US Visa in Nigeria – Step by Step Guide on How to Apply for Nigerians
The United States is one of the most popularly visited countries of the world. It is without doubt a beautiful country and is home to several historical wonders among-st which is the infamous statue of Liberty located in New York, the space center in Houston, and several other beautiful places and attractions and of course warm and friendly people.
Every year, millions of people visit the United States to explore and enjoy all the wonderful benefits the country has to offer. Nigerians represent a significant percentage of people who visit the United States regularly. A lot of Nigerians travel to school, find a new work or even a new life, others travel to sight see, visit family and enjoy the environment.
For whatever reason you might wish to travel to the United States, this article will provide a step by step guide on how you can get your US visa from Nigeria and ease for you the entire process.
Classes of U.S Visitor Visas Available to Nigerians
Usually, Nigerians are required to obtain a visa to travel to the United States. The process of obtaining the visa is quite easy and relatively uncomplicated. It is however advised that you obtain all necessary information and follow the outlined steps to avoid mistakes or complications.
The following are the different classes of USA visas available to Nigerians.
- Non Immigrant visas: these are the required visas for those who wish to travel to US for study purpose, exchange, tourism as well as temporary employment. Non-Immigrant visas are issued for people travelling on a temporary basis. There are various types of non immigrant visas available to Nigerians, however the most common ones include the following:
-Tourism visa also known as B-2 and
-Business Visa (B-1)
- The immigrant visas: these are issued for those who intend to migrate to the US permanently or become citizens.
The reason for your proposed travel to the USA and other information will influence the class of visa that will be required under the immigration law of the US. It is important to note that if you intend to travel on a mission rather than business related or just tourism, you must apply for a visa type in the appropriate classification. To determine the category of visa that you will require to travel to USA based on your purpose of visit, you can follow this link.
Comprehensive Guideline on How to Apply For a United States Visa in Nigeria
Applying for a US visitor visa is a relatively simple process that you can carry out yourself. All you need is lots of patience as the procedure can be rather long and a bit time demanding.
You may decide to contact visa centres or agents for help but if you would otherwise do it yourself (which I recommend), worry not, this article will provide you with all that you need to know and do.
Here are the basic steps:
Step 1. Determine Your Eligibility to travel and type of visa required
It is highly recommended that you determine your eligibility before you embark on your visa application process. This is the most important step of your visa application. It would be a total waste of time and possibly money if you commence application and later find out that you are not eligible.
You should also determine your visa type by reading the information provided on the Common Non immigrant Visas page. There you will find information on all available non-immigration visa types as well as the qualifications and application items and be able to determine which visa is required of you..
Whichever the type of visa you are applying for; there are certain conditions that must be met and documents that must be made available before any Nigerian is allowed to visit the United States. These include:
- A valid Nigerian passport ( it is preferable that this is not older than six months ) and should have at least two empty pages for the purpose of visas and entry stamps
- Previous passports (if any) to show your travel history
- Complete health- you must be hale and hearty. People with HIV/AIDS are most likely to receive a negative response to their visa application
- You must have a genuine reason obliging you to return to Nigeria after your temporary visit to US. This could be your family, stable job, assets such as houses, businesses or any other thing that will assure the United States immigration officer of your return to Nigeria.
- Possession of proof of funds: you must be able to provide proof of adequate funds to ensure your smooth stay in US. The United States immigration officer must be convinced you can take care of yourself while in the States. You will need to provide proof of funds in terms of a bank statement of your account with history for at least three previous months, payslips, proof of assets or investments.
- Two coloured passport photographs. These should meet the US visa passport photograph requirements. You can check for these requirements here.
- Your DS-160 confirmation page( this is a part of your application form(I will explain later on)
Other documents required for a successful application includes:
- A note containing information about your trip. These include:
- Contacts; how you can be contacted during your trip
- The purpose of your trip such as invitation letter, employment letter and so on.
- Your destinations
- Hotels you booked and addresses
- An itinerary showing your provisional airline bookings.
- A letter or evidence of invitation from a person living in Canada that you will be meeting. This letter should include the dates of your visit, the period of stay and the purpose of visit.
