspection office.

>>> Details of what VIO will check on your car: Used vehicle inspection - the ultimate checklist


Example of a vehicle inspection center in Lagos

Step 2: Form MVA 5

This is a form which the seller or should we say former owner of the vehicle you plan to change ownership for must fill notifying the vehicle registration office of the ownership change.

To view or download sample of Form MVA 5, please click here!


The first part of form MVA 5 to change car ownership

Step 3: Transfer forms

The former owner and buyer will need to fill out the transfer forms at the raters and taxes office.


You can self-compose a letter of car transfer agreement or use templates like this

>>> This letter of agreement is like a car bill of sale, refer to: How to write a car bill of sale in simple steps

Step 4: Assemble needed documents

To kick start the process of changing car ownership, the buyer or rather the new owner must present the documents below to a vehicle licensing officer at the vehicle licensing office where the car was first registered.

  1. Plate number allocation form known as blue form (original)
  2. Proof of ownership (original)
  3. Valid means if identification (Voter’s card, National id, Drivers license or International passport)
  4. Passport photographs of the new owner
  5. Letter of transfer
  6. Receipt of purchase from the original owner
  7. Third party insurance for the car
  8. Valid vehicle license
  9. Police report and/or vehicle inspection form

>>> If your documents are no longer valid, please have them renewed. Please check: Detailed guidelines for Vehicle Particulars Renewal in Nigeria

Step 5: Finish the process & pay all the fees

Ideally, all forms required to change car ownership must be signed by both parties at the raters and taxes office in the presence of a rater and taxes officer.

Upon presentation of these needed documents, you would be required to pay a processing fee after which processing of the application begins.

Under normal circumstances, the processing fee is usually N2,500 for motor vehicles and N625 for motorcycles but then, this is Nigeria.

After the car ownership has been changed at the vehicle licensing office, the former owner is to notify the vehicle registration office of the change. He or she would also hand over the registration book for onward recording of the details of the changed ownership after which the registration book is handed over to the new owner.

According to stipulations, the notice of change must be related to the vehicle registration office not later than 30 days after the date of the actual change of ownership by the vehicle licensing office.

>>> You may need to change the number plate: List of FRSC Approved centers for number plate registration across Nigeria


Finish all those steps and the car is legally yours

If per adventure the vehicle in question was imported into the country without an import duty, the notice of change of car ownership must be accompanied by a certificate of import duty payment or an exemption certificate issued to the new owner by the Nigerian Customs Service.

Once all these are satisfied, the vehicle registration office will then update the details of the new owner in its register.

This process could take between 5-10 working days.

Also, note that for a car ownership to be successfully changed, it must have been registered for a period of not less than six months. Check our post on  Vehicle registration in Nigeria – what are the required documents? to get the car registered in the shortest amount of time.

Hope the guideline on how to change car ownership in Nigeria that Naijauto team collected is useful to you. Should you have any question, don't hesitate to contact us via email!

>>> Visit regularly to update useful car buying tips as well as many safe driving techniques for Naija drivers!

Juliet Onyeachonam

Juliet Onyeachonam

Car maintenance

Juliet Onyeachonam is an enthusiastic car nut which is why she has turned that passion into a fantastic job by becoming a car blogger on Juliet's blogs are a wealthy resource for information on car maintenance, driving tips and also how things pertaining to cars work.

Additionally, because of her passion for the entertainment industry, Juliet does not write only hardcore but also entertaining articles about cars.

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