Every Nigerian who uses MTN or any other mobile network in Nigeria has heard of the regulatory requirement to link your NIN to your MTN line.

Around April 2022, the Nigerian government gave all telecoms an order to ensure their users link their NIN to their SIM cards. Anyone whose line was not linked by the given deadline of March 2022 would not be able to make calls with that line.

The linking process is still ongoing for all MTN subscribers, and in this article, we’ll show you how to link your NIN to your MTN line.

What is the Significance of NIN?

NIN, an abbreviation for National Identification Number, is a string of 11 numbers assigned to each Nigerian after they have enrolled into the registration system. It’s a unique identification number similar to the Social Security Number assigned to every US citizen and resident. NINs are issued by the National Identity Management Commission.

Your NIN is unique because it is used to identify you in the National Identity Database. All your records, including demographic data, passport photograph, fingerprints and signature, are tied to your NIN.

No NIN can be used twice. Even if the owner of a NIN is deceased, the number cannot be reassigned to another person.

In 2020, the Nigerian government introduced a requirement for mobile network operators to get their subscribers to link their NIN to their phone numbers. It was a security measure taken to keep track of fraudulent activities and tackle issues of insecurity across the country.

MTN even received a fine of N330 billion in 2015 for failing to disconnect all unregistered SIM cards, according to a news piece published by The Punch

Preparing to Link Your NIN

Before you initiate the linking process, you must have three things

  1. A registered MTN sim card
  2. Your NIN (meaning you must have registered for your NIN).
  3. You VNIN (Virtual NIN).

If your MTN line is unregistered, you will need to visit any of their service centres near you to register it.

For your NIN, you would also have to get to an enrollment centre to get it. However, if you have registered and want to check your NIN through your MTN line, simply dial *346#. Select 1. NIN retrieval and a pop-up will display your NIN. Note that it will cost you N20.

To generate a VNIN, dial *346# and select 3. Virtual NIN. Then enter your NIN, and a pop-up box will display your VNIN. MTN will send you a text with the number, but you can take a screenshot to store it.

You must have a valid and updated NIN to avoid complications with your information and for a uniform record across all databases.

How to Link Your NIN to an MTN Line: A Step-by-Step Guide

You can link your NIN to your MTN line in two ways- through the MTN NIN portal or using a USSD code.

Using the Linking Portal to Link NIN to an MTN line

Step 1: Visit the MTN NIN linking portal

Step 2: Fill in the necessary information, including your VNIN, phone number and email address, and select Next.

MTN portal for linking NIN

Step 3: Verify the information you have entered and click Enter. You will receive an OTP via text message to the number you inputted. Enter the OTP and validate.

Step 4: Wait for confirmation that the linking was successful.


Using USSD Code to Link NIN to an MTN line

Dial *996# and select 1. Submit Virtual NIN. Follow the prompts and complete the linking process.

Note that you can only link 7 phone numbers to one NIN. So if you’re attempting to register a line and it’s repeatedly unsuccessful, one of the reasons could be that you have exceeded the number of lines allowed per NIN.

Troubleshooting and FAQs

The following are issues you may be experiencing and how to handle them.

I do not have a NIN. What should I do?

If you do not have a NIN, you need to visit a NIN enrollment centre closest to you and be enrolled. You can use the self-service or assisted service. You will require your BVN and a means of identification (Old NIN card, driver’s license, Nigerian International Passport, Voter’s card, birth certificate, etc. See the complete list of acceptable documents).

My SIM is not registered, but I have NIN.

If your MTN line is not registered, you cannot link your NIN to it. You would need to visit an MTN service centre closest to you to register and initiate the NIN linking process.

My line is barred, but I want to link my NIN.

If your MTN line is barred and you would like to keep using it, you can also attempt to link your NIN to unblock it. If the attempt is unsuccessful, you can contact MTN Customer Care service or visit a service centre to make a complaint.

Why Should You Comply With the NIN Linking Directive?

Following the order issued by the federal government, failure to link your MTN line to your NIN will result in your line being blocked. This is because the government is using this regulation to tackle the country’s insecurity issue.

The advantage of complying is that you’ll continue to use your MTN line without any unusual hassles. Your records will also be consolidated across databases, making it easy to identify you.

Additional Resources and Support

Here’s a short list of essential websites and support channels for assistance.

  1. MTN’s NIN linking portal
  2. NIMC Contact page
  3. MTN Customer Care – Dial 300 on your phone.

If you need further assistance or clarification, do not hesitate to contact the appropriate authorities or check out the FAQ section of their websites.


MTN is arguably the biggest mobile network in Nigeria. In compliance with the government-issued directive, all subscribers are to register their MTN lines and link their NIN to them. The steps to doing so are quite simple and have been elaborated above. You can use the MTN linking portal or use the USSD route.

Any phone number that is not linked will be barred, both old and new. So, do well to register and link your MTN lines and other numbers you may have to your NIN.