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Immigrating to the US from Nigeria


Everything you need to know to begin the immigration process from Nigeria


Nigerians who resettle in the United States bring a level of education that almost doubles that of the American population — six out of ten Nigerians who come have at least a college degree, while for Americans, that number is closer to three out of ten. Nigerian-Americans have contributed to American arts and letters, from policy to poetry. ImeIme Umana, the first woman of color to be president of the Harvard Law Review, and renowned writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie are just two examples of prominent Nigerian-Americans.

In 2020, former president Donald Trump added Nigeria to the list of countries whose residents were banned from immigrating to the United States. The following year, President Joe Biden reversed the ban his first day in office. While Covid-19 continues to affect immigration, there are no longer any legal bans on immigrating from Nigeria to the United States.

In this guide, you will learn about:


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The U.S. Consulate General in Nigeria


While there is a U.S. embassy in Abuj (the Nigerian capital), only the U.S. Consulate in Lagos processes immigrant visas. The consulate is following Covid-19 closures, and is currently offering limited, routine visa services.

As of June 2021, an appointment is necessary. Register for an appointment here.

Contact information for the consulate is:

U.S. Consulate General Lagos Office

2 Walter Carrington Crescent,
Victoria Island, Lagos
Nigeria

Tel: (234) 1 227 8955

Fax: (234) 1 261 9856

Email:


The Process for Immigrating from Nigeria


The U.S consulate in Lagos is currently processing a limited number of applications. But it’s a good idea to get started with the application process sooner rather than later.

There are generally four paths to immigrate from Nigeria, and each has their own requirements and procedures:

  1. Family visas
  2. Student visas
  3. Work visas
  4. Investment visas

As of June 2021, the immigrant visa unit of the consulate is prioritizing the following applicants, per the Consulate’s website:

  • Adoptions: appointments for adopted children of U.S. citizens
  • Spouses and children of U.S. citizens
  • Student Visas
  • Applications that were affected by the Consulate’s closure of routine services on March 22 ,2020
  • Applicants who were affected by the various Presidential proclamations to conclude the processing of their immigrant visa cases

The process for applying for an immigrant visa from outside the United States is generally as follows:

Step one: Fill out and submit the appropriate petitions and forms for the type of visa you are seeking, and create an account online.

For all applicants, the process begins by filling out the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) forms for the appropriate type of visa. If a petition for a visa application is approved, it is sent to the National Visa Center (NVC), a department within the State Department, for further processing. The NVC sends correspondence with instructions on how to create a profile at the Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC) to follow visa applications. The rest of the process is managed through here, including fee payment.

Once a petition has been accepted by the NVC, and transferred to the CEAC, the process is managed online through the CEAC.

Step two: You will receive an interview notice once the application is in the CEAC system. Once you have an interview date, set up a medical exam. All applicants for immigrant visas are required to have medical examinations in Lagos, conducted only by doctors certified by the U.S. Consulate there. Those doctors are:

Dr. Alexandra Ange

The Consultants Practice

The Children’s Practice

25 Raymond Njoku

Ikoyi

Lagos

Tel: 01-893-0723 or 01-461-1941

Mobile: 0706-585-9845

Dr. Funmi Alakija

Q-Life Family Clinic

Plot 155A Prince Ade Odedina Street

Off Ajose Adegun

Victoria Island Annexe

Lagos

Tel: +234-1-629-0365

Mobile: +234-8113975433 or +234-8099742000

Dr. Aden Guliye

Migration Health Assessment Centre (MHAC)

International Organization for Migration (IOM)

No. 4, Buchanan Close

Off Buchanan Crescent and off Aminu Kano Crescent

Wuse II, Abuja-FCT

Tel: +234(0)8072191122, 080 9573 7898, or 080 8522 1427

Bring the following to the medical examination:

  • Visa interview letter
  • Passport
  • Five (5) recently taken passport-sized color photographs
  • Immunization records
  • DS-260 confirmation page

The Consulate asks that applicants allow at least 14 days to complete the medical examination process from start to finish. Be sure not to book your exam more than three months before your scheduled immigrant visa interview at the consulate.

Step Three: Prepare for the interview. The NVC will communicate which documents you need to bring to your visa interview. It is important to bring the required documents to your interview, as the consular officer will not be able to reach a decision on your application without them. Failure to bring required documents to the visa interview is likely to cause additional delays in the application process, and can slow down a visa approval by several weeks or even months.

Step Four: Attend the interview.

Step Five: After the interview, if a visa application is approved, the visa itself will be printed onto a page in the visa applicant’s passport so that they may travel and be admitted to the U.S. An expiration date for the approved visa is generally given, depending on the visa type, and the applicant must enter the U.S. before this expiration. The visa holder now has the right to live permanently and work legally in the U.S. It is important to note, however, that a visa does not necessarily guarantee entry to the U.S. The Department of Homeland Security has the authority and full discretion to grant or deny entry to any visa applicant.


Family Visas


U.S. citizens and green card holders can sponsor immediate family members for immigration benefits (notably, green cards) so that these family members may also immigrate to the U.S. The U.S. family member is generally responsible for filing the initial petition. We’ve put together some helpful information on how to sponsor family members for immigration from Nigeria, depending on the type of family relationship.

Fiancé(e)s of U.S. Citizens

A K-1 visa allows the fiancé of a U.S. citizen to legally live in the United States, as long as the couple gets married no more than 90 days after the visa applicant enters the country. It is a short term visa that allows the couple to marry, and begin the filing process for a marriage green card. To begin the K-1 visa process, the U.S. citizen partner would start by filing Form I-129F.

Spouse

The spouse of a U.S. citizen or green card holder can live and work in the U.S. with a marriage-based green card. The application process differs depending on whether the foreign partner lives within or outside the United States.

Other family members

There are two other family-based green card categories that are worth mentioning:

  1. Immediate relatives of U.S. citizens, namely spouses, parents, and unmarried children under age 21, and
  2. Other family members of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents, such as the spouse of a green card holder and the biological siblings of a U.S. citizen.

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