A Concise Nigerian’s Guide to US Visas

The United States offers a variety of visas for Nigerians, catering to diverse travel purposes. Understanding these options is crucial for a smooth application process. This article explores the different categories of US visas available to Nigerians, helping you choose the most suitable one for your needs.

Broad Categories: Immigrant vs. Non-Immigrant Visas

US visas fall under two main categories:

  • Immigrant Visas: Designed for those intending to live permanently in the US. These visas often lead to a green card, granting permanent residency.
  • Non-Immigrant Visas: Issued for temporary stays in the US for specific purposes like tourism, business, or studies.

Non-Immigrant Visas (Common for Nigerians)

  • Visitor Visa (B1/B2): This popular visa allows Nigerians to enter the US for temporary visits like tourism, business meetings, or medical treatment. The B1 visa is for business purposes, while B2 caters to tourism and pleasure.
  • Student Visas (F & M): Issued to Nigerians enrolled in approved US academic institutions. F visas are for full-time academic programs, while M visas cater to vocational or non-academic studies.
  • Exchange Visitor Visa (J): Designed for individuals participating in exchange programs in the US, like internships or cultural programs.
  • Business/Treaty Trader Visas (E): For individuals involved in significant trade or investment between the US and Nigeria. The E-1 visa is for treaty traders, and the E-2 is for treaty investors.
  • Temporary Work Visas: Issued for specific employment in the US. Common examples include:
  • H-1B Visa: For specialty occupations requiring a university degree.
  • H-2 Visa: For temporary workers in occupations with a shortage of qualified American workers.
  • L Visa: For intracompany transfers of employees within a multinational company.
  • Fiance(e) Visa (K): Allows the fiancĂ©(e) of a US citizen to enter the US for marriage within 90 days.
  • Other Categories: US visas also exist for journalists (I), athletes (P), and religious workers (R).

Immigrant Visas (For Permanent Residency)

  • Family Sponsorship: US citizens and green card holders can sponsor immediate family members for immigration through petitions.
  • Employment-Based Visas: Certain professions with a national interest qualify for employment-based immigrant visas (EB categories).
  • Diversity Visa Lottery (DV): An annual lottery program offering a limited number of immigrant visas for underrepresented countries, including Nigeria.

Important Note: This article provides a general overview. Eligibility criteria and application processes can vary for each visa type. Always refer to the official US Department of State website (https://travel.state.gov/) or consult with a qualified immigration attorney for the latest information and guidance specific to your situation.

How to obtain a US visa as a Nigerian

As a Nigerian citizen, you can apply for a US visa by following these steps:

  1. Determine the type of visa you need: The first step in obtaining a US visa is to determine the type of visa you need. The most common visa categories for Nigerians are business, tourism, study, and immigrant visas. You can find more information about the different types of visas on the US Embassy website in Nigeria.
  1. Complete the DS-160 form: Once you have determined the type of visa you need, you will need to complete the DS-160 form online. This form is used to collect information about your travel plans and personal information.
  1. Pay the visa fee: You will need to pay the visa fee before you can schedule your visa appointment. The fee varies depending on the type of visa you are applying for. You can pay your visa fees at Guaranty Trust Bank branches in Nigeria.
  1. Schedule your visa appointment: Once you have paid the visa fee, you can schedule your visa appointment at the US Embassy in Nigeria. The US Embassy have their branches in Victoria Island Lagos and Diplomatic drive central district area Abuja. You will need to bring a copy of your appointment confirmation page to the embassy on the day of your interview.
  1. Attend your visa interview: On the day of your interview, you will need to bring all the required documents with you, including your passport, DS-160 confirmation page, and any supporting documents related to your visa category. During the interview, the consular officer will ask you questions about your travel plans and intentions in the US.
  1. Wait for your visa: If your visa is approved, you will receive your passport with the visa stamp within a few days. If your visa is denied, you will be informed of the reason for the denial.

It’s important to note that the visa application process can take some time, so it’s a good idea to start the process early to allow for any delays. It’s also important to ensure that you provide accurate and complete information on your application and during the interview.

How to Schedule and attend a US Visa interview

Scheduling and attending a US visa interview is in four stages;

  1. Fill the DS 160 form online for free in the US consulate website
  2. Pay for the US visa interview fee.
  3. Choose a favorable date for an interview online.
  4. Attend the interview

Filling the DS 160 form

You can access the DS 160 form from the United States consulate website @ https://ceac.state.gov/genniv/. Follow the instructions on the website to obtain and fill your DS 160 form online for free.

Before you start filling the form make sure you have at hand, detailed information about yourself including educational and work history, marital status and so on. You should also have detailed information about your siblings, father, mother and other extended family members. You must have gathered all information about your purpose of visit to the United States, Including the place you are going to and the person or institution you will visit or stay.

Filling the DS 160 form correctly is the first step to a successful visa interview. If you are not sure of the information you want to fill in, take time to find out correctly before proceeding.

Make sure you are on a very good internet connection otherwise you will have problems filling the form. Don’t use a proxy. Use a laptop or desktop PC instead of a smartphone.

Upon successful filling of DS 160 form, you will print a confirmation report which includes your confirmation number. Your confirmation number will be required when you want to schedule a visa interview.

How to pay the US interview fee

Fee for your US visa interview will be paid at GT bank. Just walk into any of the bank’s branches with your Nigeria Passport and tell the banker that you want to pay for US visa

interview. At the end of the payment process you will be given a receipt which contains your details as it is written on your passport with a unique payment confirmation number.

Choose a favourable date for US visa interview

To schedule an interview go to


Before you can register to choose an interview date, make sure you have the DS 160 confirmation slip and the visa fee receipt from GT bank. You will need some information on those two slips to register and book for an interview. After successful registration, you will proceed to select a date for your visa interview. Look for a favourable date and time. If you can’t find one,then You can always log back in every day or so until you find a favourable date.

Attend the interview

Make sure you get to the interview venue on time. The questions you will be asked will be based on the information you provided when filling the DS 160 form. Try not to contradict yourself and demonstrate full knowledge of what you are going to be doing in the United States. Go with documents that can support your case such as bank account statements within the last 3 months, marriage certificate, scholarships, admission letters, land documents etc. 

Truth be told that you are more likely to be denied a US visa at your first attempt. So prepare very well. If you are not successful, don’t be discouraged. Try to figure out why you weren’t given the visa then try again with an updated information.