Applying for a US Visa
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About the US
The United States of America, one of the most sought-after countries in the world is in North America. The official language there is the English language. Citizens of other countries would need to apply for a US visa to come to the Country. To get a U.S visa, applicants would need to be conversant with the following information.
Types of US Visas
Foreigners or non-citizens need the US visa to travel to the United States of America. Visa Waiver Program (VWP) grants 90 days visa-free travel duration to some country’s citizens. Citizens of countries that do not qualify for the VWP, must obtain a US visa.
There are two major visa types, and they are:
- Non-immigrant visas
- Immigrant visas.
US Non-immigrant Visas
This non-immigrant US visa is issued to persons who intend to travel to the U.S for a stipulated period of time in order to fulfill a purpose.
There are several types of non-immigrant visas, and they are dependent on the purpose of travel.
These visas are issued based on the following reasons for traveling. as stated in the table below:
|Reason for traveling||Non-Immigrant visa type|
|Athletes, amateur and professional (competing for prize money only), |
Domestic employees or nannies (must be accompanying a foreign national employer)
|Athletes, artists, entertainers||P|
|Australian worker - professional speciality||E-3|
|Border Crossing Card: Mexico||BCC|
|Crewmembers (serving aboard a sea vessel or aircraft in the U.S.)||D|
|Diplomats and foreign government officials||A|
|Employees of a designated international organization, and NATO||G1-G5, NATO|
|Exchange visitors au pairs||J-1|
|Exchange visitors - professors, scholars, teachers|
|Exchange visitors - children (under age 21) or spouse of a J-1 holder||J-2|
|Exchange visitors - international cultural||J, Q|
|Foreign military personnel stationed in the U.S.||A-2, NATO1-6|
|Foreign nationals with extraordinary ability in sciences, arts, education, business or athletics||O-1|
|Free Trade Agreement (FTA) professionals: Chile||H-1B1|
|Visitors for Medical treatment||B-2|
|Tourism, vacation, pleasure visitors|
|Nurses travelling to areas short of health care professionals||H-1C|
|Specialty occupations in fields requiring highly specialized knowledge||H-1B|
|Students - academic and language students||F-1|
|Student dependents - dependent on an F-1 holder||F-2|
|Students - vocational||M-1|
|Student dependents - dependent on an M-1 holder||M-2|
|Temporary workers - seasonal agricultural||H-2A|
|Temporary workers - nonagricultural||H-2B|
|Training in a program not primarily for employment||H-3|
|Visa renewals in the U.S. - A, G, and NATO||A1-2, G1-4, NATO1-6|
US Immigrant Visas
The US Immigrant Visa is issued to persons who intend to stay in the US permanently. Immigrant visas permit individuals to apply for admission as Legal Permanent Residents and eventually can become U.S citizens.
US Visa Requirements
Having the necessary requirements are important during application for immigrant and non-immigrant US visa.
The non-immigrant visa applicants need to convince the officers at the Consular office that they do not intend to permanently stay in the US, but that they have a lot of reasons to want to return to their home country.
The immigrant visa applicants need a petition on their behalf from either a qualified family member in the U.S or a U.S employer who wishes to hire for a permanent position.
The following documents are necessary for either an immigrant and non-immigrant visa application:
- A Non-immigrant Visa Electronic Application (DS-160) Form.
- A passport valid for travel to the United States with a validity date at least six months beyond your intended period of stay in the United States.
- One (1) 2″x2″ (5cmx5cm) photograph.
- A receipt showing payment of the visa application fee.
- An approved Form I-20 (if you are applying for a student visa).
- Your latest school results, transcripts and degrees/diplomas (if you are applying for a student visa).
- Your interview appointment letter.
- Proof that you cam financially sustain yourself.
- Your travel itinerary (if you need a tourist visa).
- Criminal/court records pertaining to an arrest or conviction.
It is always advised that every document or information given must be authentic, as there are measures meted out for fraudulent activities which include permanent visa ineligibility.
How to Apply for a U.S Visa
The following are the steps to apply for a US visa:
Be certain about the type of U.S visa you need.
Pay the fee.
Carefully Complete the DS-160 form (mistakes made in the DS-160 form cannot be corrected).
Create a profile through the main U.S visa application site.
On the dashboard, click on Schedule Appointment.
Visit the U.S Embassy on the date and time of your interview.
Where can I get a US Visa Application Form?
The US visa application form can be gotten online from the US Embassy website. You can download the form, fill and scan it back, after which you can book an appointment for an interview on the website.
How to Schedule a US Visa Appointment
To schedule a US visa appointment, you would need to create a profile on the U.S visa website, and fill in the necessary information.
The following would be required:
- 10 digit DS-160 confirmation number
- U.S visa application fee receipt number
- passport number
- SEVIS number (for F, M students and J exchange visitors)
- Petition number (for temporary work visas)
- Case number (for immigrant visa)
You will need to first schedule a fingerprinting and photograph appointment before scheduling an interview.
How and Where to Pay U.S Visa Fees
A non-refundable and non-transferable Machine Readable Visa (MRV) application fee is paid by every applicant whether the visa is issued eventually or not. The type of visa requested for determines the fee.
The U.S visa fee can be paid online or at the bank.
All visa applicants except the type K visa applicants can pay their visa application fee at any GTB branch.
Applicants can also pay through GTBank’s online bill pay service.
How much does the US Non-immigrant Visa Fee Cost?
The visa application fee for each non-immigrant visa type depends on the visa class. In Nigeria, the majority of visa applicants will pay either $160, $190, or $265 at GT Bank.
Information about other visa fees that are paid directly to the National visa centre, to the US embassy, to the US Consulate General, or to the Department of Homeland Security can be found here.
More details about other US visa types and the conditions with no fee required can be found at UStraveldocs.
How to Submit US Visa Application
Since most of the processes are online, once the application form is filled, they should be submitted via that platform.
US Visa Processing Time
When a U.S visa application is submitted, it might take a while to get an appointment. It is, therefore, necessary to apply at least 3 months before the intended date of travel.
How to Collect your US Visa
Once an applicant’s visa is approved, it is sent to the document pick-up location specified by the applicant during the appointment scheduling process.
There are no charges for this service.
For further information, you can visit the official US embassy website.
Address and Location of the US Embassies in Nigeria
Abuja US Embassy Address
Embassy of the United States
Plot 1075 Diplomatic Drive
Central District Area, Abuja
Lagos US Embassy Address
United States Consulate General
2 Walter Carrington Crescent
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