If you are currently married to a citizen or resident of the US and are based in Nigeria, you can apply for a visa. You will need to apply for a marriage-based visa at the US Embassy or Consulate in Nigeria.
This processing at your local US consulate is known as consular processing; it grants you an IR1 or a CR1 visa. A CR1/IR1 visa is a family-based green card that enables you to work and live in the US.
You are eligible to apply for a CR1/IR1 visa if you are married to a US citizen or permanent resident. This type of green card falls under the immediate-relative category and is only available to spouses of US citizens.
Also, there is no cap or limit to the number of IR1/CR1 visas the USCIS issues every year. Below are important things you should know about applying for a US spousal visa in Nigeria.
What Is the Difference between an IR1 and a CR1 Visa?
Marriage-based green cards are generally divided into two categories: the IR1 category and the CR1 category. Both categories offer the same immigration benefits – that is, you can live and work in the US without fear of deportation.
However, they are different in their requirements for the length of time the applicants have been married. In other words, although they offer the same benefits and eligibility requirements, they adhere to different timelines.
The Conditional Resident Visa (CR1) is issued to applicants whose marriage is below two years when they enter the US. Also, the visa is granted on the condition that the couple must remain married for at least two years.
After two years, they must apply to the USCIS to have the conditions on the card removed. When that happens, they will get an updated ten-year green card – that is, they qualify for the IR1 after two years.
Contrarily, Immediate Relative Visa (IR1) is issued to applicants who have been married for longer than two years upon approval of the visa.
The applicant will not need to apply for removal of conditions in this case because there are none. Also, they will get the ten-year green card immediately; they can renew the card after ten years.
Eligibility Requirements for an IR1/CR1 Visa
To get the IR1/CR1 visa in Nigeria, you must apply through consular processing (apply to the US Embassy in Lagos). To be eligible for this visa, you must have a legally recognized marital relationship with a US citizen or resident.
There should be a valid marriage certificate to prove the relationship, which you will provide upon application for the visa. Furthermore, your spouse must be a United States citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident (Green Card Holder).
Also, your spouse must have a valid address in the country, meaning they must be domiciled in the US. If they currently are not, they should at least have an intention of returning with you to the US.
Applying for a CR1/IR1 Visa in Nigeria
The application for this marriage-based visa starts with your US citizen spouse filing Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative. They will file this form with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services and wait for them to process it.
It usually takes a few months to process the petition, but other factors can make the wait time longer. When the USCIS has made its decision, it will inform the petitioner.
If the petition was rejected, the USCIS will give reasons; your spouse can resubmit the petition if they are correctible issues. If the USCIS approves the petition, the National Visa Center will take over your case. Afterward, you (the Nigerian spouse) will move on to processing at the Consulate.
To start with, you must first create an account online with US Travel Docs, Nigeria’s customer service provider. This gives the Embassy the information it needs to give you your passport and documents after the interview.
Next, you will schedule a medical examination with the approved medical practitioners in Lagos. The next step is to gather your documents; the Embassy will give you a checklist of the documents to bring.
When all is set, you will attend your visa interview at the US Embassy in Lagos. Ensure you review all the interview guidelines before you attend the interview to avoid delays or worse.
Does Herman Legal Group Offer Help to Nigerian Immigrants?
Although a US-based law firm, Herman Legal Group operates internationally, and Nigeria is one of the countries it serves. The law firm deals with all things immigration, among other things, and has helped thousands of Nigerians with their application.
Thus, if you need assistance with your IR1/CR1 visa application, do not hesitate to book online or call us at +1-216-696-6170.
Applying for a marriage-based green card in Nigeria is straightforward if you can follow instructions to the letter. How long it takes you to get the visa depends on the USCIS and your local US Embassy.
However, certain other factors can cause a delay, such as not including all the required documents. To ensure you do not make avoidable mistakes that can delay your visa or worse, we recommend getting legal assistance.