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 and there are no longer any legal bans on immigrating from Nigeria to the United States.
Are you in Nigeria? Get a tailored visa plan for everything from forms to interview.
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.
Contact information for the consulate:
U.S. Consulate General Lagos Office
2 Walter Carrington Crescent,
Victoria Island, Lagos
Tel: (234) 1 227 8955
Fax: (234) 1 261 9856
- For queries about immigration: LagosIV@state.gov
- For queries about student visa: LagosStudentVisas@state.gov
The Process for Immigrating from Nigeria
There are generally four paths to immigrate from Nigeria, and each has their own requirements and procedures:
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.
Bring the following to the medical examination:
- Visa interview letter
- 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.
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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.
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:
- Immediate relatives of U.S. citizens, namely spouses, parents, and unmarried children under age 21, and
- 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.
Interested in immigrating from Nigeria to the U.S? Boundless has got you covered! We’ve helped thousands of Nigerian families reach their U.S. immigration goals. Get started today!
In order to immigrate to the United States from Nigeria, you will need to meet certain eligibility requirements. You must have a valid passport and be able to provide evidence of your legal right of residence in the country where you are applying from. Additionally, you may need to have proof of financial resources or an employment offer.
The first step is to determine which visa category you should apply for. Depending on your purpose for traveling to the U.S., you may need an immigrant visa, a nonimmigrant visa, or a special immigration program such as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Once you determine which type of visa is best suited for your situation, you can begin the application process. Start planning your immigration journey today with Boundless. Get started today!
Immigrating to the United States from Nigeria can provide many benefits, such as access to better job opportunities, higher educational opportunities, and improved quality of life. The U.S. also offers a variety of social security benefits such as health care and retirement plans. Finally, if you become a U.S. citizen, you will gain the right to vote and enjoy many other civil rights that are guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.