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Dependent Visa USA for Nigerians

Many Nigerians come to the USA each year and often want to bring their family members. They recognize that their visa in the US is a great opportunity to start a new life for their family. Bringing dependents into the US requires a Dependent visa which comes with a range of rights and obligations.

If you need help applying for a Dependent visa, call our Lagos office at +23413438882 or +44 (0) 3316300929. Alternatively, you can contact us online.

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    Want to Be Reunited With Your Family?

    We have successfully assisted numerous Nigerians in reuniting them with their families in the States. If you have a relative currently living in the US, we can support you with your application for a Dependent Visa. Let us handle all the complexities and make your travel plans as stress-free as possible

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    Overview of Dependent Visa USA for Nigerians

    There is no single dependent visa for the USA. Instead, you must apply for the option most appropriate for your circumstances. The Dependent visa is usually paired with the specific visa that the visa holder already has. The Dependent visa is named after the primary visa holder’s visa, with a number being one higher than the highest usual number in that visa category. For example, the Dependent visa for an “H” visa is named H-4, as there are three number categories for an “H” visa holder.

    List of Dependent Visas

    Examples of Dependent visas for non-immigrant student and work visas and immigrant visa holders are listed below.

    The dependent visas which may apply for Nigerian visa holders include the following student visas:

    • F-2 visa for student’s dependents.
    • J-2 visa for dependents of exchange students.
    • M-2 visa for dependents of students in vocational schools.

    You can also get a Dependent visa in the US connected to a work visa.

    • H-4 visa, which connects family members to a “H” visa holder.
    • P-4 visa for the dependents of athletes, artists, and entertainers temporarily in the US.
    • L-2 visa for the dependents of a Nigerian in the US for short-term work.
    • 0-3 visa for the dependents of a Nigerian visa holder with extraordinary talents.
    • R-2 visa for dependents of a religious minister.

    Finally, you get a Dependent visa connected to an immigrant visa which grants the visa holder permanent residency in the USA. Examples include the following:

    • K-2 visa for the children of Nigerians in the US as the spouse of a US citizen or permanent resident.
    • V-1 visa for the spouses of legal permanent residents.
    • V-2 visa for the children of permanent residents.
    • V-3 visa for the children of V-1 and V-2 visa holders.

    There are too many Dependent visas to cover each one individually. However, this article will help you get started on your application for a Dependent visa by breaking down the eligibility criteria, rights, obligations, and application processes common for all Dependent visas.

    Eligibility Criteria

    Before you apply for your Dependent visa, you need to make sure that you fit all of the eligibility criteria to apply for the visa. Each one has different criteria you must pay close attention to. However, the general eligibility criteria you need to fit include the following:

    • You must be the primary visa holder’s dependent. This usually means you are the spouse or unmarried child under 21 of the visa holder. The USA does not usually accept common law relationships/
    • The primary visa holder must have a valid visa in a category that allows dependents to be brought to the USA.
    • The visa holder can financially support you.
    • You are in good health and don’t carry contagious diseases.

    Required Documentation

    To prove that you fit these eligibility criteria and to show that you have the right to travel, you will need to provide a range of documentation. Make sure that you arrange the following pieces of documentation:

    • A valid Nigerian passport.
    • A completed visa application form for the relevant Dependent visa.
    • Documentation proving your relationship, such as a marriage certificate or birth certificate.
    • Financial documentation, including your principal visa holder’s bank statements.
    • Passport-style photographs which will go on your visa.
    • Proof of intent to depart if your principal visa holder is a non-immigrant.
    • Medical examination reports. The US requires Nigerian citizens to provide a medical history, physical examination, chest X-ray, and blood test results. Nigerians over two years old will need a tuberculosis test.
    • Your criminal record.

    If you intend to work while you are on a Dependent visa in the USA, you must also get an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). Nigerian applicants also need to make sure that all documents are in English. If any of them are not, then you will need to pay for them to be translated by a certified translator.

    Additional documents may be required based on the Dependent visa you want to apply for. The immigration attorneys at IAS can help you determine which documents you must pull together. Contact our Lagos office at +23413438882 or on +44 (0) 3316300929 to learn more.

    Reunite your family in the US. Contact us to explore Dependent Visa for Nigerians today.

    Dependent Visa Application Process


    Once you have pulled this range of documentation together, you will be ready to get started on your application. Nigerians applying for a Dependent visa will find the process is different depending on whether they are applying inside or outside the USA.

    The exact application fee you will have to pay varies greatly depending on the Dependent visa you are applying for. However, you can expect the exact fee will range from $1200 to $5000.

    Applying for a Dependent Visa Outside of the United States

    The first stage if you are applying is to complete the relevant application form. In the case of an H-4 Dependent visa, this is Form DS-160. This initial form will gather your personal information and help you to explain why you are eligible for a Dependent visa. Once it is completed, submit the form online, pay any application fees, and print off a physical copy.

