The United States Mission in Nigeria will prioritise US student visa applications from Nigerian students who want to resume their studies abroad in September 2021. This is welcome news to thousands of Nigerians who have been waiting to return to American universities.
“As we continue to prioritise the health and safety of our staff and customers, processing student visas remains a high priority for the US Mission in Nigeria,” said US Mission Country Consular Coordinator Susan Tuller in a press release on April 30, 2021. Promising to work towards safe, timely processing, she assured, “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 US studies are scheduled to begin this fall, we encourage you to schedule your appointment as quickly as possible.”
Nigerian students are among one of the largest international student communities worldwide. It is the top source country for African students in the US, and the eleventh largest source of international students to the US. Official records show that a record-breaking number of nearly 14,000 Nigerian students pursued graduate and undergraduate degrees in the US in the 2019/20 academic year.
The country’s growing youth demographic and expanding middle class makes it a burgeoning market for international education hubs — particularly the US, UK, Canada, and Australia. According to a report from the Carnegie Endowment for Peace, outbound student mobility from Nigeria varies “significantly year-to-year depending on macroeconomic trends, monetary policies, the ease and speed of visa application processes, and the availability of post-study residency permits.”
How to book your US student visa appointment
To book your US student visa appointment with the embassy, you must go through the US Travel Docs website. Tuller warned Nigerian applicants against using third-party services such as touts and fixers who broker US student visa appointments. Many operate dubiously, charge high fees, and provide inaccurate information that can jeopardise your chance of obtaining a US student visa.
“Both Nigeria and the US benefit when Nigerian students study at one of our world-class educational institutions. To prepare for your US educational opportunity, we encourage you to check out EducationUSA Advising Centers at our American Spaces in Abuja, Lagos, Ibadan, and Calabar,” Tuller added.
Last week, the US reopened its borders to international students from China, Iran, Brazil, and South Africa. The Biden administration had also eased restrictions for students from the European Union and Britain back in March. Foreign students — who generally pay full tuition — are a crucial revenue source for US universities, which have been hit hard as COVID-19 forced much instruction to go online. More than one million international students study in the US each year.