The United States Missions in Nigeria has said it would continue to prioritise student visa applicants in the country, notwithstanding the impact of the pandemic on its operations, as it reduced the overall number of visa applicants it can schedule.
Specifically, the U.S. Mission Country Consular Coordinator, Susan Tuller, while speaking at the U.S. Consulate’s Student Visa Day celebration, on Tuesday, said currently, over 13,000 Nigerian students were studying in the United States.
According to her, while student visa numbers have gone down worldwide due to the COVID-19 pandemic, student numbers from Nigeria were up by 2.5% for the 2019/2020 school year.
She said, “International students are an important part of the U.S. educational experience and the U.S. Government is dedicated to supporting international students who wish to study in the United States through our Education USA programme and by ensuring students can apply for student visas in time to start their studies.
“So far in 2021, we have interviewed over 2500 student applicants, and we will continue to prioritise student visa appointments throughout the summer months.”
Tuller encouraged students who have been accepted at a U.S. university but have not applied for a student visa to do so as soon as possible, to ensure that they can obtain an appointment before their school term begins.
“Students can apply up to four months in advance of their program 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.
According to her, there is no need to pay an agent to facilitate this process, adding, that applying for an expedited appointment is free.
Meanwhile, she said higher education plays a central role in the U.S.-Nigeria relationship, as the country sends more students to American colleges and universities than any other country in Africa.
The event was held across Nigeria, with parallel activities both in the consulate in Lagos and the Embassy in Abuja.
By Victor Uzoho…
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