In line with its mandate to ensure an informed telecommunications ecosystem for all stakeholders in the industry, the Nigerian Communications Commission hereby addresses Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about the ongoing NIN and SIM Integration exercise.

Please see below for the list of questions and their answers.


  1. What is NIN?

    • NIN which stands for National Identity Number is the 11-digit number that uniquely identifies you either as a citizen of Nigeria, or as a foreigner legally resident in Nigeria. The NIN is issued upon enrolment by the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC). NIMC is the government agency responsible for identity management in Nigeria.
  2. What is the purpose of the NIN?

    • The NIN is a digital identity unique to the holder. It is used to match the individual with his or her biometrics (fingerprint and facial) data and other details in the National Identity Database. It is the most authentic way by which a citizen’s identity can be verified and/or authentic
  3. How do I obtain my NIN?

    • To get your NIN, you will need to register in any NIMC enrolment centre close to you. Please visit NIMC website for a list of all enrolment centres.
  4. Is it possible to register NIN online without visiting the registration centre?

    • NIMC has made arrangements for you to commence the enrolment process by first filling the enrolment form online. However, to complete the NIN registration process, you must visit an approved registration centre. This is because in addition to the capture of demographic information (e.g. your names, address, etc.), registration requires the physical capture of biometric data (your face and fingerprint). You therefore have to visit accredited enrolment centres for the capture of your full biometric data.
  5. Can I obtain or update NIN for my Spouse, Relative, Friend or Boss?

    • No, you cannot. Everyone is to enrol for his or her NIN individually. It is a personal identity number which bears the biometrics of an individual, so no one can do the enrolment for another.
  6. What should people who have not obtained their NIN do? How long can the process of obtaining a NIN take?

    • Individuals who do not have a NIN are to proceed to the nearest accredited NIN enrolment centres to enrol/register for NIN. NIMC has assured that it will generate the NIN within one to five working days after data capture is completed and all details verified – see more details of the process on the NIMC website at .
  7. If I have enrolled before, how do I confirm my NIN?

    • You can confirm your NIN in two easy steps:
      1. Check the slip issued to you by NIMC when you enrolled. Your NIN is the 11-digit number on the top left-hand corner of the slip; or
      2. Dial *346# on your phone and press 1 to retrieve your NIN. Please note that you can only retrieve your NIN on the same phone number you registered with NIMC.
  8. Can the NIN only be obtained at NIMC’s Offices?

    • Other government institutions, state governments and private companies have been approved by NIMC as Enrolment Centres to enrol citizens for the NIN. Mobile operators have also been licensed and will soon be carrying out the enrolment of their subscribers and other eligible citizens.
  9. Are banks among the accredited establishments for issuance of NIN?

    • YES. Some banks have been licensed to carry out NIN enrolment; however, please note that only NIMC issues NIN although through accredited enrolment partners.
  10. Is NIN automatically allocated to all BVN holders or must I register for and obtain NIN separately even though I already have a BVN?

    • BVN is being harmonized with NIMC, therefore some BVN holders have been automatically allocated NIN. BVN holders are advised to dial *346# with the mobile number linked to their BVN to confirm if they have been allocated a NIN. However, NINs generated via BVN must be verified and validated by NIMC.
  11. Is the list of accredited registration agents circulating online genuine?

    • The Nigerian government recently licensed 173 Private Sector Agents and thirty (30) State Governments/Public Sector Institutions to conduct enrolment of all persons, including legal residents into the National Identity Database (NIDB) on behalf of NIMC. The authentic list is published on the NIMC website at;  
      Any list that does not emanate from NIMC is to be disregarded.
  12. Which is the right organization to issue NIN?

    • NIMC is the Identity Regulator of Nigeria and has sole authority and responsibility to issue NIN. However, NIMC has accredited other entities (such as those mentioned in Q11 above) as enrolment agents to facilitate the issuance of NIN to all eligible citizens in quick time.
  13. How possible is it to carry out the NIN registration without breaching COVID-19 Protocols?

    • Appropriate measures are being put in place by NIMC in accredited enrolment centres, to ensure that COVID-19 protocols are strictly complied with to avoid further spread of the virus.
    • One of such measures is the licensing of over 200 entities to carry out the enrolment of citizens so that NIMC offices are not besieged by too many people.
    • In all circumstances, persons are strongly advised to take personal responsibility by strictly observing the COVID-19 Protocols (wearing face mask, keeping appropriate social distance, hand sanitizing etc).

