The U.S. Mission will prioritize student visa applicants and ensure Nigerian students resuming this Fall get visa interview appointments well in advance of their programme start date, the USA Embassy in Nigeria has said.
U.S. Mission Country Consular Coordinator Susan Tuller announced at the weekend that the Embassy in Abuja and Consulate General in Lagos will make every effort to assist student visa applicants in a timely fashion while keeping personnel and customers safe.
A statement issued by the Embassy and made available to Maritime Bits said: “As we continue to prioritize the health and safety of our staff and customers, processing student visas remains a high priority for the U.S. Mission in Nigeria.”
The statement which was signed by Information Specialist in the Public Affairs Section (PAS), Mr. Temitayo Famutimi quoted Tuller saying: “We will increase the number of student visa appointments in May and June to ensure that we can offer appointments to as many students as possible. If your U.S. studies are scheduled to begin this Fall, we encourage you to schedule your appointment as quickly as possible.”
Tuller explained that all student visa appointments must be booked through the U.S. Travel Docs website at www.ustraveldocs.com/ng/. She warned applicants against the use of third-party services, including touts, and fixers who broker visa appointments.
According to her, agents or third parties often seek to benefit by charging a fee for their services and they may not always provide the correct information, which can harm an applicant’s chances of qualifying for the visa.
“Both Nigeria and the United States benefit when Nigerian students study at one of our world-class educational institutions. To prepare for your U.S. educational opportunity, we encourage you to check out Education USA Advising Centers at our American Spaces in Abuja, Lagos, Ibadan, and Calabar or at education USA.state.gov,” she added.
Maritime Bits checks revealed that Nigeria sends more students to American colleges and universities than any other country in Africa and is the eleventh largest source worldwide of international students to the USA.
In the 2019-2020 academic year, a record-breaking number of nearly 14,000 Nigerians pursued graduate and undergraduate degrees in the USA.
Over the last 21 years, the Education USA Advising Centers in Nigeria have directly contributed to an increase in the number of highly qualified Nigerian applicants to U.S. institutions.
In 2020, advisees of Education USA services received scholarships worth $28 million.