US prioritises students’ visas

The U.S. Mission Country Consular Coordinator, Susan Tuller, has said the Mission in Nigeria will continue to prioritize student visa appointments throughout the summer months.

Tuller revealed this during the celebration of the U.S. Consulate’s “Student Visa Day.”

According to her, there are over 13,000 Nigerian students and soon a few more may join them in studying in the U.S.

She added that the Mission has interviewed over 2,500 student applicants since this year.

Tuller noted that student visa numbers have gone down worldwide due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.

According to her, student numbers from Nigeria were up to 2.5 per cent for the 2019/2020 school year, adding that in the eighth year in a row, the percentage has increased.

Tuller encouraged students who have been accepted at a U.S. university but have not applied for a student visa, to apply as soon as possible to ensure that they are able to obtain an appointment before their school term begins.

Tuller said: “Students can apply up to four months in advance of their programme start date. Students unable to book an appointment before their start date should book the next available student visa appointment (no matter when) and then follow the instructions on our website for requesting an expedited appointment.

“There is no need to pay an agent to facilitate this process. All required information is available at ustraveldocs.com and applying for an expedited appointment is free. I guarantee you that it is much easier to apply for an expedited visa appointment than it was to apply for college.”

Tuller advised students to demonstrate to the Consular Officer that they are entering the United States solely for the purpose of pursuing a full course of study, that they are prepared for their course of study, that they have a credible plan to pay for their education, and that they intend to depart the United States after the completion of their programme.

Her words: “Students should remember to bring their I-20 form to their visa interview. You will also need this form to enter the United States. While we recommend that students bring supporting documents for their study plans, they should not be surprised if the interviewing officer does not ask to see any paperwork. We understand many students are nervous during their visa interview. We encourage students to relax and not memorize speeches.

“The Consular Officer is not going to ask you any question that you don’t already know the answer to. Please be prepared to answer personal questions regarding your family and financial situation. We also strongly discourage visa applicants from hiring visa vendors or touts, as they often charge high fees and provide incorrect or misleading information to applicants.”

Higher education, she said, plays a central role in the U.S.-Nigeria relationship. Tuller noted that Nigeria sends more students to American colleges and universities than any other country in Africa and is the eleventh largest of international students to the United States worldwide.

She explained: “Our Education USA Advising Centres in Lagos, Ibadan, Calabar and Abuja work to make a U.S. education more accessible to Nigerian students.

“Education USA prepares students for academic life in the United States by providing assistance with a variety of topics. Whether helping students find a school that is their “perfect fit,” or advising on how to submit competitive applications, Education USA serves as an indispensable source of accurate and timely information for students throughout Nigeria.”

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