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September 22, 2022
How to immigrate from Nigeria to the USA in 2022

👉In general, a person who wishes to immigrate to the United States from Nigeria directly must have a petition approved by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) before applying for an immigrant visa. Immigrant petitions are filed by family or employers on your behalf.

If you are inside US – you can get a Green Card through family and employment as well, but there are also humanitarian visas and asylum available to you for adjustment of status to lawful permanent resident status in USA.

📋The immigrant petition is filed either by a relative (they file the I-130 Family Petition) or by a potential employer (I-140 Immigrant Worker Petition) with USCIS inside the United States.    It always starts with USCIS and then moves to the US Consulate in Negeria.

An individual with an approved petition and a priority date that is current for processing is eligible then to interview with the US Consulate and receive an Immigrant Visa.

Petitions in Nigeria

The U.S. Consulate General in Lagos processes all immigrant visa applications in Nigeria. 

☝The Immigrant Visa Unit in Lagos accepts I-130 petitions for immediate relative immigrant classification from American citizens who are resident in Nigeria. To demonstrate residency, the American citizen petitioner must be able to show permission to reside in Nigeria (e.g. Nigerian Permanent Resident status, an Employment Status, or other permanent status) and must have been resident in Nigeria for at least six months before filing the petition. American citizens who are in Nigeria on temporary status, such as students or tourists, do not meet the residency standard and must file their petitions directly with the domestic United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office having jurisdiction over the American citizen’s place of residence.

There are also TEMPORARY visas (called Nonimmigrant Visas) to come from Nigeria to America. 

US Visa Processing Times for Different Visa Types

Here are the processing times for the US visas and a bit of information about each visa:

Visa TypeDescription
E-1 visaTreaty country Trader – can file for yourself to show you will trade inside US within your business and that trade will be betw. USA and Nigeria.First step is for the I-129 Petition to be approved within US – takes a couple of months.Then, the case will get to the US Consulate and be processed there for 4-6 weeks.
E-2 visaTreaty country INVESTOR in US.Invests substantial amount in a US business.First step is for the I-129 Petition to be approved within US – takes a couple of months.Then, the case will get to the US Consulate and be processed there for 4-6 weeks.
F-1 Student visaF-1 starts with the college filing a SEVIS form and sending it to student, who then applies for a Nonimmigrant visa at the US Consulate in Lagos.
J-1 visaCan be for doctors/physicians, or
Can be for students who come to work in US seasonally and then travel in US for a couple of months You need a sponsor to file for you.
M-1 visaFor education training in USA   
B-1 visaTourist/Visitor for Pleasure.
The processing times for the B-1 visas are not exact. Lagos shows official waiting time for a Tourist visa to be 720 calendar days on their website.
B-2 visaTourist/Visitor for Business.The processing times for the B visas are not exact. Lagos shows official waiting time for a Tourist visa to be 720 calendar days on their website.
H-1B visaSpecialty jobs that require the worker to have a Bachelor’s degree or above, or to have at least 4 years experience 
H1B visa lottery starts in January to March of the year to participate in the visa lottery that starts on April 1 for the upcoming fiscal year.
H-2 visaSeasonal workers 
Processing times vary for H-2A visas since it is seasonal and sometimes it might take longer. However, it is recommended for US employers to file USCIS petitions at least 60 days, but no more than 120 days before they need the foreign workers. The US government places importance on H-2A visas, so they are not as delayed as other visas to make sure that agricultural work is done in US.   
H-3 visa
Trainee or Special Exchange Education visa 
You will have to make sure that the institution petitions on your behalf at least 6 months before the training program starts. After that, you will have to gather your documents and proceed with the application. Depending on the demand at your local US Embassy, it might take one to three months for them to get back to you with a final decision on whether you will get the H-3 visa or not.
L-1 visaIntracompany transfer of a manager or higher position Or supporting workers Blanket petitions are processed faster than individual ones. In addition, employers have the option of obtaining premium processing for the additional fees, which will speed up the L-1A processing time and you’ll get a response within 1 to 3 weeks.
K-1 visaFiance VisaFiance Visa is filed by US Citizen petitioner (a single man or woman) – a family petition, but a Nonimmigrant visa
R-1 visaReligious WorkerIt takes some time to get the R-1 visa approved. After the employer (church, mosque, religious institution) sends in the petition, it takes around 6-9 months for USCIS to respond and approve the employer’s I-129 Petition  due to the fact that they might have to visit the premises of the organization. 
If USCIS has visited the organization before and approved them, then premium processing is available for an extra $1,225 fee. With premium processing, you will get a response on your visa in about 2 weeks. If you do not have premium processing, after USCIS approves the petition, it might take another 2 to 3 months for the visa to process.
P-1 visa
For artists and athletes for competitions and performances in US
It could be a long wait, but USCIS offers the opportunity to pay for premium processing of the I-129 Petition. If you choose to have premium processing of your visa, you must pay an additional USCIS government filing fee  and you will get the response for your visa petition within 15 business days (or quickly receive a Request for Evidence to supplement the case and add more proofs).
O visa for Extraordinary ability workersIf you do not want to wait this long to get your response, then there is a way to speed up the process. For an additional $1,225, premium processing is available for the O visas. Premium processing means that your visa will be processed within 15 days and you will know the answer much sooner.
T visaThe processing time for the T visa varies. USCIS does not give an estimate or a time that applicants will have to wait for their visa to be processed after applying. This means that the processing time varies from person to person and is made based on the evidence that they give.
U visaFor victims/witnesses of serious crimes who help the police and district attorney to put bad guy in jail 
The U visa takes about 5 years

