USA and the UK
Visa Guide: How to Move from Ghana to the US
The United States of America is a sought-after destination for expats around the globe. This is why they continue to troop into the US for several reasons, such as for tourism, study, work, etc.
The US is renowned for having a robust educational system, therefore, it is ideal to move to the US to advance your educational career. This is why several international students continue to seek admission into US universities and colleges.
Overview of the Visa Application Process for Moving from Ghana to the US
You must first choose the visa type that meets your travel needs. For instance, if you want to join your family in the US, a Family-Based visa should be appropriate for you. Thereafter, you must access the visa application form, typically online on the US Department of State website.
Fill out the form with the required information and pay all required processing fees. Note that visa processing fees differ depending on the type of visa you choose.
You must then attend a visa interview at the US embassy in Accra. After the interview, your visa application will be processed and it will be decided whether your application is successful or not.
Different Types of Visas Available for Individuals from India
As a Ghanaian citizen, you can explore the following US immigrant visas to move to the US:
- Family-Based Visa.
- Employment-Based Visa.
- Student Visa.
This is one of the US immigrant visas that allows Ghanaian holders to come and join their relatives who are citizens or lawful permanent residents in the US. The Family-Based visa has two categories, the visa for immediate relatives and family preference cases. These mentioned categories are further divided into subcategories depending on the applicant involved.
Your immediate relatives are spouses, unmarried children under 21 years old, or parents. There is no limit to how many immediate relatives who can be granted an immigrant visa each fiscal year.
Whereas family preference cases include individuals, such as your siblings, spouse of a lawful permanent resident, married children of a US citizen, unmarried adult son or daughter of a US citizen, and unmarried children of permanent residents.
Note that there are various categories of Family-Based visas. They include:
- Family First Preference (F1), designed for unmarried daughters and sons of US citizens.
- Family Second Preference (F2A), designed for unmarried children and spouses of lawful permanent residents in the US.
- Family Second Preference (F2B), designed for dependents who are 21 years or older.
- Family Third Preference (F3), created for married daughters and sons of US citizens.
- Family Fourth Preference (F4), created for sisters and brothers of US citizens who are above 21 years old.
Requirements for a Family-Based Visa
The Family-Based visa is of two types, and pertains to different people, by default, the requirements vary. The major requirements for a Family-Based visa include:
- The person in the US must have their status verified and have a US address.
- The applicant must have no criminal record.
- The applicant must prove they have family relations with the person in the US.
- A marriage certificate will be needed if the person in the US is a spouse.
- A valid birth certificate, if the relation is between parents, children, and siblings.
How to Apply for a Family-Based Visa
The application procedure may also differ because of the different Family-Based visa categories. Take the following steps to apply for a Family-Based visa:
Step 1. Filing of Petition
The US-based relative who is a citizen or lawful permanent resident must file a Form I-130 on behalf of the Ghanaian who wants to move to the US.
Step 2. Apply for a Visa
The specific visa that suits the applicant must be applied for.
Step 3. Submit Form DS-260
All applicants for immigrant visas are required to file the Form DS-260 after filling out the required details.
Step 4. Take Medical Examination
You need to take the medical examinations designed for all US immigrants and citizens. This medical examination is carried out by a licensed doctor.
Step 5. Gather Your Documents
You must attach all the supporting documents to your application. All documents must be sent to the National Visa Centre (NVC).
Step 6. Attend Visa Interview
All applicants are required to attend a scheduled visa interview at your nearest US embassy or consulate. At the interview, you must answer questions the immigration official has.
Step 7. Get NVC Packet
Upon a successful application, your visa will be stamped on your passport. Also, you will be issued a package that you must bring with you to the US.
It is ideal to seek expert guidance to help you choose the visa type that best meets your travel needs. Our immigration lawyers at IAS can help you make the right choice of visa type that will help you immigrate to the US.
We can also help you make a compelling application. Call us today on +1 844 290 6312 or message us online for immediate response.
Another visa that can help you move to the US from Ghana is the Employment-Based visa. The United States grants 140,000 Employment-Based visas to individuals who meet the necessary eligibility requirements.
The remaining applications are carried over to the following fiscal year after the cap is reached. The processing period is prolonged due to the cap imposed on this particular visa category. In light of this, the processing of your visa application may take years.
