It is the dream of most Nigerian expectant mothers to deliver their babies abroad. A lot of them can go to any length to see this dream come true. Of course, you can’t blame these women for making that decision and working towards its realization. Their wishes are not unconnected with the huge benefits that attend to having their babies abroad.
With that, being a novice might prompt questions like; what are the benefits of giving birth in USA? What are the cost implications? How can you apply for and get a visa for that purpose? Answers to this undying questions are what we’ve taken time to answer in this post. Including the full procedures for Nigerian women.
What Are The Benefits Of Giving Birth In USA?
As I mentioned earlier, the decisions of most women to give birth in USA are based on the advantages and benefits they stand to gain. Some of these benefits include:
1. Better medical attention:
According to a research, the commonly cited excuse for their desire to give birth abroad is the availability of more superior medical attention and equipment in those countries compared to Nigeria.
The deplorable condition of our healthcare system leaves nothing to desire. With incessant workers’ strike, medical doctors on strike, lack of adequate equipment, quack doctors, and other challenges, it is more rewarding to have one’s baby amidst the best environment and medical condition. That guarantees the safety of the baby and reduces mortality rate in pregnant women.
According to Dr. Habeeb Salami, who coordinates the Reproductive and Family Planning, a subsidiary of Pathfinder International Nigeria, maternal mortality in Nigeria is still very high at about 58%. That is saddening. The challenges I mentioned above are responsible for this trend. As a precautionary measure from becoming victims of such disturbing trend, some pregnant women decide to make a trip to the US to give birth under an ideal condition.
2. Automatic citizenship:
Of course, better medical attention and equipment are just some of the many reasons for making the decision. However, the most important reason is for their children to become citizens by birth. That privileged position offers the kids some diplomatic benefits that a Nigerian by birth may not enjoy.
They simply can’t resist the allure of having kids with the citizenship of the most advanced and powerful country in the world. The doors of opportunities that such privilege opens for the children influence the decision of their mothers to have them in the US.
3. Better opportunities:
The United States provide more opportunities for her citizens than most other countries. Some of the privileges that a child born in the US can enjoy include better education in the future, freedom to engage in legal business transactions as a citizen, political opportunities, and other opportunities. As a citizen, a foreigner can contest for political posts and get elected.
The case of the veteran actor and politician, Mr. Arnold Schwarzenegger is a typical example. We shouldn’t forget that of the immediate past president of the United States, former president Obama. Although these two great figures do not have American parents, they vied for and won political offices. Their citizenship made that possible. Therefore, a pregnant woman may decide to give birth in the US to give her child a platform for better future opportunities.
The list above contains just three out of the numerous benefits of giving birth in the US for foreigners, Nigerians inclusive. You can checkout other benefits of giving birth abroad.
However, you can’t just wake up in the morning and decide to leave Nigeria and give birth in the US. No. It doesn’t work that way. You must meet some criteria and have the financial power to embark on such a trip. Statistics have shown that it costs a small fortune for Nigerians to give birth in the United States. Let’s take a look at the cost implication of doing that.
The Cost Of Giving Birth In USA
When you see your friends travelling out of the country to give birth in the US, you probably grow green with envy. Perhaps you wish it was you making the trip. That’s fine. Have you asked yourself if you have the financial power to do that? If you don’t understand the cost, let me break it down for you.
While medical cost varies from one state to another, this is an estimated figure of the hospital bills you must prepare for:
- If you have a vaginal birth in a birth center and not a hospital, that will cost you about $3,000.
- If you use a hospital for a vaginal birth without any complications, be prepared to pay as much as $10,000.
- If complications arise while having the vaginal birth in any hospital, that attracts an extra $3,000, adding up to $13,000.
- It costs more than the figures above to have a Caesarian Section in any hospital. Without any complications, the fee is $15,000.
- If there are complications, you can pay as much as $23,000.
By using a dollar to naira exchange rate of $1/#380, you have #1.14 million, #3.8m, #4.94m, #5.7m, and #8.74m respectively. This shows that for the birth, you can pay between #1m and #8.8 million, depending on the exchange rate, the hospital, the birth type, and whether there are complications or not.
Ask yourself if you can afford this. If you can, fine. You are good to go. Wait! Did I include the visa fee? No. Now, let’s continue our calculation by including the visa fee to have a complete understanding of what it will cost you to have your baby in your dream country – USA.
Giving Birth In USA Visa Cost
It will cost you about $200 (#76,000) to get an American ticket. You should also be prepared to pay for flight ticket. Since your primary objective is giving birth, you will pay for return ticket too. That will cost you approximately #700,000.
Another potential expense is the need to take care of the baby or babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Due to some complications during birth or in the case of multiple births, the children may need to be examined and treated until they are healthy enough to be released to you. If your doctor decides to take this precautionary measure, it will cost you a lot more than you originally prepared for.
According to Roy Schneiderman, MD, and Mike Kornhauser, MD, who are the regional medical director and vice president/senior medical director and at Alere Women’s and Children’s Health respectively, “The average cost for infants hospitalized in neonatal intensive care units is around $3,000 per day. While the average cost to an employer of a healthy baby born at full-term, or 40 weeks of gestation, is $2,830, the average cost for a premature baby is $41,610. If the baby is born at 26 weeks, the cost can quickly rise to $250,000 or more.
Infants with a moderately low birth weight can cost 46 percent more than infants born at normal birth weight. The U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality reports that medical costs for the average very-low-birth-weight infant are $79,000, compared with $1,000 for a normal newborn.” Imagine how much it will cost you to keep your babies in the NICU for a month.
Other expenses include hotel reservation for as long as you want. If you have some relatives you can put up with, that’s fine. Otherwise, the minimum is $1,500 per month. Since you will make the trip a couple of weeks before you are due and you can’t make the trip back home immediately after birth, that will cost you an additional $3,000 (#1.14m).
What about other expenses such as feeding yourself and the baby? You will definitely need some baby items too. That’ won’t cost you less than $3,000 or another over 1 million Naira.
When you add all these expenses, it will cost you between #7million and #10 million to have your baby in the US and come back home. That is if they are not admitted to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
Well, that’s if you give birth to a single baby. With multiple births, you should consider additional expenses, starting from delivery cost to feeding, and other expenses.
Ask yourself if you can foot the bill. Although the fees and costs vary from hospital to hospital and state to state, it is safe to conclude that giving birth in USA is exclusively for the rich.
If you a well-to-do pregnant woman and you can easily afford the cost, then prepare to apply for your visa.
Giving Birth In USA Visa Application Process
It is impossible to make a trip outside the country without a valid visa. Follow these steps to apply for a US visa and get it in no time.
- Get a valid passport: If you don’t have, visit the Nigeria Immigration Service’s official website and obtain one. The passport is needed for your visa application.
- Apply for the appropriate: Since there are different visa types, it is advisable that you apply for the right visa type. If you wish to have your baby in the US, you should apply for the B2 visa. The visa is for people who want to visit the US on medical grounds.
- Pay for the visa: After applying for the right visa, make all necessary payments online. You can make your payment in Naira at the nearest GTBank to you.
- Fill and submit the DS-160 form: It is mandatory for any Nigeria applying for US visa to fill out this form and submit it promptly. The filling of this form is guided by some rules and regulations. You can read the guidelines here.
- Create a profile: You need to create an online profile for your visa application. You only need a username and a password to create the page. It is recommended that you use your email address as your username. If you are not aware of that, create the profile here.
- Book an appointment: A confirmatory message will be emailed to you after you have successfully created your profile. Attached to the email message is a link. When you click the link, you will be taken to the official page of the US Mission. There, you will book an interview appointment with an official of the Mission.
- Fill a web form out: With some information such as your GTBank payment receipt, biodata, scheduled appointment, you can now proceed to fill the next form on the Mission page. Make sure that the form is properly filled without any error.
- Attend your interview: When you book your interview appointment, you will be given an interview date. Keep this date in mind and make sure you are available for interview on that day.
- Pay for your flight: If your visa application is successful and approved, the next step is paying for your flight. This is a very simple step to take. You don’t need to hire the services of any agency to help you with this. It is a complete waste of your time and money. You can visit this website to make your payment within a couple of minutes. A visit to the website will show you a list of all the flights scheduled for the United States.
- From the list, you can select the airline of your choice as well as your destination. All the necessary information for your payment is on the site so that booking a flight and paying for with will be hassle free.
- Book your hotel accommodation: If you are among the few privileged to have some friends or family where they can stay for the duration of their stay in the US, you can go ahead with your preparation for the flight. If, on the other hand, you have nowhere to put up, book a hotel accommodation for your stay. You have an array of hotels to choose from if you book your hotel accommodation via this link. With over 110,000 hotels scattered across the states, you are well covered. Make your online bookings without any stress and prepare yourself for the trip to have your baby delivered by some of the most competent doctors with the best equipment in the world.
Some useful tips
When you are through with your hotel accommodation booking, remember these useful tips:
- When you are through with all these, you can now starting the preparation for your trip in earnest. If there are some personal effects you may need immediately you get there, you may consider taking them along with you. That will serve you until you can go shopping.
- As a reminder, don’t forget to keep your interview date in mind. If you keep changing your interview date, the embassy may ask you to apply for another visa. If you do, the visa application fee is not transferable. Therefore, you have to pay for another visa. That will increase your cost.
- Leave the country some weeks to your delivery date to be in good condition to make that long hour flight. You may be airborne for about 12 to 13 hours before you get to your destination. If you are close to delivery, it may have an unpleasant impact on your health.
- Don’t pay for your flight before your application is approved. While nobody prays for rejection, the officials at the embassy may deny your application for some reasons best known to them. Since your flight fee is non-refundable, it will be a total loss to have about #400,000 lost with the click of some buttons. Neither should you book your accommodation in advance before your visa is granted too. That’s another way to lose more money.
- If possible, you may not take a straight flight. Try to stopover in some places. That will afford you the opportunity to exercise yourself en-route to your destination and relieve any potential pressure on the unborn baby.
- For you have any enquiry, contact these addresses:
Address: 2 Walter Carrington Crescent, Victoria Island, Lagos.
Address: 1075 Diplomatic Drive, Central Business District, Abuja.
Every year, thousands of Nigerian pregnant women leave the shore of this country to give birth in USA or Canada. While some were successful, some have their applications rejected due to some little errors they committed out of ignorance. Some were not prepared enough for the huge cost of taking that route. Some even lost some money for pre-arranged accommodation and flight as a result of ignorance. You have a good guide to help you avoid those mistakes and get your application approved without delay.
So, I wish you a safe trip and delivery.