As many international travel restrictions remain in place during the ongoing COVID-19 situation, many Nigerians remain unsure whether they are permitted to travel to the United States, and the requirements they may need to meet to do so.
This complete guide can help Nigerians learn about the documents they need to visit the USA at present, whether they are eligible to obtain an ESTA US visa waiver, and how to apply for a US visa in Nigeria.
Traveling to Nigeria from the USA during the COVID-19 Pandemic
At present, passengers who have been in a number of countries within the previous 14 days are not permitted to enter the United States in order to contain the spread of COVID-19 within the country. This list of countries currently banned from entry includes many European Union members states, as well as Brazil, China, South Africa, and the United Kingdom,
There are a number of exceptions to this rule, including national and permanent residents of the USA, their spouses and family members with valid proof of relationship, and holders of various types of valid US visas.
However, as of the date of writing, Nigerians are not subject to the travel ban for the United States outlined above. Nevertheless, it is still necessary to comply with the COVID-19 travel requirements currently in place for the USA in order to visit the country from Nigeria.
US COVID-19 Entry Requirements for Nigerians
At present, it is currently necessary for all arriving passengers, including Nigerians, to meet some document requirements to travel to the US during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, including for the purpose of transiting to an onward destination.
All passengers arriving in the US from Nigeria are required to complete an online disclosure and attestation form before departure. Additionally, any Nigerians arriving in New York State must also complete an online “Traveler Health Form”, while other coronavirus measures may need to be met to enter other individual US states.
The most important document currently required to enter any US state is proof of a negative COVID-19 test. The test must have been taken a maximum of 3 days before departure from Nigeria, using either RT-LAMP, RT-PCR, TMA, or viral antigen testing methods.
The personal details shown on the test certificate must match those of the passenger’s passport. The test must also be classified as “negative” or “not detected” in order for the document to be accepted.
Nevertheless, some Nigerians are exempt from this requirement, including any passengers under the age of 2. Any arrival from Nigeria who holds a medical certificate showing a positive COVID-19 test result issued at most 90 days before departure from the first embarkation point is also exempt. However, this is conditional on them also having a letter issued by a health authority stating that they have been cleared for travel.
Can I Travel from Nigeria to the USA without a Visa?
While Nigerians are currently required to meet the COVID-19 restrictions for documents to enter the United States, they may also need to have an approved visa to visit the USA.
Nigerians do not currently qualify for inclusion in the US visa waiver program and are not eligible for an ESTA travel authorization. However, there is no travel ban in place for citizens of Nigeria to visit the USA. Consequently, Nigerians are free to travel to the United States with a valid US visa.
The type of US visa that Nigerian passport holders need to visit the country depends on the purpose of the visit. However, no matter the visa type required, it is necessary to apply for a US travel document from an embassy or consulate of the United States in Nigeria in advance of travel.
How to Apply for a US Citizens for Nigerians
US visa restrictions for Nigerians state that you will first need to make an appointment at a diplomatic mission of the United States in Nigeria to apply for any kind of travel document for the USA. This may either be the American embassy in Abuja or the US consulate in Lagos, whichever is nearest.
The next step is to download and print a US embassy visa application and fill out the form with a range of personal information, passport data, and travel details. You will also need to indicate the type of US visa you require on the application form.
It will then be necessary to bring this completed form along to the confirmed US embassy appointment, along with a range of supporting documents in paper form that varies depending on the type of visa you require. Finally, you will be asked to pay a mandatory processing fee before the application can be accepted for processing.
As it may take several weeks for a US embassy visa for Nigerians to be processed and approved, it is essential to begin the application process well in advance of the expected date of arrival in the United States to allow for enough processing time.