SECTION B: Linking Your NIN With Your Mobile Number

  1. Why am I being asked to submit my NIN to my Network provider?

    • By submitting your NIN to your mobile network provider your mobile number will be linked to your NIN, thereby providing a means of verifying your identity and safeguarding both your identity and mobile line.
  2. What is the step by step approach for linking a SIM to NIN?

    • Confirm your NIN (by either checking your NIN enrolment slip issued by NIMC or dialling *346# as explained in Q.10 above.
    • Submit your NIN to your network provider(s) via the online, USSD or other channels provided.
    • Your Mobile Network provider will then validate the submitted NIN on NIMC database and link the SIM to NIN if validation is successful.
  3. Is there a way people can find out their NIN without a slip, especially if the slip is lost or damaged?

    • YES. Individuals who have done their NIN registration but have lost their slip, or are without a slip, can retrieve their NIN from NIMC by dialling USSD code *346# with the phone number that was provided to NIMC during their national identity registration.
  4. Does *346# work on all networks?

    • YES, the USSD code works for all networks. However, if you have registered for a NIN and you keep getting an error message, please dial your service provider’s help line. If you are yet to register for NIN please visit any NIMC Enrolment Centres (ERC) close to you to enrol or visit for the list of all enrolment centres nationwide.
  5. Is there an alternate USSD code for submitting NIN or linking SIM to NIN other than *346#?

    • Yes, you can use *996# and follow the steps to link NIN; or use *996*NIN# to submit NIN for linkage with SIM. The 996 code works across all networks.
  6. Can the NIN be linked to SIM without the physical presence of the subscriber?

    • YES. Subscribers can link their NIN to their SIM through the online and USSD channels provided by their Network Provider(s). The process for doing this is explained in Q10 and Q.19.
  7. If I have more than one phone number, is one NIN appropriate and how do I link them?

    • An individual’s NIN is his/her unique identity number. Persons with multiple lines are required to update their SIM records by submitting their NIN to their different Network Providers.
    • The different Networks have provided simple solutions, which include short codes to help you link your NIN to your different SIMS.
      1. For MTN, dial *785# using the phone number you wish to link, enter your NIN and submit or dial *785*Your NIN# from the phone number you wish to link.
      2. For Airtel, dial *121*1# on the Airtel line you wish to link, type 1 for NIN Capture and press send, enter your NIN and wait for the message confirming submission.
      3. For Globacom, simply send “UPDATENIN NIN FirstName and LastName” to 109. For example, send “UPDATENIN 12345678912 Tony Umoh” to 109
      4. For 9Mobile, simply visit the online self-service NIN update portal at 
  8. What happens after I provide my NIN to the mobile network provider?

    • The Network provider will work with the NCC and NIMC to verify the NIN you submitted. You will be notified in due course whether your SIM has been successfully linked to your NIN or whether you need to provide any further details.
  9. If I don’t have a NIN or fail to submit to my Network Provider, will my line be blocked after the deadline?

    • The Ministerial Task Force on the NIN and SIM registration has extended the deadline for subscribers who have NIN to three (3) weeks from December 30, 2020 to January 19, 2021.
    • For subscribers without NIN, the enrolment deadline has been extended by six (6) weeks from December 30, 2020 to February 9, 2021.
    • Subscribers are strongly advised to use this period to ensure they enrol for their NIN and link same with their SIM as SIMs not linked may be blocked from the network after the deadline.
  10. How authentic are the links circulating online for SIM update? E.g. is the code *346# genuine for retrieval of NIN and others?

    • YES. The *346# USSD code provided by NIMC is genuine for retrieval of NIN. Please note that only links and channels communicated by Mobile Network Providers, NIMC or NCC are authentic.
  11. Why is the exercise (of linking the SIM to NIN) not free of charge for people? – Why the N20.00 charge?

    • The linkage of SIM to NIN is free. NIMC has waived the N20.00 (Twenty Naira) NIN retrieval charge and other verification costs for the duration of the SIM update exercise.
  12. Why did the NCC direct a halt to registration of new SIMs (even welcome back) and what does the NCC want to achieve with it?

