Travel: Here’s How To Apply For A US Student Visa From Nigeria

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In 2014/15 academic year, 9494 Nigerian students were studying in the US according to the Institute of International Education, this is a 19% increase from the previous year. This year, these numbers will definitely go up. More Nigerians are craving to study in the US every day and with access to reliable information these dreams could be achieved, this is a list of 10 of the best schools in the US.

Student visa application and approval to the United States are quiet difficult and strenuous but with the right documents, sufficient funds, travel history, convincing interview answers and an acceptance letter into a good ranking college or university, you are bound to succeed.

The US student visas are non-immigrant visas for individuals who intend to study in an American institute, college or university. The US student visa is divided into two sections namely; the F-1 and the M-1.

The F-1 student visa is quite common amongst Nigerian applicants. These are for students who wish to engage in academic studies in the US at an accredited program, school, college or university. Its duration is for studies that require more than 18 hours a week. The M-1 student visa is required If you intend to engage in non-academic, vocational study (fashion school, catering, etc) or training at a US institution. Note that F-1 visa cannot be issued to attend public elementary schools (kindergarten to Primary) or a publicly funded adult education program. Although, it can be issued for attendance at a public secondary school but only for 12 months, and the school will be required to indicate payment of the unsubsidized cost of education.

US Student Visa Eligibility And Requirements

  • Admission offer into a government accredited US school, college, institution of university
  • A properly endorsed Form I-20 from your approved U.S. school or program.
  • A valid international passport for travel to the United States with at least six months validity beyond your intended stay duration.
  • A Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application Form, DS-160 filled online along with a barcoded confirmation page for this form. Visa applicants must answer all questions completely, note that a SERVIS Number will be required before submitting, this can be gotten from your Form I-20, digitally sign the DS-160 form and then submit. For the DS-160 and instructions for completing it, click here.
  • One recent colour passport photograph (5 Cmx5 Cm, white background only).
  • A receipt showing payment of your $160 (N53, 600) non-refundable nonimmigrant visa application processing fee paid in Naira at GTbank.
  • Student visa applicants are required to pay the SEVIS fee $200 (N67, 000) before the embassy interview; this fee takes a week for payment processing. A Form I-901 SEVIS receipt indicating you have paid will be issued and printed online. Click here for the SEVIS fee.
  • After a visa is issued, you may be required to pay an additional visa issuance reciprocity fee, depending on your nationality. Click here to find out if you must pay the visa issuance reciprocity fee and what the fee amount is.
  • Original financial evidence from your bank indicating your ability or your sponsor’s ability to pay for tuition and living expenses.
  • Finally, an interview appointment letter confirming that you booked an appointment through the CGI appointment system via ustraveldocs.com/ng or by calling its call center at 01-440-6218.

Other supporting documents required during your visa interview at the embassy or consulate should be brought along in a sealed envelope. Such supporting documents include;

  • Documents demonstrating strong financial, social, and family ties to your home country that will compel you to return to your country after your program of study in the U.S. ends.
  • Original copies of scholarship award letter where applicable.
  • Supporting documents of your relationship to a sponsor if you will be financially sponsored by another person. Such documents include your birth certificate, the sponsor’s most recent original tax clearance forms and original bank statements or fixed deposit statements.
  • Documents that show academic excellence, documents include school transcripts (original copies), secondary school examination certificates e.g. WAEC certificates, English and standardized test scores such as SAT, GRE, GMAT, TOEFL, IELTS, etc.
  • CGI appointment service charge receipt

US Visa Application Process

Here are the basic steps to apply for your US student visa:

  1. Pay your US student visa application fee at a GT Bank branch or online if you have a GT Bank account and get your teller receipt and confirmation number. You will need the receipt number when scheduling your visa appointment.
  2. Complete your DS-160 application form online here, when you have finished the application, you should print the DS-160 application confirmation page and receipt number.  You will need the confirmation page on the day of your interview.
  3. Use the receipt number from the visa fee you paid to register for an appointment online on the CGI visa appointment website for the US Mission to Nigeria. Click ustraveldocs to book your appointment.  You can request an appointment in either Abuja or Lagos and where you would like to pick up your travel documents should you qualify for a visa.
  4. If extra documentation/passport submission is required from you, a 221(g) letter will be sent to you by the Embassy or Consulate General to submit for further processing, you should submit those documents to a VFS document collection office, which will in turn deliver your documents to the Embassy or Consulate General. There is no fee associated with this service.
  5. When your visa is approved, the VFS document collection office will hold your passport for pickup at the address that you specified when you scheduled your appointment. There are no extra fees associated with this service.

Important points to note

  • The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) is an Internet-based system that tracks F, M and J visa participants and their family members in the United States from the time they receive their initial documentation until they leave, graduate or conclude their programs.
  • Spouses and dependents under the age of 18 can apply using the F and M visa application along with F-1 and M-1 visa applicants.
  • Remember to bring your original I-20 and a photocopy to the visa interview.  You must only leave only a photocopy with your visa application.
  • Visa applicants should appear at the consular gate on the date and time of their appointment.  Before the date of the appointment, applicants can reschedule up to two times for free.

For more additional information on US student F-1 and M-1 visa visit the websites below:

United States Diplomatic Mission to Nigeria

CGI Appointment Center

VFS Passport Submission Centre, Lagos
Manor House,
Plot 110, Admiral Ayinla Way,
Opposite Treasure Garden Estate,
Third Roundabout, Lekki Phase I
Lagos

VFS Passport Submission Centre, Lagos
16, Billings Way
Oregun Industrial Area
Ikeja,
Lagos

VFS Passport Submission Centre, Abuja
62, Lobito Crescent,
Wuse 2,
Abuja

United State Embassy Address
Abuja
Embassy of the United States of America
Plot 1075 Diplomatic Drive
Central District Area, Abuja, Nigeria
Telephone: +234 9 461 4000

United State Consulate Address
Lagos
Consular Section,
2, Walter Carrington Crescent,
Victoria Island,
Lagos
Telephone: +234 1 460 3400

Office Hours: Mondays – Fridays, 07:30 AM – 16:00 PM, offices are closed on Nigerian and American public holidays.

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