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. It definitely promises a number 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. So also Hollywood, Atlanta, Miami 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 so also 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 can be long but a favorable end result will be worth the wait. US visas are categorized into immigrant and non-immigrant visas. Immigrant visas are for those who want to permanently live in the country whereas non-immigrant visas are for those who want to visit for a duration usually not longer than 6 months.
Visitor’s / Temporary visa.
If you’re traveling on holiday or for medical purposes as well as for business, this is the type of visa you should apply for. It is categorized into B-1 and B-2 visa.
Business (B-1 visa) – enables you travel for business purposes. In like manner, you’re free to consult with business associates, attend a scientific, educational, professional, or business convention or conference, settle an estate so also to negotiate a contract.
Tourism (B-2 visa) – allows you travel on holiday, vacation, visit with friends or relatives so also to receive medical treatment. You can also take part in a short recreational course of study although not for credit toward a degree.
With this in mind, 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 if visa for the purpose of 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. Similarly, 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 traveling to the United States for a temporary/seasonal job. In addition, 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 as well as 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. With this in mind, you may process your application 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) – If your fiancé (e) who is a U.S citizen wants to marry you, he/she can put in an application for you
- Employment-based immigration – This is the kind of visa you apply for when you eventually accept 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 – starts at $160 (NGN64, 000) and varies depending on whether it is a single or multiple entry visa
- Work – $190 (NGN64, 000)
- Permanent resident/immigrant – Starting at $220.00 (NGN88, 000)
- Student – $160 (NGN64, 000)
Pay your application fee in dollars at any GTBank branch; ensure to keep your receipt for records. Alternatively, you can pay online.
General visa application document requirements
Be sure to submit your application with the following documents so as to reduce chances of a refusal.
- 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 (return ticket, evidence of employment and ties in Nigeria)
- Your ability to pay all costs of the trip.
Additional requirements for business visa
- Documents showing evidence of the purpose of your trip – Invitation letter from associate or registration conformation for conference as well as workshops.
- Evidence of your position in your 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
- Latest school results, transcripts and degrees/diplomas. In addition, provide standardized test scores (SAT, TOEFL, etc.)
- Bank statements from the past 6 months to emphasize proof of funds for your duration of study. So also scholarship award letters or other evidence that applies.
- 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 Nigerian 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 you can afford your living expenses in the U.S. 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 will provide further information to the consular officer.
N.B: Through the application process, don’t present or submit false documents/data. Not adhering to this might sooner or later cost you your approval and even a permanent ban on any future visa application.