IMMIGRATION – PETITIONS FOR DIRECT GREEN CARDS

I-140 Employer’s petition is filed either by the Employer or you can file yourself if you are a start in your field

🔸1. Green Card through employment

▪1.1 PERM – Employees with high education and experience; has Labor Dept petition as step 1, takes about 4 months, Step 2 is the Immigrant Petition – total time about 1.5 years.

▪1.2 NATIONAL INTEREST WAIVER petition – can self-petition or an employer files – for people with extraordinary experience and accomplishments that can bring USA a lot of good – people in science, engineering, math, medicine, researchers — professors and scientists, very famous businessmen.

▪1.3 EB-1 and EB-2 Petitions for Extraordinary and Outstanding Ability professionals – the stars in their field.

🔸2. Green Cards Through Family – I-130 Petitions is the first step. 

▪2.1 US Citizen petitioners file for Parents, Spouses, Children Under 21 – immediate relative categories. The quickest cases.    

▪2.2 US Citizens file for Single and Married Children over 21 yrs old – takes between 8 years to 12 yrs under current waiting times.        

▪2.3. Green Card holders file for spouses and kids under 21 – takes about 1.5 to 2 years right now.    

▪2.4 Green Card holders file for single children over 21 (single adult kids).

🔸3. I-360 VAWA Petitions 

▪For spouses of abusive US Citizens and Green Card holders, or

▪For parents of abusive adult US Citizens.

🔸ASYLUM 

▪Have to come to US first with another visa or 

▪Get yourself to the US Border with Mexico or Canada and ask for asylum at the Border

▪If your spouse or parent won Asylum in US – they can file I-730 Petition for family unification for you and you will receive an Asylum immigrant visa yourself.

☝There are also TEMPORARY visas (called Nonimmigrant Visas) to come from Nigeria to America. 

Here are the processing times for the US visas:

