Going Through the Immigration Process to Bring Your Nigerian Husband to America (Part II)

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I can finally sing a new song, for my wonderful Nigerian husband and I were reunited on Thursday, June 19, 2008. The journey was long, trying, and an emotional roller coaster, but the joy of our reunion has wiped the painful memories of our 17 months of separation away from our hearts and minds. Matter fact, just one week after my husband came to America, he received his social security card, and a few days after his third week here, he received his permanent residence card (expiring 2018). Prior to his permanent residence card expiring, he can apply for citizenship, which he will do. God has been with us every step of the way, and for that we are eternally grateful!

The immigration process is not for the “light of heart”, for it takes endurance, trust, faith in your spouse, and a thick shell to ward off the doubtful darts of others who deem you foolish for waiting for such a long period of time or marrying a foreigner in the first place. I am amazed at how many negative, cruel, and rude comments were posted as comments on some of my articles about my marriage to my Nigerian husband. I found it amazing how much negative input someone can give when they do not know anything about you or your spouse. So be prepared, forewarned, and ready to face the “haters”. Focus on what matters to you and your spouse—not on what a negative stranger, relative, or friend has to say about your choice to marry a Nigerian man. Believe in a blessed, bright, and happy future with your spouse. Do not allow others to dampen your spirit, love, and faith in your spouse when spears of hatred are sent your way—believe me, they will come from all directions!

Before I continue, I want to state that I am sharing my “personal experience” of going through the immigration process. There are various types of visas, and the immigration journey will differ depending on what type of visa one is seeking. The visa my husband received is an immigrant visa, so that is the one I am referring to here.

When I wrote “Going through the Immigration Process to Bring Your Nigerian Husband to America (Part I)”, I left off at the point where I was assigned as my husband’s agent, which means I received all of his paperwork from the National Visa Center. Once we completed all of the required paperwork, I received a letter in October 2007, stating that we would next receive a letter from the NVC informing us of when my husband’s interview date and time will be at the Nigerian Embassy. When I called the NVC to inquire how long it would take before my husband would have his interview, I was told some married couples have waited up to 2 years or more. That was very discouraging, for we met May 2006, married January 4, 2007, and the time was steady ticking away; we wanted to be together as husband and wife and start our life together. A representative from the NVC told me that they schedule interviews during the 2nd week of each month, so monthly I called to see if my husband’s interview was scheduled. Each time I called from November 2007 to March 2008, the answer was always “no”. This became very disheartening, for we had been apart for a very long time at this point. As the time ticked by, my husband and I (especially my husband) read many things about the interview process and possible questions that would be asked during the interview; so he could be fully prepared. At one point, we contemplated on hiring an immigration lawyer, for we hoped this would speed up the process. In March 2008, I emailed the NVC asking that they send me a copy of the letter they sent me in October 2007 stating that my husband was waiting to be scheduled an interview at the Nigerian Embassy. To both our surprise, and prior to the 2nd week of the month, we received an email from the NVC stating that my husband’s interview was scheduled for April 11, 2008. The joy and happiness we felt at knowing the last step in the immigration process was soon approaching was indescribable.

My husband’s interview was very successful, and I wanted to list some of the questions he was asked and what he took in preparation for his interview. Now, all of the documents that was required and sent to the NVC during the long NVC process as forwarded to the Nigerian Embassy, so he did not have to take copies of anything that was already submitted. All he had to do was show up on April 11, 2008, but he did take other documents with him to help prove his continued relationship with me during our long separation. He took the following items with him:

- He printed off one email per week from the time we met leading up to the date of the interview (bound in a book with a Table of Contents)
- One email in the bound book was the official “marriage proposal” he sent to me, and my “yes” response to him
- Marriage pictures
- Marriage Video CD
- Police Character Certificate (no more than 3 months old). Note: you will be asked to do this as part of the NVC requirements, but if the Police Character Certificate is more than 3 months old, you MUST get another one.

The following are some of the questions he was asked, but please NOTE that your questions will differ depending on who is asking the questions. My husband’s questions were:

1. How did you meet your wife?
2. Why did you choose her as your wife?
3. What are the names and ages of your wife’s children (this is my second marriage)
4. What is your wife’s phone number?
5. Tell me what you know about your wife? (this lead to other questions, so be prepared)

The Consulate Officer asked my husband to have a seat as she studied the bound, email book that my husband brought with him, and when he was called back up to her, she asked several questions about it. I had written to my husband in his language (Ijaw), and we conversed for months using it (she was impressed with that).

The interview lasted for about 40 minutes, which included the time spent reviewing the bound, email book my husband brought with him to the interview. After my husband was called back up and asked questions about the bound, email book, she gave him a piece of paper and told him to COME BACK FOR HIS VISA in three working days. However it actually took around a week before his visa was ready. In addition to his immigrant visa, he was given a brown envelope, which contained all of his medical examination information. He was told that the brown envelope would be taken from him at his point of entry, which it was. Please note that prior to the interview, your spouse must (or should) have his medical examination concluded. If he has not done this, it will delay his visa from being given to him!

