Nigerian students intending to study in the United States of America have been advised not to patronise visa vendors or touts, as they often charge high fees and provide incorrect or misleading information to applicants.
The US Country Consular Coordinator, Ms Susan Tuller gave the advice during an event at the Consulate in Lagos to celebrate Nigerians who have gained admission into US universities.
Ms Tuller who explained that though the ongoing covid-19 pandemic had impacted consular operations, reducing the overall number of applicants scheduled, the US Mission Nigeria, has continued to prioritize student visa as over 2500 student applicants have so far been interviewed this year.
Emphasising that student Visa appointments would continue to be given priority throughout the summer months, the Consular Coordinator stated that all required information is available at ustraveldocs.com and applying for an expedited appointment is free and even easier than applying for college.
Ms Tuller explained that “Students can apply up to four months in advance of their programme start date. As our students here today can tell you, there are few things to remember when coming for a student visa interview here at the U.S. Consulate. Students will need 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. 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”
She maintained that higher education plays a central role in Nigeria-US relationship as 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 United States.
Ms Tuller whose son is also starting university this August in the United States after being dragged around the world by his parents said the University he would be attending
assigned a Nigerian student already at his university to help him acclimate to the United States as it would be his first time of living in the US.
She gave an assurance that the EducationUSA Advising Centres in Lagos, Ibadan, Calabar and Abuja would continue to make a U.S. education more accessible to Nigerian students.
Some of the Students who shared their aspirations with Radio Nigeria, expressed the belief that getting educated in the United States would exposed them to international best practices in their fields and equip them to proffer solutions to some of the problems facing Nigeria after completing their studies.
The US Mission issues about five thousand students visa annually in Nigeria and over thirteen thousand Nigerians are currently studying in the United States.
The Students Day was held simultaneously in Lagos and Abuja.