The Immigration Process: Bringing Your Nigerian Husband To America

FacebookTwitterGoogle+Share

I am Patricia Machele Daboh, and I wrote and submitted two articles entitled, Nigeria Is Beautiful To Me and Rejected For Loving A Nigerian Man on Nigerians In America. You can access that website at www.nigeriansinamerica.com. As a result of that article, women, who are engaged to Nigerian men and want to fly to Nigeria to get married, have asked me questions ranging from purchasing a passport, visa, shots needed, purchasing the airplane ticket, the wedding ceremony, and filing the necessary paperwork in order to bring their Nigerian husbands back to their country. I am by no means an expert on this subject, but one thing I have that these women lack is “the experience of the Immigration process”. Matter fact, we are still going through that process. At this point, my husband’s visa-issuing paperwork has been sent to the Lagos, Nigeria Embassy, and we are now going through the “Visa” process, which is conducted by the National Visa Center. After we successfully complete that phase of the Immigration Process, my husband will have his interview at the Lagos, Nigeria Embassy. So, with that in mind, I want to share what I know at this point and have experienced, for I do not want you to have any misconceptions about the length of time it will take to finally be reunited with your husband. It is not an overnight process, and to have a better idea of what to expect will elevate some stresses and disappointments that may come during the waiting process. Therefore, I have put together this information to aid women in bringing their Nigerian husbands to the United States. Best wishes to you all!

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Before I begin, I want you to understand (with 100% clarity) that if you have not met your Nigerian fiancé in person (meaning you met him over the internet or by some other means and have not physically been in his presence) DO NOT waste your time and money by filing an I129F Petition For Fiance, for you will be denied. That petition allows your fiancé the privilege of coming to your country, but one stipulation, which they will adhere to, is that you must first have met your fiancé within two years prior to filing the fiancé petition. How do I know that? My husband and I tried it (without my having met him), and we were denied. The cost of the I129F Petition For Fiance is $170.00, and you will not get that money back when you are denied. The Immigration does approve some of those petitions if you have not met your fiancé in person, but those are circumstances where perhaps his cultural custom does not allow you two to meet prior to the wedding day (that was stated in my denial letter). If that is not your case, do not waste your money. The cost to appeal your petition, once denied, is $385.00, but why try to appeal the decision when your circumstances does not warrant an overturn in your situation. We learned that the hard way. You do not have to learn this lesson the hard way, for I am writing this to help you avoid that!

TRAVEL DOCUMENTS

I wanted to talk about the travel documents you will need first because many of these documents are time sensitive, meaning you MUST have these documents and forms way in advance of your planned trip, or you may not be eligible to travel during the time period you desire.

At the time I was planning to meet, my then fiancé, and travel to Lagos, Nigeria for my wedding, I searched various websites trying to find out what I needed to travel to Lagos, Nigeria, and the one I found the most helpful, who processed my visa, is Travel Document Systems, Inc. There are other ones out there also, which are probably full of important and necessary information as well, but I, personally, liked the Travel Documents website the most.

I recommend this website highly, for it fully explains every piece of document you need to travel. Traveling to meet and marry my husband was my first airplane ride and the first time I flew out of the country. So if I, an inexperienced flyer, can get it right the first time, so can you. I will give you the short version of that information. You need the following:

PASSPORT – There is a time frame in processing a passport, so you should purchase one well in advance of your expected travel date. I went to our main post office branch in the town where I lived and got an application. At our post office, I had to make an appointment to do the actual processing of the passport, but you should pick up your application prior to your appointment and have the application filled out. The cost for your passport is on the application, so you can refer to that for the cost.

PASSPORT IMPORTANT INFORMATION - If you already have a passport, you must have at least 6 months travel time left on it before it expires, or you cannot use that one.

PASSPORT PICTURES – You will need 2 passport pictures to submit with your passport during your appointment. But, it was cheaper for me to get my passport pictures taken somewhere else and bring my pictures with me. The post office has equipment set up to take your passport pictures, but it is usually a little more costly. For example, the post office charged $15.00 for 2 passport pictures, and I had them taken somewhere else for $7.99 for 2 passport pictures. Make sure you choose the RIGHT background color for the passport application (read the color requirements on the passport application before taking the picture).