The Employment-Based visas are designed for 5 groups of people, they include:
- Priority workers and persons of extraordinary ability. The E1 visa is designed for this group of people.
- Individuals of exceptional ability and professionals with advanced degrees. The E2 visa is designed for people who are in this group.
- Professional, skilled and unskilled workers. The E3 visa best suits people in this group.
- Ministers of religion, broadcasters, and other special immigrants. The E4 visa best suits them.
- Immigrant investors. The E5 visa is designed for individuals in this group.
Acquiring a job in the US is the initial step for seeking an Employment-Based immigrant visa. Thereafter, the Department of Labour must grant your potential employer permission to hire foreign workers, a process known as Labour certification.
If approved, your employer will need to submit an Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker (Form I-140) to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to sponsor your application. You will then be allowed to submit your application if this is successful.
The Employment-Based visa allows its holder to bring their family members to the US. Your family members in this case are your spouse or unmarried children who are below 21 years. A different visa application must be made for each of the family members for them to join you in the US.
Required Documents for an Employment-Based Visa
During the Employment-Based visa application, you are required to provide the following documents:
- Two passport-sized photographs.
- Visa fee payment receipt.
- Ghanaian international passport valid for 6 months beyond your expected date of entry into the US.
- Form DS-260 that has been completed and duly signed.
- Bank statements that prove your financial subsistence. You should have a sufficient amount of money to enter and live in the US. A citizen or permanent resident in the US can file Form I-864 on your behalf if you cannot show proof of having enough money.
- Forms of completed medical examination and vaccination.
- Birth certificate, marriage certificate, and other civil status documents.
How to Apply for Employment-Based Visa
The Form I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker is sent to the National Visa Centre (NVC) once the USCIS has approved your employer’s application.
The petition will be given a number by the NVC, and your name will be added to a dated list. The NVC will get in touch with you to file Form DS-260 when your date arrives.
Your instructions on where and how to make payments for the visa application fees will be provided by the NVC. Note that you should not send your application payments to the US Embassy or NVC unless requested to do so.
You’ll receive an interview schedule once the payments are paid. After that, you can get your medical examination and vaccination. The medical examination must be performed by an authorised panel of doctors.
You are required to bring all of your filed or existing documents to the interview.
You must obtain an F or M Student visa depending on your course of study or and the type of school you wish to attend. Ghanaian students who want to pursue their academic careers in the US can go for the F1 visa.
This F1 visa allows its holder to partake in English Studies for up to 18 hours per week. The holder of this Student visa is not allowed to work off-campus in the first year.
If you are enthused to enter the US for vocational or non-academic studies, you can go for an M1 visa. This visa allows its holder to do temporary practical training jobs after the completion of studies.
Generally, for the US Student visa, your application must first be accepted by a US university that has been accredited by the Student and Exchange Visitor Programme (SEVP).
Upon acceptance of your application, you will get a Form I-20 from the school’s international student office. This is a printed copy of the information found in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) database.
Biometric data must be submitted by students when they apply for a US Student visa. You can pursue graduate and postgraduate studies in the US if you fulfil the prerequisites.
Requirements for US Student Visa
You must meet the following requirements to apply for a Student visa in the United States:
- Passport-size photographs. It must have been taken in the last 6 months.
- Nonimmigrant application form.
- Visa processing fee ($185) deposit receipt.
- Personal details, such as siblings, and children (if needed).
- Form of approval (Form I-20) from your programme or school where you want to advance your academic journey in the US.
- Original bank statements. It must show that you have enough money to support your travel to the US, pay your tuition, and live there.
- Sponsor’s bank statements. If you are being sponsored, you must get the bank statements of your sponsor, or fixed deposit certificates and proof of the relationship with your sponsor.
- You must provide more than 10 years of travel history.
- Proof of ties to Ghana. You are required to prove that you must come back to Ghana once your study programme ends in the US. To prove this, you may provide a round-trip flight ticket to convince the US authorities that you have already booked a flight to go back to Ghana once your study ends.
- You need to attend a visa interview. In due course, you are required to come in person to be interviewed at the US embassy in Accra. You must be there on the scheduled date and time for your interview.
- English proficiency. You need to present the test score of your IELTS.
- Criminal record certificate. You need to prove that you do not have any criminal charges against you in Ghana. You can obtain this certificate from the CID Headquarters in Accra.
