How to Relocate to the US from Nigeria

How to Relocate to the US from Nigeria

The idea of a better life in the United States has caught the imagination of many Nigerians. Immigrating to the United States from Nigeria is a popular aspiration because it offers better chances, world-class education, and a higher standard of living.

If you want to make this important move, you must first grasp the processes necessary for a successful immigration process. This piece is an in-depth guide on navigating your travel from Nigeria to the United States.

The Process for Relocating to the US from Nigeria

There are mainly four ways to immigrate from Nigeria, each with its own requirements and processes:

  • Family visas
  • Student visas
  • Work visas
  • Investment visa

The procedure for applying for an immigrant visa from outside the United States is typically as follows.

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Step 1

Fill out and submit the necessary petitions and documents for the type of visa you are seeking, and create an online account.

The procedure for all applicants begins with filling out the appropriate type of visa documents from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). If a visa petition is granted, it is forwarded to the National Visa Center (NVC), a department of the State Department, for further processing.

The NVC provides letters with information on how to create a profile at the Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC) to track visa applications. The remainder of the procedure is handled here, including fee payment.

Once a petition has been accepted by the NVC and forwarded to the CEAC, the procedure is completed online via the CEAC.

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Step 2

Once your application has been submitted to the CEAC system, you will be notified of an interview. Schedule a medical exam once you’ve been assigned an interview date. All candidates for immigrant visas must undergo medical examinations in Lagos, which are only administered by doctors certified by the US Consulate.

Bring the following to your medical exam:

  • Visa interview letter
  • Passport
  • Five (5) newly taken passport-sized color pictures
  • Immunization records
  • DS-260 Confirmation Page

The embassy requests that candidates allow at least 14 days to complete the medical examination procedure from beginning to end. Make sure you don’t arrange your test more than three months before your immigrant visa interview at the Consulate.

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Step 3

Prepare for your interview. The NVC will tell you the papers you need to bring to your visa interview. It is critical to bring all the needed documents to your interview since the consular officer will be unable to make a judgment on your application without them.

Failure to present needed papers to the visa interview would likely result in extra delays in the application process. This will potentially delay visa acceptance by several weeks or even months.

Step 4

Go to the interview.

Step 5

If a visa application is granted following the interview, the visa will be printed on a page of the visa applicant’s passport. This allows Nigerians to travel and be allowed to the United States. The accepted visa normally has an expiration date, which varies depending on the visa type, and the applicant must enter the United States before that date. The visa holder can now live and work lawfully in the United States.

It is crucial to understand, however, that a visa does not ensure access to the United States. The Department of Homeland Security has complete power and discretion to allow or reject entrance to any visa application.


Family Visas

U.S. citizens and green card holders can sponsor immediate family members for immigration benefits (most notably green cards), allowing them to come to the United States. In most cases, the initial petition is filed by a US-based family member.

We’ve included some useful information on how to sponsor family members for immigration from Nigeria, based on the type of family tie.

Fiancé(e)s of U.S. Citizens

A K-1 visa permits a U.S. citizen’s fiancé to lawfully remain in the United States, as long as the couple marries within 90 days after entering the country. It is a short-term visa that permits the couple to marry and start the application procedure for a marriage green card. To commence the K-1 visa procedure, the US citizen partner would file Form I-129F.


A marriage-based green card allows a U.S. citizen or green card holder’s spouse to reside and work in the United States. The application process varies depending on whether the foreign spouse resides in or outside the US.

Other Family Members

Two more family-based green card categories are worth noting:

  • Immediate relatives of US citizens, including spouses, parents, and unmarried children under the age of 21, and
  • Other family members of US citizens or lawful permanent residents include a green card holder’s spouse and a US citizen’s biological siblings.