YELLOW FEVER VACCINATION – In order to enter into Lagos, Nigeria, you will need to get a Yellow Fever Vaccination. I got mine through the Health Department. International shots usually must to be scheduled in advance, so you should call your local health department and see how much of a time frame you need to take the shot. If my memory serves me well, you must get your shot within one month before you leave (please double check this out on the website in order to stay within the time frame). The total cost for my Yellow Fever Vaccination where I live was $122.00 (Ouch it stung, girls)! Now there are many more international shots you can get if you want to (optional), but you MUST get this one in order to enter into Lagos, Nigeria (not optional). My Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate was stapled in my passport, so it could be verified as I went through the custom check when I landed in Lagos, Nigeria.

VISA – You MUST also purchase a Visa in order to enter into Lagos, Nigeria. Again, the website that I recommended, can process that for you. I had my visa processed through them (Travel Documents). In order to process a Visa through them you must:

Apply for and receive your passport first, for you must send the passport to Travel Document Systems, Inc. in order for them to put your Visa sticker on one of your pages in your passport.

Send your original birth certificate with your visa application and passport. They will return it when they send your passport back to you with the visa attached to one of the pages.

Send your International Certificate of Vaccination (what you receive after you take your Yellow Fever Vaccination) along with your application and passport.

Send them a Letter of Invitation from your fiancé (he has to write it, sign and date it). The letter invites you to come to Nigeria as his guest. It should include the dates in which you will actually spend in Nigeria. NOTE: This was required on Travel Document Systems, Inc. when I purchased my Visa. Check to see if the Letter of Invitation is needed now. If in doubt of this being needed to obtain your visa, call Travel Document Systems, Inc., and talk to a representative.

You must send Travel Document Systems, Inc. a copy (not original tickets) of your round trip airplane ticket or an itinerary from the Travel Agency who booked your flight. This will show you intend to go back to your country after your visit.

Do not forget to include your visa application, passport, Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate, original birth certificate (not a copy), fee, and invitation letter (if needed ) when mailing your documents to the Travel Document Systems, Inc.

You can purchase a visa for single or multiple entries. If you need it expedited (processed quickly), there is an additional fee for that.

If you have any questions prior to sending in your documents to process your visa, please call them, for you do not want your visa to be denied or delayed.

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

21 Comments

  1. Olagoke Olatunji says:

    God Bless you more, just keep the good Angelic work going, remain blessed and your Husband. am about to start mine Journey too help me in your Prayers, my wife is from your present state, but she is living in newport news, just as you are from new jesey. and living in north carolina. Thanks.

  2. Demeesha Moore says:

    I adore the way you put people in their place in a professional, educated, and woman like manner. Keep up the good work and enjoy your husband, god knows I can’t wait to finally enjoy mines. YOU TOLD THEM LOL THUMBS UP!!!

  3. Demeesha Moore says:

    Wonderful story, I live in North Carolina and I met this Nigerian guy online. He lives in Israel at the momenet, so I went 2 Israel 2 see him and had a wonderful time. He took me to the Jeruslem Tours I mean we had a wonderful time, so he ask me to marry hom and I said yes. We were planning on gettting married in Nigeria, but we were going to travel back and forth from the states to Nigeria. We have plenty of pics together and we already did the marriage counciling by a pastor who lives in Israel but is from Nigeria, my fiance do not have any children and he’s never been married. I was recently laid off from my job that Ive been at for 5yrs so I decided to attend school, is it still impossible for me 2 bring my husband back 2 the states? Im plan on following all your instructions and yes its very stressful and Ive not gotten started. Is it possible for me 2 get a lawyer 2 help do all of this for me?

  4. betty says:

    I wish to God I had this information because my husband case is pending with the B I A (board of immigration appeals) because my husband went to his interview where he is residing in lagos,nigeria they are saying we married for IMMIGRATION PURPOSES WHICH IS NOOOT TRUE.