- You must provide your Certificates of public examinations (O or A-levels), original copies of grades from diplomas, school transcripts original grades copies, etc.
- You must pay SEVIS fees. Only applicants partaking in programmes sponsored by the US government are exempted from the SEVIS fees.
- Evidence of enough funds. You must prove that you have enough money to cater for your needs while studying in the US. If you applied for an M1 Student visa, you must prove you have enough funds to pay your tuition and cover your living costs while in the US.
How Can I Apply for a US Student Visa
The Student visa offers a path to move to USA. Follow the below steps to apply for a US Student visa:
Step 1. Be Enrolled to a US School
Get admitted to the US university or college of your choice. Your school must be recognised by the SEVP, and you must verify if the visa type you chose is eligible with the school of your choice before you apply.
Step 2. Obtain the I-20 Form
After the confirmation of your enrolment, you will receive an I-20 from your school. Verify the information in your I-20 form before you sign it.
Step 3. Pay SEVIS Fees
Pay the SEVIS fee worth $350 and keep a printed copy of it as you are required to attend your Student visa interview with it.
Step 4. Complete the DS-160 Form
Enter your correct details into the DS-160 via the application portal. You will get a confirmation page with a barcode after paying the Student visa fee worth $185
Step 5. Schedule an Interview
Locate your nearest US embassy or consulate and fix an interview after you have submitted your DS-160 and I-20 forms.
Step 6. Prepare for the Interview
Bring all your supporting documents to the interview. Prepare for your interview as you may be asked several questions regarding the documents you have presented. Your fingerprints and photographs (biometric information) may be required at the interview.
If you need expert guidance on how to adequately prepare for a US visa interview, IAS can help. Our immigration lawyers will help get you ready with interview tips and possible questions to expect. Get in touch with us today on +1 844 290 6312 or message us online.
Which Visa is Right for Me?
Ghanaians who wish to enter the US must obtain a visa type that aligns with their purpose of entering the US. Because of this, if you want to join your family who are in the US, you will need a Family-Based visa. If you wish to enter the US for study purposes you will need a Student visa, and so on.
Keep in mind that you must first choose the visa type that meets your purpose of entering the US and know if you qualify for it to enter the country. This is because you may have doubts regarding the specific visa type to choose, especially for a US Family-Based visa that has F1, F2, F3, and F4 categories.
Note that before your dream of moving to America can become a reality, a US lawful permanent resident, citizen or prospective employer must sponsor it. This is because any of these mentioned sponsors must first have their petitions approved before you begin your immigrant visa application.
Your sponsor must meet certain requirements before they are allowed to bring you to the US. Your sponsor must:
- Be a US citizen or a permanent resident.
- Have accommodation in the US.
- Be at least 18 years old at the time of filing Form I-130.
- Have submitted an Affidavit of Support, Form I-864.
Therefore your sponsor must start the visa application process by filing a petition on your behalf at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) before you proceed on your part.
It is best to understand the main goal of your travel which will help you to choose the US visa type you must obtain. If you are doubtful of how to move to America from Ghana, do not worry IAS can help. We can assist you in choosing the best visa type you need to immigrate to the USA.
If you engage the service of our immigration lawyer at IAS, you will not run into a situation that will require you to restart your visa application all over again and incur additional expenses due to an inappropriate US visa application.
This is why we advise you to seek expert guidance from our friendly immigration advisers at IAS to help you out. We have a track record of making successful visa applications for Ghanaian citizens.
For more information about US immigration, including Work visa from Ghana to USA, or other services we offer, get in touch with us today. Call us on +1 844 290 6312 or message us online.
Last modified on November 8th, 2023 at 12:55 pm
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The easiest way to immigrate to the US is via a green card. A green card can be obtained through several sponsorship programmes, including the Diversity Visa Programme, employment-based, family-based, and asylum/refugee status-based programmes. To keep your status as a permanent resident, you must renew it every 10 years.
You can enter the country with an immigrant visa, granting you permanent residency, or with a non-immigrant visa, granting you no rights to stay in the nation for an extended period. To choose either option as an applicant, you must meet the requirements for the particular visa for which you are requesting.
The cost of immigration to the United States can vary significantly. Typically, the cost of entering the United States is from $1,200 to $8,000. However, this depends on the kind of green card you are requesting and the specifics of your case.