When my husband went through the immigration inspection in Atlanta, Georgia (his port of entry into the United States), his passport was taken, examined, a stamp of “IR1” was put in his passport and his assigned “alien number” was written under that stamp. Please note that when he was given his passport and visa at the Nigerian Embassy, the following was stamped in it as well: UPON ENDORSEMENT SERVES AS A TEMPORARY I-551 EVIDENCING PERMENENT RESIDENCE FOR 1 YEAR. However, he received his permanent residence card in a few days past 3 weeks of arriving here, and it expires in 2018. As was stated, he can apply for citizenship in a few years.

My husband flew in on Thursday, June 19, 2008; and on Monday, July 23, 2008 we were in the social security office applying for his social security card, which was mailed to him in one week. The temporary permanent residence card (stamped in his passport when given to him) was accepted as proof of his being an immigrant.

IMPORTANT: Please note, my husband said it is important to clearly answer all the questions truthfully, completely and with confidence. If you DO NOT UNDERSTAND a question due to the accent of the Consulate Officer, or you simply do not understand what they are asking; please ASK THE CONSULATE OFFICER TO REPEAT THE QUESTION. The interview was held between a glass panel, so your spouse may have to ask that a question be repeated. You will be standing during the interview process.

Your spouse should be on time (well in advance), neatly dressed, and totally confident in his response; for it will be one of the most important interviews of his life. Not everyone was granted a visa on that day, and I am very grateful the Lord blessed my husband to be granted with his. I pray that you too have a successful outcome!

God bless you and your husband!

About Patricia Daboh
Patricia Daboh contributes articles to Nigerians In America and Nigerian Muse and can be reached through her email address here.

Posted in: Life Abroad

27 Comments

  1. Olagoke says:

    Congratulations in Areas Dear Ma, Its my pleasure writing you this afternoon from homeland as black american called Africa. Nigeria, My fiance was recently came to Nigeria for the first time we are suppose to get marry this year but we had fixed next year around March for our marriage, we just did an introduction and engagemnt within next year march 2013 GOD willing, in Jesus Name.

  2. BellaMama says:

    I was so very happy to read of your success with the process of getting your husband to the USA. I have a different issue. He is here but his children are not. How do I complete our family and get them all together with us? There are 6 children in all, the youngest is 15.

    THank you for your inspiration!

  3. kaj says:

    Pls help us

  4. kaj says:

    me and my wife as weded and i wanted to sponsor my self becos my wife has not job for now can that possible ??? and how long we that time to file??

  5. Pete Adoga says:

    hello Patricia, will all this work with people who met online and never met in person?

  6. Pete Adoga says:

    Hi Patricia, your article is wonderful and informative, good job. well from what I have read so far I think my case with the woman I love will not work, we have never met in person, they will not let her come to Nigeria after the Nigerian terrorist attack. what do u we? I will appreciate your early reply thanks in advance.

  7. Chi says:

    Hi Patricia, Wow! thanks for all the info! reading it made me relive my own experience so i can understand from your husband’s point of view. I got married on the 11th of January 2007(2nd marriage) but my husband filed for my daughter(his stepdaughter) and I on the 11th of August 2007 because he was still a student prior to that time. it took almost 5 months to get a notice of action which was given on the 31st of December 2007. he filed for just the K1 and K2 visa for my daughter and I. it was a very trying and emotional time for us. Also, because he was fresh out of school and didn’t have much money to take care of us, he got his aunt to act as a sponsor in the whole immigration process.We had our first interview on the 2nd of July 2009 were i was told to come back with more supporting documents showing the relationship between my husband and I and also pictures to prove that i was the real mother of my daughter. I had to wait another 7 weeks before i was given an interview date again for the 24th of August 2009. As God would have it, we were the last persons to be interviewed and the visa officer just looked at the pictures of my daughter and I and told us to come back for our visas in a week’s time(that visa officer in particular was more understanding and God sent) But in all i would say it was our strong faith in God and belief that against all odds we would be together that finally made it happen. To God be all the glory!

  8. bayo says:

    hello patricia,i must express my sincere appreciation for this timely and informative article.MAY GOD BLESS YOU.i am really so happy for you.

    but i would like to seek your opinion on this,my fiancee is an american citizen and we wish to be togther as soon as possible,we want to court for 6months and do our engagement ceremony in nigeria so that she can petition for a k1 fiances vbisa with the pictures,videos etc,

    or should we get married and file for k3.or is that going to be a short time.pls your urgent advise is needed.thank you

  9. patricia says:

    i love your article, it was well written and quite informative. i was very distraught and did not know where to begin this journey with my fiancee. we laugh to keep from crying about how we tell each other we would go to the end of the earth for our love for another, and it is true we will be. i can only pray to God our ending will be as happy as yours.