  5. Edwina Chikere says:

    Great information. I married my hubby in Lagos, Nigeria on Nov 6th, 2008. We are starting the process to get him here. I met with an attorney in person and talked with one over the phone. They have said pretty much the same thing and I have decided to hire an attorney to help with the process. I know that it is more expensive, however, I do not want to screw up the paper work and have it be my 10th anniversary and my hubby is still in Nigeria.

    My husband on the other hand is quite upset at this time as someone in Nigeria told him that it would take 2-3 months to complete the process. I tried to tell him early on that this was going to take awhile especially since he is from Nigeria and our relationship and Marriage will be called into question. I know that he will calm down and do what he can on his end to help matters.

    As was said earlier, patience is required for this process and I know that everything will work out fine in the end. Thank you for your writings.

  6. endy says:

    Dear,you have been a source of inspiration and hope to many of us who have our loved ones in America and wants to one day join them,my fiance is already here in nigeria to stay with me for six months and we intend on filing for my visa application as soon as she gets back to America.Our intension is to do the fiance visa rather than the spouse visa,because her parents are already planning our wedding as soon as i come to america.What should be your dearest advice? may the almighty be your guide.

  7. Patricia says:

    Trista, did you husband come over? I hope and pray so. Mine will be here on Friday, June 20, 2008.

  8. Patricia says:

    It is refreshing to hear from a man that is procesing a woman into his country (for I normally community with women who are doing that). Best wishes. My husband will join me on Friday, June 20, 2008.

  9. Patricia says:

    God favored us highly. He will join me in American on Friday, June 20, 2008. Thanks for your well wishes.

  10. Patricia says:

    Hello Endy. The stipulations for applying for a fiance visa is that you two must have met within 2 years prior to the application (which my husband and I did not qualify for, for we met in person right before we married). One thing I did not like about the fiance visa is that even when you qualify for one, your Nigerian fiance is subject to being put on a “visa waiting list”, for he is not your spouse. When I applied for my husband to come to me in America, he was not subject to a long waiting visa list, but we were subject to going through the Immigration and National Visa Center processes. That was long enough in itself.

    Endy, I do not have all the answers for variouis situations, but I wrote this article in a “journal” style, for I can only tell you what my husband and I went through. He will be with me on Friday, and I will write the Part II of the Immigration Process in which I will tell you about what we experienced. Hopefully, something I will say may prompt you to proceed with your immigration process in the best way for you and your fiance/spouse.

    I am not an Immigration expert, but I am writing you about what happened to my husband and I.

    I hope I have said something that helped you. Bottom line, you and your fiance must do your research/homework on the immigration process and make the best decision for you both. The only sure thing I can tell you need patience, for things are no done overnight when you meet, fall in love with, and marry someone who is not a United States citizen, and you must process him/her into America.

    God bless.

  11. Patricia says:

    Hello Debra. My husband will be joining me on Friday (June 20, 2008). His interview was in April, and he was granted his visa in May. We are very excited about him finally coming to me.

    I am very sorry it did not turn out like that for you, but continue to hope, pray, and believe things will work out. People do not realize that after all the expense of flying there to marry, petitions filed, and visa fees paid; the Consulate Officer can say, "denied", and all of those efforts will have been in vain. If it cannot be overturned, then you have three choices (1) live a marriage apart visiting one another as often as possible, (2) move to Lagos, or (3) get a divorce.

    I will be keeping a "journal" entitled, the Nigerian Connection in order to effectively write more articles or a book. This will be my husband's first experience in America, so it will be a wonderful (yet interesting experience) watching him discover another country for the first time in his life. In addition, although we share the same skin color, we are as far as night is to day in reference to culture and customs. We both must learn to blend together to form our new life.

    Most of my articles are listed on nigerianmuse.com, where you can see a list of all of the articles I have written so far.