Visa TypeDescription
E-1 visaTreaty country Trader  for HimselfWill trade betw. USA and Nigeria.First step is for the I-129 Petition to be approved within US – takes a couple of months.Then, the case will get to the US Consulate and be processed there for 4-6 weeks.
E-2 visaTreaty country INVESTOR in USInvests substantial amount in a US business.First step is for the I-129 Petition to be approved within US – takes a couple of months.Then, the case will get to the US Consulate and be processed there for 4-6 weeks.
F-1 Student visaF-1 starts with the college filing a SEVIS form and sending it to student, who then applies for a Nonimmigrant visa at the US Consulate in Lagos.
J-1 visaCan be for doctors/physicians.
Can be for students who come to work in US seasonally and then travel in US for a couple of months
You need a sponsor to file for you.
M-1 visaFor education training in USASeveral months 
B-1 visaThe processing times for the B-1 visas are not exact. Lagos shows official waiting time for a Tourist visa to be 720 calendar days on their website.
B-2 visaThe processing times for the B visas are not exact. Lagos shows official waiting time for a Tourist visa to be 720 calendar days on their website.
H-1B visaSpecialty Jobs that require Bachelor’s or above or at least 4 years experience 
Visa lottery starts in January to March of the year to participate in the visa lottery that starts on April 1 for the upcoming fiscal year.
H-2 visaSeasonal workersProcessing times vary for H-2A visas since it is seasonal and sometimes it might take longer. However, it is recommended for US employers to file USCIS petitions at least 60 days, but no more than 120 days before they need the foreign workers. The US government takes priority in H-2A visas so they expedite the process due to the fact that agricultural work is seasonal.
H-3 visa
Trainee or Special Exchange Education visa
You will have to make sure that the institution petitions on your behalf at least 6 months before the training program starts. After that, you will have to gather your documents and proceed with the application. Depending on the demand at your local US Embassy, it might take one to three months for them to get back to you with a final decision on whether you will get the H-3 visa or not.
L-1 visaIntercompany transfer of a manager or above positionOr supporting workersBlanket petitions are processed faster than individual ones. In addition, employers have the option of obtaining premium processing for the additional fees, which will speed up the L-1A processing time and you’ll get a response within 1 to 3 weeks.
K-1 visaFiance VisaFiance Visa is filed by US Citizen petitioner (a single man or woman) – a family petition, but a Nonimmigrant visa
R-1 visaReligious WorkerIt takes some time to get the R-1 visa approved. After the employer (church, mosque, religious institution) sends in the petition, it takes around 6-9 months for USCIS to respond and approve the employer’s I-129 Petition  due to the fact that they might have to visit the premises of the organization. 
If USCIS has visited the organization before and approved them, then premium processing is available for an extra $1,225 fee. With premium processing, you will get a response on your visa in about 2 weeks. If you do not have premium processing, after USCIS approves the petition, it might take another 2 to 3 months for the visa to process.
P-1 visa
For artists and athletes for competitions and performances in US
It could be a long wait, but USCIS offers the opportunity to pay for premium processing of the I-129 Petition. If you choose to have premium processing of your visa, you must pay an additional USCIS government filing fee  and you will get the response for your visa petition within 15 business days (or quickly receive a Request for Evidence to supplement the case and add more proofs).
O visa for Extraordinary ability workersIf you do not want to wait this long to get your response, then there is a way to speed up the process. For an additional $1,225, premium processing is available for the O visas. Premium processing means that your visa will be processed within 15 days and you will know the answer much sooner.
T visaThe processing time for the T visa varies. USCIS does not give an estimate or a time that applicants will have to wait for their visa to be processed after applying. This means that the processing time varies from person to person and is made based on the evidence that they give.
U visaFor victims/witnesses of serious crimes who help the police and district attorney to put bad guy in jail 
The U visa takes about 5 years

✅IMMIGRATION – PETITIONS FOR DIRECT GREEN CARDS

I-140 Employer’s petition is filed either by the Employer or you can file yourself if you are a start in your field

🔸1. Green Card through employment

▪1.1 PERM – Employees with high education and experience; has Labor Dept petition as step 1, takes about 4 months, Step 2 is the Immigrant Petition – total time about 1.5 years.

▪1.2 NATIONAL INTEREST WAIVER petition – can self-petition or an employer files – for people with extraordinary experience and accomplishments that can bring USA a lot of good – people in science, engineering, math, medicine, researchers — professors and scientists, very famous businessmen.

▪1.3 EB-1 and EB-2 Petitions for Extraordinary and Outstanding Ability professionals – the stars in their field.

🔸2. Green Cards Through Family – I-130 Petitions is the first step. 

▪2.1 US Citizen petitioners file for Parents, Spouses, Children Under 21 – immediate relative categories. The quickest cases.

▪2.2 US Citizens file for Single and Married Children over 21 yrs old – takes between 8 years to 12 yrs under current waiting times.

▪2.3. Green Card holders file for spouses and kids under 21 – takes about 1.5 to 2 years right now.

▪2.4 Green Card holders file for single children over 21 (single adult kids).

🔸3. I-360 VAWA Petitions 

▪For spouses of abusive US Citizens and Green Card holders, or

▪For parents of abusive adult US Citizens.

🔸ASYLUM 

▪Have to come to US first with another visa or 

▪Get yourself to the US Border with Mexico or Canada and ask for asylum at the Border

▪If your spouse or parent won Asylum in US – they can file I-730 Petition for family unification for you and you will receive an Asylum immigrant visa yourself.

📝More interesting news and posts are on social media Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook !

Shepelsky Law Group
Immigration Lawyers for all 50 states
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