    • The directive to halt the registration of new SIMs is to ensure compliance with set quality standards and requirements as well as address national security concerns surrounding the use of SIMs.
    • However, the directive does not apply to SIM replacements (welcome back). Mobile Network Providers may perform SIM replacement for subscribers already registered and active on the network, provided that the subscriber presents a NIN and follows the prescribed procedures.
  13. Is the directive for reasons of security, harmonization of data, or for revenue as people are speculating due to the N20.00 charge by network operators for the use of *346# code?

    • The directive to link SIM to NIN is primarily to address national security concerns surrounding the use of SIMs. It is also for harmonization of data of all Nigerian residents so as to create an authentic national citizens database which government can use to improve serves to the citizenry and address security concerns. There is no revenue objective attached to the exercise, and to prove this, the Government has waived the N20 charge during the period of the registration.
  14. Will my bank account be blocked if my line is not linked to NIN?

    • Only SIM cards/phone lines that are not registered with the National Identity Numbers (NIN) will be blocked at the end of this exercise. Government may however introduce other measures it deems necessary in the best interest of all Nigerians in future.

SECTION C: Nigerians In The Diaspora

  1. How about Nigerians who live abroad? Will they be able to register for NIN and integrate their NIN with their SIMs?

    • YES, NIMC has licensed foreign enrolment partners to register Nigerians in the diaspora and issue them the NIN. Please click for details of diaspora enrolment.
    • Channels for integration of SIM to NIN have also been put in place for Nigerians in the Diaspora. This include using the mobile applications provided by the respective operators and the application recently launched by NIMC. This can be downloaded from the Apple and Google App Stores.

SECTION D: Foreigners Living In Nigeria Or Visiting From Abroad

  1. Are foreigners living in Nigeria and using Nigerian mobile networks also affected by the directive?

    • Yes. All persons in Nigeria who use mobile networks are required to register their SIM cards and link them with the NIN database.
  2. Are foreigners required to obtain a NIN? And does having a NIN confer citizenship on a non-Nigerian?

    • All legally resident foreigners (i.e. non-Nigerians living and working in Nigeria) are to obtain a NIN just like Nigerian citizens. They can do this by submitting valid resident/work permits at NIMC enrolment centres. However, foreigners on tourist or visiting visa are to tender their international passports to acquire a SIM. But where such a visiting foreigner or tourist’s immigration status changes to residency or work permit, he/she will be required to obtain NIN and link the registered SIM.
    • NIN does not confer citizenship on foreigners but only serves to identify a person (citizens and legal residents).

SECTION E: Other Relevant Questions

  1. Whose job is it to update the SIM Registration Records with NIN? Is it the Network Providers, NIMC or NCC?

    • With regards to the directive by NCC (the regulator of the communications sector in Nigeria), on behalf of the Federal Government, Mobile Network Providers (MNOs) are to update SIM registration records with NIN. This will be done in collaboration with NIMC and the MNOs. More so other government institutions, state governments and private companies have been approved as enrolment agents to MNOs subscribers.
  2. We have NIN, SIM, BVN etc. all have biometric information – which is a unique identifier, and all can be linked without disruption, and without most people even knowing that such linking/integration is taking place. If for example, the biometrics match (but the other details don’t), then you call the affected person in for a data cleaning exercise. There is really no rationale for this wholesale reinvention of the wheel – as is the case, presently. So why is NCC not adopting this approach?

    • The process described above is currently underway. The Federal Government recently announced that all agencies which collect biometric data should harmonise them with NIMC so that citizens do not have to provide the same information multiple times. Implementation of this is ongoing. For instance, the BVN is already being harmonized with NIN, the Nigerian Immigration Service now use NIMC data for verifying personal data, and the Federal Road Safety Commission recently announced ongoing harmonisation with the NIMC database.
    • The number of Nigerians enrolled in all of the databases mentioned above is relatively small in comparison to the number of mobile phone subscribers in the country. Also, there is a huge disconnect between the details provided by many Nigerians when registering their SIMs compared to what was provided for other databases. This is why the harmonisation cannot be carried out solely at the “back-end”.
    • Please note that the NCC is doing everything possible to minimise the inconveniences arising from this critical exercise. This is why alternate channels (such as USSD and SMS) are being used for the verification so that people who have registered for the NIN and who provided accurate information to both NIMC and mobile operators can simply link from the comfort of their mobile handsets.
  3. What other things should people know about SIM registration and update with NIN?


Dated this 11th day of March 2021

Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde