The US Mission Country Consular Coordinator, Ms. Susan Tuller has advised Nigerian students who intend to study in the United States of America not to patronise visa vendors or touts, saying that they often charge high fees and provide incorrect or misleading information to applicants.
Tuller gave the advice at a programme held at the Consulate in Lagos to celebrate Nigerians who have gained admission into US universities. She said despite the COVID-19 pandemic which had impacted consular operations, thereby reducing the overall number of applicants scheduled, the US Mission in Nigeria has continued to prioritise students’ visa as over 2,500 applicants have so far been interviewed this year.
According to her, “students’ visa appointments would continue to be given priority throughout the summer months, all required information is available at ustraveldocs.com and applying for an expedited appointment is free and even easier than applying for college.”
The consular coordinator noted that students can apply up to four months in advance of their programme start date, adding, “as our students here today can tell you, there are few things to remember when coming for a student visa interview here at the US 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 said 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 11th largest source worldwide of international students to the United States.
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 acclimatise to the US as it would be his first time of living there.
Some of the students who spoke to journalists about their aspirations, expressed hope that getting educated in the US would exposed them to best practices in their fields and equip them to proffer solutions to some of the problems facing Nigeria after completing their studies.