America! The greatest land in history, literally. The home of cheese burger, French fries and steak! A country you should visit at least once in your lifetime. The country is filled with lots of buzzing activities for visitors and tourist. You’re sure to have the time of your life visiting New York City (city that never sleeps), Florida, Las Vegas, Hollywood to name a few. Your visit wouldn’t be complete without stopping by at any of these tourist attraction spots – Disney world, The White House, Times Square and the statue of liberty.
If you plan on visiting any of these spots, you will need a U.S visa. Like the popular saying goes, nothing good comes easy, the process of getting your desired visa will be long and complicated but a favorable end result will be worth the wait. If you’re a Nigerian with a valid e-passport, you require a visa, either an immigrant visa or a non-immigrant visa to visit the Unites States.
You can travel to America for reasons like business, for visiting friends and family, for work, study and relocation. There are different types of visas so you should understand which you’re applying for. American visas are generally categorized into immigrant and non immigrant visas. Immigrant visas is for when you want to live permanently in the United States while non-immigrant visas are for people who want to stay in the United Stated for a short period only in order to achieve certain purposes.
The type of visa is for when you want to go and do business in the United States, or you’re travelling on holiday / pleasure, or for medical treatment. It is categorized into B-1 and B-2 visa.
Business (B-1) United States Visa – enables you travel for business purposes, so you’re free to consult with business associates, attend a scientific, educational, professional, or business convention or conference, settle an estate and negotiate a contract.
Tourism and Visit to the US (B-2 Visa) – enables you travel on holiday, vacation, visit with friends or relatives, receive medical treatment; take part in a short recreational course of study, not for credit toward a degree.
It is advisable to apply at least three (3) months in advance of the intended date of travel. So remember, apply early. Visa processing time is typically 3 working days; it may vary due to individual circumstances and other special requirements.
There are several Work Visa types depending on the work you intend to travel to the US for.
The common ones applied to from Nigeria are – the H-1B specialty work visa and the H-2B temporary work visa.
H-1B (specialty occupation)
You will apply for this type f visa if you are going to the United States to perform services in a pre-arranged professional job. To qualify, you must hold a bachelor’s or higher degree (or an equivalent degree) in the specific specialty for which you seek employment. Your employer is required to file a labor condition application with the Department of Labor concerning the terms and conditions of its contract of employment with you.
H-2B (temporary work)
You should apply for an H-2B Visa if you are travelling to the United States for a temporary/seasonal job. Your employer is required to obtain a Department of Labor certification for this. For more information on the other types of work-visas available, you can read more about it here.
First of all, you must have been accepted to an accredited or approved U.S. educational institution. There are two types of student visas- the F-1 visa and the M-1 visa.
If your academic study is at an approved school such as colleges/university, private secondary schools or approved English programs and also if you will be taking a course that runs for 18 hours a week, this is the visa you should apply for.
If you’re enrolling to an academic, vocational study or training at a U.S approved institution, this is the student visa you should apply for.
Permanent Resident/Immigrant Visa
If you’re seeking for a permanent stay in the United States, a U.S citizen, lawful permanent resident, or prospective U.S. employer must have filed a petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services on your behalf. In Nigeria, you can only be issued an immigrant visa at Lagos Consulate Office, not Abuja. You may apply for permanent residency based on
- Family based Immigration – a relative of yours who is a U.S citizen or a lawful permanent resident will petition on your behalf
- Fiancé (e) Visa – If your fiancé (e) who is a U.S citizen wants to marry you, he/she is can bring you along.
- Employment-based immigration – This is for when you’ve accepted a job offer in the United States and you’re seeking for permanent stay. It is of five categories and you can choose to apply based on the category you fall into.
- Visitor’s – Fees starts at $160 (NGN64, 000) and varies depending on whether it is a single or multiple entry visas.
- Work – $190 (NGN64, 000)
- Permanent resident/immigrant – Starting at $220.00 (NGN88, 000)
- Student – $160 (NGN64, 000)
Fees are to be paid in dollars at any GTBank branch. You will be given a receipt, keep it for records. Alternatively, you can pay online
General visa application document requirements
- Your valid e-passport; with validity dates of at least six months beyond your intended period of stay
- A non immigrant visa electronic application (DS-160) Form.
- One colored (1) 2″x2″ (5cmx5cm) passport photograph, find more information here
- Payment receipt of visa application processing fee
- Your intent to depart the U.S. after your trip
- Your ability to pay all costs of the trip.
- Evidence of your employment and/or your family ties may be sufficient to show the purpose of your trip and your intent to return to your home country
Additional requirements for business visa
- Documents to show evidence of the purpose of your trip – Invitation letter from associate or registration conformation for conference, workshops.
- Evidence of your position in the company and remuneration.
Additional requirements for student visa
- An approved Form I-20 from your U.S. school or program
- Documents demonstrating strong financial, social, and family ties to your home country that will compel you to return to your country after your program of study in the U.S. ends
- Bring your latest school results, transcripts and degrees/diplomas WAEC scores, NECO scores, etc. Standardized test scores (SAT, TOEFL, etc.) and diplomas
- Also bring evidence of financial support such as monthly bank statements, fixed deposit slips, scholarship award letters, etc or other evidence
- Financial and any other documents which give credible evidence that you have enough readily-available funds to meet all expenses for the first year of study and that you have access to funds sufficient to cover all expenses while you remain in the United States. Only original copies of bank statements, will be accepted
- If you are financially sponsored by another person, bring proof of your relationship to the sponsor (such as your birth certificate), the sponsor’s most recent original tax forms and the sponsor’s original bank statements and/or fixed deposit certificates
Additional requirements for medical travel
- Medical diagnosis from a local physician, explaining the nature of the ailment and the reason you need treatment in the U.S.
- Letter from a physician or medical facility in the U.S., stating they are willing to treat your specific ailment and detailing the projected length and cost of treatment (including doctors’ fees, hospitalization fees, and all medical-related expenses).
- Proof that your transportation, medical, and living expenses in the U.S. will be paid. This may be in the form of bank or other statements of income/savings or certified copies of income tax returns (either yours or the person or organization paying for your treatment).
Where to submit your application
U.S Consulate General Lagos Office
2 Walter Carrington Crescent, Victoria Island, Lagos
The U.S Embassy Abuja
Plot 1075 Diplomatic Drive Central District Area, Abuja Nigeria
Ensure to present an interview appointment letter confirming that you booked an appointment. You may also bring whatever supporting documents you believe support the information provided to the consular officer.
N.B: Through the application process, don’t present or submit false documents/data. Not adhering to this might cost you your approval and even a permanent ban on any future visa application. If you find this article helpful, register with us for more or visit business.vconnnect.com