  10. cule says:

    it almost sound like a documentary. good job.

    how do you trust that this man didnt just want to use you

    to be honest i am not a patient person although i like this yoruba man in nigeria, if he was in the states already i would have already married him, i just dont know if i can do it

    the time and money is stress enough but emotions/ no sex for one and a half years

    wow

  11. pat nwobodo says:

    Thank you for sharing your journey. I too have been waiting dor what seems forever to be with my husband. We corresponded for two years before my going to Nigeria where we were married. Due family issues with illness, we delayed our application process until Oct. 2007. We are now waiting for our affidavit of support to be accepted. I will be traveling to Nigeria once my husbands interview is set. Our lawyer has said that it is important to be there with him, plus I have not been able to travel there since our marriage in 2005. We are praying for favor from the Lord knowing He has been in control all along. I do wish there was more information about this whole process for people. I have been told that once my husband is here, we will have to pay another $1200.oo for his green card before we get his social security card. Is this correct? Thank you for your response.

  12. stella nwankwo says:

    thank you for sharing. they need medical exam . do you know where i can go in lagos to get it done? and whether they need it on the day of the interview? thanks so much

  13. Patricia says:

    Bola, I do not know the answer to that question. Even if I did know the answer, prices change. I am sure your husband will be told that prior to his medical examination.

    Best wishes!

  14. Patricia says:

    Hello. I am truly sorry for the outcome of your husband’s interview. I cannot imagine the bitter disappointment you both felt with that sad news. I always tell people to give then “more than they request”, for then you will answered any anticipated question about your relationship. I will be praying for your reunion that the Lord will touch their hearts, and your husband will be approved shortly. May God richly bless you both.

  15. Patricia m Daramola says:

    hello, patricia im so happy to hear that ur husband is fianlly home im going through the same thing we married in jan,18 2007 and now waiting for the nvc center to make sure everything is complete so that they can give him and interview it is so hard and heartbreaking at times, and i have had people to put me down for waiting on a man so far away but i love him and i thank GOD for this man i will wait because i know God will help us through this he is a good God and he knows my heart and he knows i love this man and i trust in the Lord and i put this case in his hand he is the one that can make everything good. I hope u and your husband lots of happinesss and God bless u boyh always

  16. DAWN AJAO says:

    Hello! I am certainly glad you have someone to hold after all of that time. My husband is also nigerian and his interview was may 12,2008. He was denied. They said he didn't provide enough evidence to show we were bona fide. Now the uscis has emailed me a letter to tell us they were reviewing it as of august 11, 2008. We will be married 2 years as of february 28, 2009. We were not so lucky, but we have faith god is on our side. As we are both poor and not much money we didn't hire a lawyer or anyone to help us. We did all of the paperwork ourselves. We did not know he was going to need all of the information they asked for such as affidavits, phone records, and more correspondence than what he had. So we are now waiting, waiting , and waiting…

  17. BOLA says:

    How much do they charge for the visa medical examination

  18. Patricia says:

    @Chike, thanks for your encouraging and kind words. I also hope the negative stereotype concerning Nigerians will change for the better. I see you are proactively trying to make that happen through the NGO. God bless you.

  19. Chike Okuefuna says:

    Thank God you are now united with your husband. I wish you all the best and a happy married life. I am repeating here my reply to one of your earlier articles.

    I took time to read all your articles on this site today. I am a Nigerian living in Rome Italy. Your experiences here touched me a great deal for these are issues we as Nigerians have to deal with every day. I am especially gladdened that you have had this experience of meeting good Nigerians. We know that there are steroetypes about Nigerians. Lots of Nigerians have given our dear country these bad images but still Know that lots of Nigerians still are working on giving the country a good image. There is no other place where Nigerians have done worst than in Italy. But let it be Known that some of us are working hard towards changing these images and conceptions. I recently began an NGO aimed at educating our people on the good of being good and at the same time trying to rebrand our Nigerianness. The NGO is now registered with the Intenral affairs ministry and our webiste, nigeriansinitaly.com still under construction though will help in projecting the good things that our country and our countrymen in diaspora are doing. I wish you all the best in your marriage and god will bless you for the resilience despite the rejection you faced from friends and family. Thank you for your understanding and belief in my country

  20. Patricia says:

    @Elizabeth, I am a US citizen (born and raised in New Jersey, but I now live in South Carolina). Read the Immigration website thoroughly and see which one applies to you. If you are not eligible to file a fiance visa, then getting married may be your only route if you want a future together. Even being a US citizen does not guarantee the Consulate Officer will say “yes” at the end of your spouse’s interview, but pray changes things and helps tremendously. I know what it is like to love someone and be separated from that person (painful, lonely, frustrating . .on and on). Read . .. empower yourself by what you learn . . and then make your decision together. Above all else be very prayerful that your spouse will find “favor” in the Consulate’s eyes on the day of the interview. I will be praying for you as well, Elizabeth. God bless.