    Next, you must attend a visa appointment at your nearest US embassy or consulate. You can find the US consulate at 2 Walter Carrington Cres on Victoria Island if you live in Lagos. Alternatively, you can visit the US Embassy in Abuja. Make sure that you bring your completed application form for this appointment.

    After you have attended this meeting, your application will be successfully submitted. Ensure you keep an eye out to be notified of the progress of your application. This stage can take between 2 and 8 weeks, and you might be asked to come into the consulate again for another meeting or to provide biometric information like fingerprints.

    Applying from Inside the USA

    You can also apply for a Dependent visa from inside of the USA. This process also starts with submitting a form and other documentation. For the H-4 Dependent visa, you must complete Form I-539. If multiple family members are joining the primary visa holder, you can include them all on one application.

    You do not always have to attend an appointment if you are applying from inside the USA. However, expect that the USCIS might call you in to submit original copies of documents or biometric information.

    Once this documentation is submitted, you will receive an answer within 90 days. If you receive a refusal, you will receive a letter explaining why this decision has been made.

    Rights and Obligations Under a Dependent Visa


    Each dependent visa comes with specific rights and obligations, which you must investigate when applying for them. Rights may also depend on the state that you will be living in. The following section breaks down the general rights and obligations you can expect on a Dependent visa.

    Rights under a Dependent Visa

    However, there is a range of shared rights that Nigerian dependents of a US visa holder can expect to receive. These include the following:

    • Legal status and the right to remain in the US for the full visa term.
    • The right to accompany and live with the primary visa holder.
    • The right to education, although some Dependent visas will need the individual to switch to a Student visa if they want to pursue full-time studies.
    • Healthcare and medical services through private insurance or government programs.
    • The right to drive if you can match the requirements for a driver’s license with the state you live in.
    • Access to banking and opening bank accounts.
    • Travel within the USA and travel internationally if they have valid visas to do so.

    However, there are some rights that dependents will never be able to access regardless of the dependent visa that you are on, which include the following:

    • The automatic right to work. You will usually need to apply for an Employment Authorization Document. Furthermore, the money earned can never be used to support the primary visa holder.
    • Visa sponsorship. The primary visa holder must be the sponsor to bring further dependents to the USA.
    • Individual visa extension. The length of time you can remain in the US is tied to the primary visa.
    • Changing visa status. If you want to be in the US on a non-dependent visa, you must follow the standard procedures to apply for it.
    • The right to vote.
    • Access to public benefits such as welfare.

    Obligations Under a Dependent Visa

    You will also need to fulfill a range of obligations to ensure you do not risk losing your Dependent visa. The primary obligations that you need to be aware of include:

    • Adherence to the specific regulations for your visa.
    • Continue to accompany the primary visa holder throughout your time in the US. You must therefore report any changes to your marital status etc.
    • Children must enroll in local schooling in line with the state’s legislation.
    • Follow US laws and legal obligations such as taxation.
    • Leave the US at the end of your visa period or when the primary visa holder’s visa expires.

    Want to bring a family member in the US? Discover Dependent Visas for Nigerians. Contact us for assistance

    How Can IAS Help?

    IAS is an international team of immigration lawyers and advisors who have helped people worldwide fulfill their travel and immigration dreams. When you first contact our team, you will be paired with an attorney specializing in cases like yours. They will help you gather all the documents you need for your visa application and prepare for any interviews you may need to attend.

    If you want help with your Dependent visa application, contact our Lagos team at +23413438882. Alternatively, you can contact us on +44 (0) 3316300929.

    We offer immigration advice sessions as face to face appointments at our Lagos office, all of our UK offices, or via the phone.

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    Frequently Asked Questions

    If you want to join a non-relative in the US, you will not be classed as a dependent. However, there are still ways that you can come to the US to spend time with a non-relative.

    The most appropriate visa is a Visit visa, which allows you to visit as a non-dependent for up to six months. However, as this is not a Dependent visa, you cannot be financially supported by the friend or distant relative you are visiting. Therefore, you must prove that you have sufficient funds to support yourself during the trip and intend to leave afterward.

    Nigerians will be able to renew their dependent visa in most cases. However, the length of time you can stay in the US will be tied to the visa validity of the primary visa holder. If their visa runs out, you cannot renew your Dependent visa and must leave the country.

    A Green Card is a fantastic tool for people who want to immigrate to the USA as it gives you the right to remain there indefinitely. However, Dependent visa holders cannot directly switch to a Green Card. Instead, they will need to wait for the primary visa holder to get a Green Card and will then become eligible for one.

    Therefore, if you want a Green Card, it is best to talk with your primary visa holder to find the best pathway to getting Green Cards for you both.

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