    I pray your situation is swiftly turned over, for we married on January 4, 2007; and I know what it feels like to be separated for months on end. God will bless your life. Think about the above choices I listed

    On another note: My stepson is "not" joining us right now. You see the petition to process my husband individually came through, and the other petition to process them as a family was not even processed yet. Therefore, we decided to bring my husband over here first, and then process my stepson "individually" as I did my husband. My stepson livs with his biological mother. I think it is better this way, for it gives us "time alone" to adjust to one another prior to enlarging our family. We plan on traveling back next year to have the DNA testing done.

    I think we were in touch at one time before, but I do not know if I still have your email address. In case I do not, please contact me at pmdaboh@yahoo.com, and we can talk further.

  12. endy bonomi says:

    Hello patrica,what will be your advice is it prefareable you aply for a fiance visa from nigeria,with my fiance living with me in nigeria and our plans is wedding in America .what will be your best advice? Do you think a court union should be the best,right now in Nigeria.

  13. Debra Adamu says:

    Hello Patrica, My situation is much the same as yours, we were married in Lagos Feb.2007. My husband had his interview Nov.26,2007 and much to our disappointment he was given a 221-g and not a visa. We are in administritive processing the embassy said it will take another 6-12 months, I pray this doesn’t happen to you. In your article you also didn’t mention getting the DNA test between your step-son and your husband, we were not informed this was required before the interview, the cost for this is crazy $600 for the test and another $200 for service? The embassy sent us to a “special place” to get the test done, email me and I will send you a copy of the paperwork. I wish you luck on the interview and pray you don’t get stuck in the same mess we are in.

    wishing you joy and happiness, Debbie

  14. Patricia says:

    COMMENT: I am addressing the comment made on 11/20/07 about my getting permission to copyright the material I posted here. First, let me give you the definition of the word "copyright" as per the follwing website: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/copyright. Dictionary.com

    noun 1. the exclusive right to make copies, license, and otherwise exploit a literary, musical, or artistic work, whether printed, audio, video, etc.: works granted such right by law on or after January 1, 1978, are protected for the lifetime of the author or creator and for a period of 50 years after his or her death.

    –adjective 2. of or pertaining to copyrights.

    3. Also, cop·y·right·ed. protected by copyright.

    –verb (used with object) 4. to secure a copyright on.

    NOW: I did not copyright anything in my article, but I could not identify the forms I personally filed on behalf of my husband unless I put a name on the forms. I in no means used, copied, cut or pasted, or took credit for the creation of those petitions filed, but I simply shared what documents I used in order to file on behalf of my husband.

    I appreciate your concern, but I would "never" try to take credit for someone else's work. I explained my personal journey through the Immiration process, and I gave helpful information about how the process works as a means to help other people understand it as they go through it also.

    It reads like a diary, which many appreciate as you can see from the comments made.

    Patricia Daboh

  15. Nancy Tolsma says:

    Wonderful information, thank you so very much for writing it. I am engaged to a wonderful nigerian man. I did not know where to begin in the process of our upcoming marriage and then the process of bringing him to america. I would love to chat with you anytime and hear how things are currently going for you and your new family!! May God bless you continue to give you strength. He is the reason we are surviving our seperation at the moment!! Again I thank you for the great article!

    Blessings, Nancy

  16. Anonymous says:

    excellent info. i printed out this info as a guide..i will be leaving for lagos in feb 2008 when my love and i will be married..thanks for helping all of us

  17. Unknown User says:

    Thank! I'm seeking marriage to a Ghanian lady.

  18. Trista P. Nwokey says:

    Thank you for your article. We are at the same point your are now in the process. We were married in December 2006. I submitted paperwork in January. My husband's interview is on August 15, 2007. We have most of the documents for proof that you have mentioned. Thanks again!

  19. Anonymous says:

    May God favour your husband when he goes for the final interview in Lagos. Wishing both of you the best in life and I hope he will ever be grateful for all these you are doing for him and his son/daughter.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Excellent info, thanks for sharing. The american immigration system is rigged with landmines so the unwary will not only be delayed but denied…

  21. mrskenna says:

    This information will help a lot of future brides here. Good info!

All Comments Moderated for Spam


*