You might not be eligible to travel to the US if;
- You put up a personality that will expose you to being found as a security threat/risk (mind your choice of word and behaviour at the embassy)
- You have perpetrated or caused an human right violation
- You have once been convicted of a crime
- You are indebted, bankrupt or in severe financial trouble
You are dishonest in filling your application form or during interview
Step 2. Confirm and Pay your Visa Application fees
After you have determined the appropriate visa type you need and also confirmed your eligibility, you are required to go ahead and pay your visa application fees. Every individual applying for the United States visa including children are expected to pay the visa application fee also referred to as the MRV fees, this fee is usually non refundable and cannot be transferred from one applicant to the other. Also these must be paid before applying for your visa.
Different types of non immigrant visa have different fees attached and must be paid whether your visa is granted or rejected. Usually Nigerians are expected to pay between $160 and $265 depending on the type of visa being applied for and payment is usually made at any Guaranty Trust bank using local currency. You can also pay your visa fees online if you have an account with Guaranty Trust bank.
It is important to make copies of all your payment receipt for reference purposes. Usually, your visa application fees receipt remains valid for up to a year from the date of payment and are useful to schedule your interview appointment at the United Sates Consular or Embassy. If you do not make a booking for interview before a year after your payment, you will have to make another payment and restart your visa application process.
Currently, the visa fess for both the business and tourist visa is $160 or N57, 600
Note: Exchange rate used is N360 for one dollar. Always check for the current exchange rate at the time of your application.
For list of visa application fees for other types of visa under the non immigrant visa class and more information on how to pay your visa fees online you can click here.
Step 3. Complete your visa application form
After you have determined your eligibility to travel to the US, made available all required documents and paid your fees, the next step is to complete your visa application form. Every applicant is expected to complete the Non immigrant application form also called DS-160. This must be completed correctly and submitted online before you can be allowed to proceed to the interview stage at the United States Consular or Embassy. Typically, the DS-160 form consist of a barcode number which you must look out for, this will help you schedule an interview during your visa processing period.
It is important that you follow all instructions on filling the form carefully, enter correctly all information and do not falsify or hide information as this could jeopardise your eligibiolity to travel. Follow this link to find the guidelines to completing your DS-160 visa application. These will help you avoid errors and successfully complete your application. Also, you should ensure that your signature is properly appended on the form before submission.
Note: It is important to print your Ds-160 confirmation page containing the barcode number. You will be required to come with it for your interview and will not be granted interview without it. Visa applications to the United States are usually done online. You can click here to complete your application online.
Step 4. Schedule Your Interview Appointment
The nest step after completing and submitting your visa application form is to create a profile and schedule your visa appointment. You are advised to create a profile so that you can follow up on your visa application process and schedule your visa interview date at the United State embassy or consulate. Follow this link to create a profile and schedule your appointment.
Note: In order to schedule an appointment successfully, visa applicants will be required to provide:
- Passport number
- Barcode number from your DS-160 confirmation page (this is usually a ten digit code, ensure you fill it correctly.
- Receipt number from your visa application fees payment receipt from Guaranty Trust bank .
Step 5. Visit the Embassy or Consulate for your interview
After you have scheduled your appointment, the next crucial step is to visit the consulate for your interview, Ensure you arrive at the embassy on time and with all necessary supporting documents. You will need the following;
- A printed copy of your DS-160 confirmation page
- Your appointment letter
- Your passport photograph not older six moths
- Your passports including the old and new ones.
You can click here to check for other documents you may be required to come along with for your interview
Note: Ensure that your documents are valid and not falsified as this may jeopardise your chances of being granted visa.
Step 6. Follow up and Track your Application status, then wait.
This is the last stage of your application process. You must ensure that you keep an eye and follow up on your application process. You can follow this link to track your DS-160 and visa application status. You will need to provide your interview location as well as your DS-160 barcode number
After this, all you have to do is wait a while. This is one point where your patience is tested. It takes between 5 to 15 days to process your United States visa application. However the processing times usually varies based on the following factors;
– The type of visa application
– The volume of applications received during the period you applied
– Validity and status of your documents: if your documents are invalid or incomplete, it may increase your processing period as you will be required to provide valid documents and complete your application.
Once your documents are approved and your visa is granted, you will receive your visa through the location you must have signified as your document drop-off location while scheduling your appointment. All the best in your application process.