  21. Elizabeth says:

    Thanks for this Article, we are indeed left those who have Fiance in Nigeria, seems like it’d never be possible to fulfil a life together here. Especially with all these Immigration stuff going on. And yes indeed there are lots of Negativity all round, my friends think i’m building castles in the air keeping a relationship like that (they say i know in my hearts of hearts he cant come to America, he wont be given a visa. so why waste time?) Dear, your article lightens my spririt and i’m seriously thinking of going back so we can get married ,make it legal you know. I dont think i like the waiting list idea!! I had wanted to ask , whats your status? Citizen or permanent resident? Was told you have to be a U.S Citizen to file for you spouse of Fiance. Im a Permanent resident so no hope for me?? The distance is killing.

  22. Patricia says:

    @Richard:

    I thought about something else, which may help you and your fiance to make up your mind as to go this route (K-visa). There are TWO processes (Immigration process and National Visa Center process). Even when your fiance petition is approved, you must still go through the National Visa Center process as well. We were told that if one processes a spouse, the spouse is NOT subject to a waiting list. However, if you process a fiance into the US, even though your application is approved after paying all NVC processing fees, you are placed on a WAITING LIST. That information did not set to well with us, for how long is that list? How many people have been and are waiting for their fiances to be granted a visa? Even when you are approved, you can wait for months or some years before it is his/her turn to be granted their fiance visa. A spouse is not subject to that type of waiting. Yes, we waited 17 months after marrying (that time included filing two petitions through Immigration and filing all necessary paperwork through the NVC). However, at the end of iour process, we were not labeled number 569,999 on a list of fiance visas waiting to be processed (see what I mean?) The Immigration Office DOES NOT have anything to do with, nor processes, visas. You are subject to the guidelines of the National Visa Center when it comes to issuing visas. And really the bottom line rests in the hand of the Consulate Officer who really says yes or no–even if you pass all of the Immigration and NVC guidelines. Our wait-time was not bad as compared to others before us. If he were my fiance (not spouse), we may not be together yet. Please consider this. Better yet, call the NVC and talk to them yourself prior to spending money on a fiance visa and realizing much later that it will be years before she can actually join you in the US. God bless!

  23. Patricia says:

    Hello Richard, and belated congratgulations on the birth of your daughter. I am in no way an expert in the immigration process, but I write about my personal experiences. However, to answer your question, I filed for the I-130 petition and fiance petition. In reading what was on the website, and after talking to a representative of the Immigration, we were told if one applied for both petitions, it should speed up the process in bringing one’s spouse from Nigeria. Now to answer your question, when my husband was given his visa (which allowed him to travel from Lagos to the US), and when he entered the Atlanta, Georgia (his port of entry), his passport was stamped for the permanent resident visa; for they took into consideration the length of time we were married and were apart. If you are granted the type of visa you mentioned, it is “not” permanent–for you will have to apply for the type of visa my husband has after some time. That is the difference.

    It seems (after all your paperwork is submitted properly) that everything boils down to the interview between your spouse (fiance) and the Consulate Officer. Even if your papework is in order and you meet all guidelines, the Consulate Officer will make that decision (yes or no). Please be very prayerful, and ask God to grant favor for your fiance.

    I hope and pray that the fact that your daughter is American will help sway the Consulate Officer to grant the K-visa. Please keep me posted. Read everything you can get your hands on concerning this type of visa and the interview process, for it will help. Knowledge is power.

  24. Richard says:

    Patricia,I really enjoyed your article,and was hoping you might answer a few questions? I have been dating my Nigerian fiancee for over 3 years. We have a 1 1/2 year old baby daughter. I just returned from London where we just completed all the requirements for our daughters US citizenship.She is now a full fledged American.Do you think that our having a child together helps with the immigration interview? We are not married yet because she lives in London,and we don’t want to go thru the UK visa process to get married. Plus the US requires that the visa be issued at the place where we would be married. We are applying for a k-visa which is a temporary residency visa,changing to permanent residency in 2 years. Is this the same type visa you applied for?

  25. Patricia says:

    Thank you for you well wishes and congratulations! And, yes, my husband was and is amazed at our culture. We are blending the two into one. I greatly appreciate your comments! God bless!

  26. Mama B says:

    Hello Patricia! I’m glad u are finally with ur husband

  27. Kyauta says:

    Congratulations! I wish you all the best as you settle down together and adjust to each other. If this is his first time in America, be prepared for culture shock.

    Thank you for sharing your experiences.

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